Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Favorite Writing Craft Books ~ Part 2

This week we have more great writing craft books to recommend, with more Voyager writers and IWSG founder Alex J. Cavanaugh sharing favorite references of theirs.  I'm going to have to expand my writing references shelves in my study bookcase.  That's a great problem to have ~ LOL.  Enjoy!

Favorite Writing Craft Books ...

Bish Denham
"The Blind Ship"

Favorite Writing Craft Books
I have approximately 30 books on writing which include everything from books on the mechanics of writing (grammar, punctuation, editing etc) to structure (the nuts and bolts of plotting a story or novel) to inspiration (how to get inspired to write or how to generate ideas.) Here are three of my favorites from each category.

Mechanics: The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr and E.B. White

Structure: Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story by K.M. Weiland

Inspiration: My all time most very favorite book, Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You, by Ray Bradbury.

Bish Denham is from the U.S. Virgin Islands, where her family has lived for over a hundred years. The author of two middle grade novels and a collection of retold Jamaican Anansi stories, she says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book.”


Sherry Ellis
"The Ghosts of Pompeii"

Favorite Writing Craft Books
My favorite writing craft books are Save the Cat by Jessica Brody, which covers everything you need to know about writing novels and The Story Works Guide to Writing Character by Alida Winternheimer. This short book walks through how to create memorable, realistic characters who grow throughout a story. 

Ellis' books include Don't Feed the Elephant; Ten Zany Birds; That Mama is a Grouch; That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN; Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China; and Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure

She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information about her work, she invites you to visit her websites at and

Charles Kowalski
"Simon Grey and the Yamamba"

Favorite Writing Craft Books
One book I always have close at hand is Brenda Ueland's If You Want to Write - a classic that I find myself dipping into whenever my writer's soul needs recentering. An excerpt:

"What's the use, we say, of doing anything unless you make money or get applause? Socrates and the men of the Renaissance decided that one's life should be devoted to 'the tendance of the Soul' (including intelligence, imagination, spirit, understanding, and personality), for the soul, in all probability, lived eternally. And so now I have established reasons why you should work from now on until you die, with real love and imagination and intelligence, at your writing or whatever work it is that you care about. If you do that, out of the mountains that you write some molehills may be published. Or you may make a fortune and win the Nobel Prize. But if NOTHING is ever published at all and you never make a cent, just the same, it will be good that you have worked."

Charles Kowalski has published the full story of Simon, Oyuki and their adventures through haunted Japan in Simon Grey and the March of a Hundred Ghosts.  In addition to to middle-grade fantasy, Charles' thrillers for adults, Mind Virus and The Devil’s Son, have won prizes and nominations including the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Colorado Gold Award, the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award, and the Adventure Writers Grandmaster Award.

Rebecca M. Douglass
"A World of Trouble"

Favorite Writing Craft Books 
The Kick-Ass Writer by Chuck Wendig. An irreverent, often potty-mouthed take on all aspects for writing from planning and plotting to the final polish, all delivered in one- to two-paragraph nuggets you can flag and return to as needed.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. This book focuses on what to do when the first draft is finished, and offers samples to illustrate the points about tight writing. It doesn’t help as much with the big-picture issues of plotting and story arc, but offers a lot for strengthening character and voice.

And for formatting an ebook so it works, Mark Coker’s Smashwords Style Guide. A free ebook that tells you exactly how to make your ebook pass the Smashwords “meat grinder” that is the gate-keeper for distribution to pretty much every market out there. It focuses on MS Word (their preferred document format) for both PC and Mac. I learned a lot in there about how my word processor works!

Rebecca is the author of the delightful Ninja Librarian books, as well as a picture book for outdoor families, a mystery series for the parents, and her middle-grade fantasy, Halitor the Hero.  After more than seventeen years working at the library, she has retired still without learning all the secrets of the Ninja Librarian.

Louise MacBeath Barbour
"Dare Double Dare"

Favorite Writing Craft Books
Like most authors I have many writing craft books that I consult frequently, and a number of them have been recommended by my fellow Voyagers authors.  Here are three favorites of mine that haven't been mentioned by the others:

On Writing:  A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King:
King is a genius as far as I am concerned, and I have returned to his memoir on writing over and over.  It's entertaining and jam-packed with information on the basic tools every writer needs.  I'll share one King quote that emphasizes what I think is something a writer must never forget:  "So, okay--there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of your telephone.  You've blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come help or high water.  Now comes the big question:  What are you going to write about?  And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want.  Anything at all ... as long as you tell the truth."  

Writing is a subject that many elementary teachers must teach.  Over my teaching career I was fortunate to learn from the best writing craft authors and children's book authors.  Often an excellent book about teaching writing to children taught me as well, because such a book explained writing concepts clearly, succinctly, and concretely.  There is nothing like teaching a subject to learn a subject!  Heinemann is the publisher for writing craft books for educators, and their authors are fabulous.  One of my favorites is Ralph Fletcher, and his classic book is What a Writer Needs.  One of the charms of this book is seeing examples of children's writing as  younger authors grapple with the same challenges I do as a writer.  Fletcher writes, "Of all the writer's habits, consistency may be the habit that matters most."  So very, very true!

I primarily write non-fiction, and I especially enjoy writing about science.  One of my favorite science craft writing books is Communicating Rocks:  Writing, Speaking, and Thinking About Geology by Peter Copeland.  Copeland does for geological writing what Struck and White do for general writing.  Copeland writes, "... the aphorism, attributed to Mark Twain, 'It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt' applies most of all to those who don't recognize that it does apply to them.  The good writer knows this might apply to her and works hard so that, most of the time, it doesn't."
Born in Nova Scotia and raised throughout eastern Canada, Louise is a writer and blogger who now lives in Colorado.  She writes fiction and nonfiction with the encouragement of her supportive husband.  "Dare Double Dare" is her first middle grade story.

Alex J. Cavanaugh
a.k.a. the Ninja Captain

Favorite Writing Craft Books 
A favorite of mine is Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder. It’s for screenwriting, but his fifteen beats fit novel writing perfectly. There’s also a sequel, Save the Cat! Strikes Back.  

All of us in the Insecure Writer's Support Group know and appreciate its founder Alex J. Cavanaugh, a.k.a. the Ninja Captain.  He is a fan of all things science fiction, and his interests range from books and movies to music and games.  Alex has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design, graphics, and technical editing.  Alex is the author of Amazon bestsellers CassaStar, CassaFire, CassaStorm, and Dragon of the Stars.

Coming on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 
Next week I'll share some tips for writing a Teacher's Guide for juvenile fiction.

Till next time ~
Fundy Blue 

* * * * * * * * * *

IWSG Members Supporting Fellow Members: 
The arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult for Insecure Writer's Support Group members to promote and sell their books, because many conferences, conventions, and other events have been cancelled this year.  Yesterday, one of our members Chrys Fey had a great writing craft book released.  Chrys is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series and an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.  She is also a moderator for the The Insecure Writer's Support Group Book Club on Goodreads.  

When Chrys Fey shared her story about depression and burnout, it struck a chord with other writers. That put into perspective for her how desperate writers are to hear they aren’t alone. Many creative types experience these challenges, battling to recover. Let Keep Writing with Fey: Sparks to Defeat Writer's Block, Depression, and Burnout guide you through:
·         Writer's block
·         Depression
·         Writer's burnout
·         What a writer doesn’t need to succeed
·         Finding creativity boosts
With these sparks, you can begin your journey of rediscovering your creativity and get back to what you love - writing. 

Please help spread the news about her latest book!

Release date – July 14, 2020
$17.95, 6x9 trade paperback, 256 pages
Print ISBN 9781939844729 / EBook ISBN 9781939844736
Writing / Self-Help: Depression – Stress Management

Reviews of Voyagers: The Third Ghost:

1. Check out lots of reviews and ratings at Goodreads.

You can order a copy of
VOYAGERS: The Third Ghost 
at the links below.

Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99

Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure /
Fantasy & Magic


L. Diane Wolfe said...

One could build quite a library of writing craft books from these two posts.

Fundy Blue said...

One could indeed, Diane! All the best to you!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Good to see someone else like Save the Cat.

Jemi Fraser said...

Lots of great books! For me, it's Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker :)

Fundy Blue said...

I've definitely got to check these books out, Alex!

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks for sharing a favorite of yours, Jemi!

Roland Clarke said...

I'm with Bish in the Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story by K.M. Weiland corner. K.M's three act Scrivener template is the foundation of my WIP. Although, I'm toying with 'Cat' as I admitted last week. Different approaches still resonate with each other.

Sherry Ellis said...

Yay for Save the Cat! This is a great bunch of resources. There are many books I'd never heard of, so I'll have to check them out.

Fundy Blue said...

So many resources to check out! Thanks for commenting, Roland!

Fundy Blue said...

My book budget has been shot to hell ~ LOL! Have a good one, Sherry!

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