*This is an old post that I have updated and added new books too.
Twelve Writer Woes and the Books to Cure Them
Problem #1: You're a pantser and are dying to figure out a way to SIMPLY plot.
Though I have a little nerdgasm looking at pictures of people's plotting white boards with all their notes and post-its and color-coding and index carding, the idea of actually doing that to one of my stories makes my throat close up in anaphylactic shock. But, at the same time, I crave some organization, some rough map of where I'm going. Enter my favorite book, *pets its cover* Seriously, life-changing. I can now write entire synopsis (to sell on proposal) before I've written any of the novel. Don't worry that it says screenwriting, it totally applies to novels as well.
Problem #2: You keep getting partial requests but not follow-up full requests. So, you may, um, suck at openings.
Problem #3: You're writing your first book and are absolutely overwhelmed by the process.
Problem #4: Your stories seem to lose focus or meander during the process.
Or maybe you're getting feedback from critters saying--I'm not really sure why your character is doing this or this scene doesn't seem to have a focus/point. This means you need to get down to the bones that hold a character and story together. This one is a classic you'll hear recommended over and over.
Goal, Motivation, & Conflict
(If you buy this one, get it from this link. It's cheaper directly from her site.)
Problem #5: You know you can write, but your books still aren't getting that agent or publisher.
You get feedback like, "You clearly have talent, but the story or characters just didn't resonate with me or reach out and grab me."
Problem #6: When you go back to edit your book, you have to cut a ton of scenes because they just aren't moving the story forward or adding anything.
Problem #7 You need to write some hawt scenes, but whoa, shock of all shocks, sex isn't that easy to write! Who knew?
Problem #8: You've been told you need to "tighten" your writing.
A nuts and bolts guide that will get your waistband cinched up quicker than Jenny Craig...
Problem #9: You just want a kickass book on writing and want to hear Stephen King talk about what adverbs have to do with hell.
Problem #10 - Your characters jump off the page and readers instantly feel connected to them, but your plot is weak or downright absent.
This book has been a life saver for me because plot is always my biggest struggle. It's one of those books you want to read slowly and more than once because there's a brilliant nugget on every page.
Problem #11 - You can come up with the most twisty-turny, compelling plot ever, but your characters are cardboard players stuck in there just to serve the plot or completely unbelievable.
Problem #12 - You're writing is "good" but you can't seem to make that draft sing and stand out.
I had the privilege of seeing Margie Lawson speak at a local conference on fresh writing and it really was a revelation. (When you read MELT INTO YOU, the prologue was totally inspired by that class. I came home and wrote it the night after her lecture.) Her editing system and focus on taking the clichés out of your writing is amazing. She doesn't have a book, but she has lecture packets. And though twenty bucks may seem pricey for a packet, I can assure you these packets are THICK and chock full of awesomeness. Check them out here.
So those are some of my faves. Every time I open one of these books, I learn something useful. It's like my prescription when I have writer's block.
So do you suffer from any of these above afflictions? Which one? Do you have any of these books? What's your favorite craft book and why?