Top Reads for Plot Writing

These are my favourite recommendations for writers looking for help with creating plots.

Bookmarks : A Guide to Research and Writing (3rd Edition)

by John Ruszkiewicz, Janice R. Walker, Michael Pemberton
This is a book many have been waiting for. It gives the reader the rationale behind using both methods of technology: old and new, paper and electronic. This is something many other works have avoided. They either focus solely on the old types of research or hone in on the internet and electronic revolution that has resulted. Unfortunately, some authors have simply assumed that everyone is well aware of the new technology as well as how to use it for such things as research. John Ruszkiewicz, Janice R. Walker and Michael Pemberton intend to bridge the gulf between the old tradition of library research, interviews and checking out live information, with the new tradition of surfing the net from the comfort of your own home. No matter what type of writer you are, what level you are at in the writing game and what appeals most to your sensibilities, this is the ideal book for you. It easily helps you to understand the different approaches and what works when. Yet, do not buy this book with the idea you will find everything presented to you on a platter. The authors have decided to make you work a bit. They challenge you to think and, as is the case in actual researching, you sometimes have to figure things out for yourself.

If You Want to Write : A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

by Brenda Ueland
This book is not new to the shelves. It first appeared in bookstores some 50 yerars ago. It has won the critical acclaim of well-known authors, including the poet Carl Sandburg. He stated that it was “best book every written about how to write.” In it, Brenda Ueland, the author, offers her two basic rules of writing. They are simple, yet complex. Her first rule is always to tell the truth. Her second maxim is to do not do anything you do not love. While these may seem hard to manage in today’s economic and social climate, do seriously consider what she is saying. If nothing else, read it from cover-to-cover. It will help you improve your writing and even result in some form of self-discovery. Now in its 10th revision, the book still provides remarkably modern insight into the process of writing a book. The latest edition now includes updated facts on various aspects including electronic technology. Yet for this author, writing is less about the mechanics and more about finding what you love to do and hanging on to it.

The Midnight Disease : The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain

by Alice Weaver Flaherty
Alice Weaver Flaherty has written an interesting book about the writer’s compulsion to write. This is the Midnight Disease. It strikes in the middle of the night. Your heart races as a story or plot line runs rabid through your brain. You can’t sleep and, if you do not get up to write it immediately, you leap up out of bed in the morning to commit the work to paper. The medical term for this is hypergraphia - the overwhelming desire to write. The author, using her own personal experience as a basis, also deals with its antithesis, Writer’s block. Other common problems associated with writers and writing grace the pages of this book. The author understands the overall significance of literature and the human condition. The book examines the interconnection between communication and human biology. Yet, as a neurologist, Flaherty provides a biological/neurological approach relying upon her knowledge of brain functions. She uses this to help express the place of a writer in the overall scheme of the world as well as writing as a form of required communication. The result is a very unique approach to the subject of writers and the compulsion to write.

No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

by Chris Baty
If you have ever celebrated the National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo in November, you may already know about Chris Baty.

He is a founder and organizer of this particular movement. He, like others involved, hope to raise the awareness of everyone but focuses on writers to accomplish a specific task. He and his organization ask writers to come up with an idea for a novel then write and finish it within a 30-day period. No one expects it to be the Great American Novel. This is not the purpose of the goal. The intent is to put together a novel within these time constraints that will now make anyone violently ill. The book takes you on a romp through the world of Chris Baty, specifically his method to putting together a novel quickly and effectively. Originally designed to accompany the November program, the book does emphasize how writers need to encourage writers in the process of completing their “magnum opus” – or its antithesis, in 30 days. Yet, the book also does stand on its own two feet. It can act as a means to galvanize your procrastinating self into action.

Ready, Aim, Specialize!: Create Your Own Writing Specialty and Make More Money

by Kelly James-Enger
Ever wonder why some freelancers make it big while others don’t? The answer may not always have to do with quality or quantity. In fact, the reason why many are successful in the business of writing is their ability to specialize. This book is designed to help you discover what you need to do to become a specialist freelance writer. It makes you ask yourself all the right questions. What are you best at? What topics are you strong in? Is there something you enjoy learning about no matter how often you write or research on it? Once you can narrow down the field of possibilities, you can find a potential means to make-it big. As the author sincerely believes and promotes, the way to success is through writing about something you are good at, love to research on and never grow weary or bored of writing about. While this may seem obvious, to some it is not. The guide helps you sort this out but does not stop there. It discusses other matters. It spreads out through helpful hints and useful tips the approach to accomplish what you want to do. It makes no difference whether you are a professional considering a change in direction or simple a writer turning professional, this book can act as a guide to finding the market that will serve your talents, your interests and your desire for success.

Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies

by Leslie Wainger
Ah, the much maligned love story. The romance, the saccharine and truly love-saturated prose of those in love and those wanting to be loved. While some professionals may snicker or dismiss this genre, romance novels do have their appeal. This holds true for certain writers and readers alike. Admittedly, writing a romance novel comes with a certain amount of baggage. Yet, planning and creating one demand a certain level of skill not everyone can master. If this is the direction in which you wish to go, read this book. The author, Leslie Wainger, provides you with everything you need to know to take that step. Want to know about designing the right plot? It is here. Wondering what to call yourself? This book also includes information on how to choose a pseudonym. Moreover, what she tells you can help you leap over the competition. To accomplish this, you can read the entire book. You can also dip into it and go piece-by-piece or section-by-section to learn what you want to know. Writing a Novel for Dummies, is truly a comprehensive guide on the subject.

The Book of Myself: A Do-It-Yourself Autobiography in 201 Questions

by Carl Marshall, David Marshall
Some people have lead such an interesting life, others are always telling them: “You should write a book about your life? It will sell like hot cakes.” If this is the case for you, maybe you might want to commit your life to paper. However, before you start writing your autobiography, you should pick up and read this book by Carl Marshall and David Marshall. It will help you formulate what you should and should not write down and, therefore, immortalize forever. Whether you are currently a writer or have decided to embark on this one-off project, the authors are there to provide you with the information you need. It guides you through many of the aspects of writing an autobiography. The book helps you to catalogue the events and determine what to include and what to leave out. You discover what people may be interested in knowing. You learn it all in an easy question-based format. If you know someone who is planning to write their autobiography, give them this book. It will help them to do it right.

The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile

by Noah Lukeman
Like first appearances, the first five pages of your work are important in creating that initial impression. You and/or your work may find rejection if unable to measure up to expectations and societal/biblio demands. While this book cannot help you with your personal appearance, it can do a lot to help you avoid ending up dismissed out-of-hand. The author, Noah Lukeman, guides you through the process of ensuring your first five pages are capable of capturing and captivating whoever is reading it. As an editor and literary agent in Manhattan, he is more than a little aware of the entire process and how it works. Rejecting manuscripts is not something new to him. In this book he turns his experience as an editor to good use. He has prepared a guide to avoiding rejection and, instead, making it through the reading and even into print. Sometimes he points out the obvious – the need to spend sufficient time on your prose since the well-tweaked plot will not sell the book on its own. Yet, this is often what a writer forgets and need reminding about it. The author always stresses clearly and accurately the need to make those first few lines and, by extension, the initial pages, stand out – reverberate with the publisher or editor. Once you accomplish this, you and your book stand a chance at being published.

The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing: A 16-Step Program Guaranteed to Take You from Idea to Completed Manuscript

by Evan Marshall
If anyone knows what makes a novel tick, it is Evan Marshall. He has been in the business in various capacities for years. A published novelist, an editor and even a literary agent, he has seen all sides of the coin. To help you at least achieve one of these positions, Marshall has put together a 16-step program on how to take a novel from the first steps to the last. His 16 step program covers all aspects of novel writing. He looks at planning, plotting and writing. There are sections on methodology. Marshall does not even neglect the actual act of publishing. Full of information and encouragement, this book is intent on making your novel, whether it is your first attempt or one of several, a success. Discover how to look at the writing process in a slightly different manner. Use the charts, recaps and templates to help you organize and plot, well, your plot, characters and the rest of the aspects of a full-fledged novel. This is a linear approach that will, eventually, result in your work appearing at a faster more even rate. If you remain focused, you will be bale to follow this book, absorb what it teaches you and clearly map out your novel.

350 Fabulous Writing Prompts (Grades 4-8)

by Jacqueline Sweeney
Writer’s block strikes the best of writers. It plays no favourites. It does not matter that you are considering writing in a journal and, thus gathering your thoughts and ideas for writing later. This book is written to help you with creative, expository and journal writing. If you are tired of those blank pages, let Jacqueline Sweeney help you with these 350 writing prompts. Intended to help individuals as well as teachers provide “prompts” for writing, this book is replete with suggestions and exercises. Some are inspirational proverbs while others are meant to be thought provoking e.g. questions and quotationsl. Some are part of exercises; others consist of suggestions of what to do as a group. This book will appeal to anyone who writes. It is also meant to help out teachers and children learn about the creative process. Either group will find something within this small treasure to get the creative juices flowing.

Word Painting: A Guide to Writing More Descriptively

by Rebecca McClanahan
Do you ever wonder how to lift your writing from the mundane into the prosaic, to turn it into colorfully descriptive words that flow off the paper without becoming saccharine and verbose? If this is your desire, read this book. Using examples of writing right from current authors such as Toni Morison as well as theory and practice from older and authoritative authors such as Aristotle and Samuel T. Coleridge. These extraordinary writers all come together under the skilful pen of award winning poet and author Rebecca McClanahan, to create a book that helps you think as well as create the type of prose or poetry you desire. The author also applies this technique to help you clearly distinguish between standard writing and exceptional literature. Utilizing her experience and also the literature at hand, the author leads the reader through the process of discovering and expanding their own powers of observation. The result when a writer pulls all the ends together and executes them correctly is crisp, clear descriptive words and passages that provide characters with new life, help shape the plot and dialogue that leaps off the page. Read this thorough workbook and learn how to create lively, rich prose from the best.

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