What Books do I Recommend for New Writers?

While I am a firm believer that a writer should never place any real faith in a “guide to writing,” resource books that help you better understand character creation, world building, plot development, etc, are invaluable. These resources can range across a variety of writing fields, including novels, short stories, screenplays, and more. No matter what you’re writing, you’re always guaranteed to learn something from these helpful sources. That said, here’s my small list that I recommend you pick up!

The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trotter

This book is an amazing pick for those that are looking to get into screenwriting, covering a wide range of topics in the field. This includes everything from crafting an outline to getting published, allowing you to have a helping hand from an author that’s well regarded by the film world. I recommend this to screenwriters all the time, and often to novel and short story writers as well due to its earlier chapters, which help you develop a well-rounded cast of characters. Its currently several editions in, so make sure you get the latest!

The Anatomy of Story by John Truby

My second recommendation is a book by John Truby, a respected and sought-after story consultant in Hollywood. His students include the writers of Sleepless in Seattle, Shrek, Scream, and other such cultural hits. This book goes into story-telling steps, tips, and ideas that Truby encourages you to explore. Its a favorite of mine to consult for ideas on how to proceed with my own story-telling – something I really need to get on top of soon! I can guarantee you’ll learn a lot from this book and its author!

Writer’s Digest Book Series by the Editors of Writer’s Digest

This is a larger list of books that come as a part of a series, so I can’t just recommend one. They include Crafting Novels & Short Stories, Crafting Dynamic Dialogue, Creating Characters, and Writing Voice, respectively. While I don’t recommend you obey ALL the rules and tips in these books, as your writing style is your own, they are an amazing resource to have for writers that are just starting out or looking to refine the basics. You’re guaranteed to learn a lot from them in categories like writing style, character creation, realistic dialogue, and story structure. I can’t recommend these books enough if you need a refresher on some writing basics!

That’s all I’ve got for now! These are just some of the many writing resources that are on the market today, and the ones that I recommend the most. If you have any suggestions for resources for me, or have questions about the ones I listed, feel free to comment below. Also, check out some of my other blog posts! You might find some of them interesting!

5 thoughts on “What Books do I Recommend for New Writers?

  1. I think any writing resource worth it’s salt includes the caveat that no one else, really, can tell a writer exactly how to tell his or her story. Which makes sense, since that story has never been written before (hopefully #plagiarism). All one can do is explain how other writers (hopefully including oneself) have effectively crafted characters, plots, etc., or suggest exercises (since no matter what, practicing writing will always help you learn and grow), or explain ways that other writers have successfully gotten past blocks, figured out how to resolve issues, in the hopes of inspiring others. I do think it is worthwhile to think about other written works critically, and personally generally find such analysis inspiring. I have heard, and read some, of the Writer’s Digest collection, but have not read the screenwriting books (though I did read Christopher Voglers The Writer’s Journey last year, and found some of his explanations of characterization through use of popular movie characters very interesting), which I may need to get my hands on!

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    1. I’ll have to check out Vogler’s book! I highly recommend the Screenwriter’s Bible, if anything. It’s a very interesting read, utilizing popular movies such as The Godfather and Jaws (and others) to explain his ideas more thoroughly. Definitely worth a read if you’re interested!

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  2. I believe that the advice from established writers only ever benefit the aspiring one when they’re ready for said advice. I’ve read about the ‘therefore, but’ tip so many times before, but it’s until I actually wrote my first novel that I took that message to heart. Love your recommendations. I’d personally recommend Ann Patchett’s Getaway Car.

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