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Writing isn’t hard.
If you can read, you can write.
And if you write, well then congrats!
You’re a writer.
Wait, what was that? You want to be a good writer?
You want to be the kind of writer that leaves readers begging for more long after they’ve finished the last page of your book?
You want to craft a novel that reads so effortlessly that readers forget you, the writer, exists?
You want to create a fictional world so rich and lavish in detail, and so intricate in plot and backstory that HBO decides to turn it into the most watched and arguably best show ever made in television history?
You want to…not suck so much?
Well my friends, you’ve come to the right place.
Look, anyone can write drivel.
But good writing is an altogether different beast.
DISCLAIMER: There’s no shortcut to good writing. You gotta read A LOT. You also gotta write A LOT.
And you’re still probably gonna suck for a long time.
In my quest to suck less at this writing thing, I’ve come across several books that have literally TRANSFORMED my writing into something halfway decent and mostly readable.
EVELYN’S LIST OF BOOKS YOU SHOULD COP TO HELP YOU SUCK LESS AT WRITING
I hate outlining.
It’s boring. And annoying. And ridiculously time-consuming.
I mean, why spend months working on an outline when you could be WRITING your actual book?!
So after reading K.M. Weiland’s book, I finally realized how incredibly necessary and underrated outlining really is.
And unlike every other outlining book in the world, she doesn’t give you a ‘one size fits all’ system of outlining.
Instead, she guides you toward the type of outlining that best suits you.
Even if that ends up being no outline (it’s okay that some of you are psychopaths who don’t outline…I guess).
She also offers up tons of helpful tips and tricks like using a free online calendar to keep track of the days of the week in your novel (trust me, unless your entire novel takes place over the course of one day, you will want to do this)
BONUS! Her website Helping Writers Become Authors is a straight up master class in writing. Do yourself a favor and read EVERY SINGLE blog post. You’ll thank me later.
This book is exactly what it sounds like.
A thesaurus for emotions.
For instance, let’s say that your character is angry.
Sure you could write, Sarah is angry. But that’s boring af.
Not to mention, it also breaks the cardinal writing rule of “show don’t tell.”
So what’s a future George RR Martin to do?
Open up a copy of The Emotion Thesaurus and look up Anger. Inside you’ll find pages of suggestions like these:
And that’s only half of the suggestions for Anger!
DISCLAIMER: I strongly caution you to use The Emotion Thesaurus in the same way you’d use a regular thesaurus.
Your reader shouldn’t be able to tell that you’ve used either.
Think of The Emotion Thesaurus like a cheesecake.
Eating a couple slices here and there is fine but for goodness sake, don’t eat the whole damn thing at once.
Goodness knows I’ve never done something like that before.
I mean, I haven’t.
Well, maybe once but like a really really long time ago. So it’s almost like it never happened.
Please stop judging me.
If I had to choose an MVP of the list, Grammar for Fiction Writers would be it.
Hands down, this is the most helpful writing guide I have read to date and I promise it will transform your manuscript into something worthy of publication.
And if you self-edit. This is a MUST HAVE.
Marcy and Chris walk you through some basic grammar from primary school that you’ve definitely forgotten.
They give you actionable steps you can take to
Fix. Yo. Shit.
BONUS! Marcy and Chris have written an entire series of books entitled The Busy Writer’s Guide, covering things like Point of View, Description, Dialogue, Show & Telling and more.
Sidenote: I have read all of the Busy Writer’s Guide books mentioned above and they are just as good as Grammar for Fiction Writers.
Do yourself a favor. If you only buy one book from this list, let it be this one.
Hack Your Writing by May Dawney is an awesome writing guide for newbie writers.
May concentrates on the things most newbie writers screw up like overusing adverbs and avoiding POV violations.
I love the common sense/down to earth feel of her book. You know you’re learning from someone who’s been there and knows what they’re talking about.
So Deep Work is not a writing book per se. It’s a book that teaches you how to focus in a world full of distractions.
This is probably one of the most helpful, but also one of the most difficult-to-utilize books I’ve ever read.
It’s a book you’ll read multiple times because it will take SEVERAL attempts before you’ll be able to do deep work on a consistent basis.
I’m STILL working on it.
It’s Stephen King.
You just gotta.
And there you have it, folks.
Those are my first round draft picks that will turn you into a writing superstar.
Or at least someone who can piece together a coherent, decently written story for mass consumption.