The Divining Wand

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Our Authors’ Go-To Writing Books, III

March 25, 2010 By: larramiefg Category: Q&A

Today’s post presents the third and final additions in response to this question:

I wondered, what do your authors read in the way of writing books? Do they have favorites they refer to again and again? Do they read the classics like, Bird by Bird, or Writing Down the Bones, or do they favor books on craft like, Save the Cat?

Reading (and writing) minds want to know!

Shana Mahaffey (Sounds Like Crazy):

“The best investment I EVER made was Blockbuster Plots by Martha Alderson. The book is terrific, it is well written, full of examples and exercises. I also invested in getting my plots whispered out of me via consultation with Martha. You can’t go wrong with this book and/or her help.”

Emily Winslow (The Whole World coming May 25, 2010):

“I love Donald Maass’ books. He does a good job of inspiring without being too precise.

“I no longer read books on releasing one’s imagination and creativity. They’re invaluable when you need them, but I had enough “release your inner creativity” in acting school to last me a lifetime. (I’m also of a specific age and demographic that had touchy-feely public school. Remember trust falls? We used to do those in *gym class*.) I’m glad I learned it, but I don’t need to add to it any more.

“At this stage, I get most of my writing advice from industry blogs and discussion at Absolute Write and Backspace.”

Robert Gregory Browne (Kill Her Again, etc. and Down Among the Dead Men coming May 25, 2010):

“The only book you’ll ever need is TELLING LIES FOR FUN AND PROFIT by Lawrence Block.”

Danielle Younge-Ullman (Falling Under):

“I always come back to Steven King’s On Writing and there’s a book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield that’s great. Both of these are particularly good for motivation, pushing through when you don’t feel like it. (And I guess I prefer writing books written by guys named Steven, lol.) For editing I like Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.”

Meredith Cole (Posed for Murder, Dead in the Water coming May 11, 2010):

“I enjoyed reading Bird by Bird and Stephen King’s book On Writing. I have a large collection of screenwriting books that I reread as well. Creating Unforgettable Characters by LInda Segar is worth a read, no matter what you’re writing.”

Alicia Bessette (Simply from Scratch coming August 5, 2010):

“The writing books I’ve found particularly helpful include Stephen King’s ON WRITING and YOUR FIRST NOVEL by Ann Rittenberg and Laura Whitcomb (the latter discusses both writing and publishing). And yes, I adore BIRD BY BIRD.”

Eve Brown-Waite (First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria: How A Peace Corps Poster Boy Won My Heart and A Third World Adventure Changed My Life):

“My very favorite writing book has always been, Bird by Bird. Also, when I read what I consider a really, really well-crafted book, I re-read it, trying to see how the author did that. Amy Tan’s THE HUNDRED SECRET SENSES and Margaret Atwood’s THE HANDMAID’S TALE. fall into that category for me.”

Therese Walsh (The Last Will of Moira Leahy):

“I gravitate more toward craft books than inspirational ones, though I own both. My two favorites—the ones that will always be on my keeper shelf—are “Writing the Breakout Novel” by Donald Maass and “Save the Cat” by Blake Snyder, because they provide the tools for creating a standout novel.”

A major thank you to all our authors who contributed to this book list!

Our Authors’ Go-To Writing Books, I, Our Authors’ Go-To Writing Books, II

1 Comments to “Our Authors’ Go-To Writing Books, III”


  1. PART THREE???!!! This is like having Christmas presents arrive in January just when you thought you’d finished unwrapping gifts and put away the tree. What a treat!

    And than thank you for the hard work that went into polling and then compiling the results!

    1


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