I’ve been deep in my revision cave these last few weeks. Which for me means a printed copy of my most recent draft, a pile of sticky notes, a jar full of colored pens, and lots of notes and thoughts scattered across legal pads and journals. It also means revisiting a number of writing books for help while I’m tackling everything from character motivation to the big scary thing that is plot.
Since my brain is a hot mess of new and old ideas right now, I thought I’d keep this blog post simple and share some of the writing books I’ve found most helpful when tackling a revision.
Story Genius by Lisa Cron
How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere)
I really wish I had worked through this book when I was starting this novel. But it’s proven to be a really useful tool for see where I’ve got some key components of a strong story down and where I need to dig deeper.
I discovered Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat books on screenwriting years ago and they made a huge difference in my storytelling. Jessica Brody’s take on using his approach for novels is a good one, and I found a couple of key pieces that have really made a difference as I revise my book.
I’ve heard Larry speak a number of times and this book is a pretty nice overview of his take on story. I haven’t read it in a while, but the pieces are always rattling around in my brain, and I will be certain to use his checklists later in my revision process.
I haven’t found a craft book by Donald Maass that I didn’t like. His questions are great tools for getting deeper into character, motivation, and most importantly stakes. Whenever I feel like something’s not quite right or I’m simply in the mood to run things a different way, I do an exercise in one of his books and see what happens. It’s great for clearing the cobwebs and seeing new possibilities.
Can you tell I have a little lack of confidence when it comes to plotting? 🙂
This book was instrumental in getting my last novel to a final, publishable draft. I’m not sure what exactly it did to make the pieces fall into place – but I appreciate it. And, I have it handy in case I need it this time around, too.
My copy is well worn and filled with sticky tabs. This guide covers pretty much every part of the revision process clearly. And the checklists at the end of each chapter are detailed and incredibly useful.
I’d love to hear what writing books help you through both the drafting and revision process. Please share below. I’ll be sure to duck out of my cave to respond.