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  • Regina Black

My Favorite Writing Craft Books


Last year, when I was gearing up for Pitch Wars I read a lot of craft books while I was getting my MS into shape. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites for addressing specific issues


General Story Structure


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


This breakdown of the three act structure isn’t just extremely detailed and comprehensive. It’s the anecdote to a saggy middle. This 3 act structure is really a 4 act structure that keeps your story moving. This is also the first book that made me understand the scene/sequel concept.


Romance Story Structure


Romancing the Beat: Story Structure for Romance Novels


If I’m writing a romance, my draft starts with these beats. I take liberties with the execution of but they’re always there. It’s great for pacing your love story too.


Pacing


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


This book assigns percentages to each story beat of a 3 act structure that I use as a guide to spot pacing issues. Additionally, that scene/sequel structure breakdown helps determine whether you’re moving too fast (all scene no sequel) or too slow (all sequel no scene).


Character Development


The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Psychological Trauma by by Becca Puglisi (Author), Angela Ackerman


This book has one of the best character arc questionnaires I’ve ever used. I fill it out for both characters, and the plot just falls into place. It’s also great for figuring out internal conflict and motivation.


Theme


Writing Your Story's Theme: The Writer's Guide to Plotting Stories That Matter by K.M. Weiland


I thought I understood theme until I read this book. It touches on everything from integrating theme into your three act plot structure, to choosing the best supporting characters to highlight different aspects of your theme. If you’re interested in adding thematic layers to your book’s premise, this will help you do it.


Show Don’t Tell


Understanding Show Don’t Tell and Really Getting It by Janice Hardy


I rec this book like it’s my job. It is not. It’s just the best book I read on a subject that can feel murky most of the time. In addition to clearly explaining the difference between telling and showing, it’s great if you’d like to try close narrative distance and strengthen your character voice. I’m not exaggerating when I say this made me a better writer.


Revising


Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft Omnibus: A step-by-step guide to a better novel


This is a step by step guide to revising your book through a series of 10 workshops. I’ve read this book and used it as a PitchWars mentee. But I plan to revisit it as I work on revisions for my editor.


I hope I've included something here that might help with your revisions!



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