Fiction Writing

Recommended Resources

These are the resources I highly recommend if your child is interested in a career writing fiction. Everything on this list I either used in the past or still use to this day.

I’ve divided the list into four sections: craft basics; business basics; advanced craft; advanced business.

Craft Basics

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

A foundational text about the basics of plot. This is an excellent place to start. The book is divided into manageable chapters with exercises at the end of each one.

You can find it on Amazon here (affiliate link).

James has many other excellent books on writing, which you can find on his personal website. As a bonus, he’s also a Christian!

 

The Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson

Ingermanson is industry-famous for his plotting method.

While his teaching website is devoted to advanced fiction techniques, I think it’s a good idea to learn the Snowflake Method early. You’ll start developing your ideas more efficiently from the start.

You can always revisit the information later once you have mastered more theory to see what you missed the first time.

You can find the Snowflake Method here.

In addition to his fiction training, Randy is a Christian novelist who writes first-century Jerusalem fiction.

Something Startling Happens by Todd Klick

Story structure theory from the world of screenwriting. Something Startling will show you how to feel minute-by-minute beat present in most Hollywood movies. It will also teach you how to apply that sort of expected rythm to your own work.

A foundational book for basic story structure. Not to be missed.

You can find it on Amazon here (affiliate link).

Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

This is an overview of common plot tropes. The first section is a primer on basic plot concepts (three-act structure, the six types of conflict, etc). The remaining sections identifies 55 common types of stories and outlines their generic pacing. You can disassemble and reassemble these patterns into your project.

Due to its nature, this book can feel a little abstract, but it is a valuable tool for learning the basic flow of most stories.

You can find it on Amazon here (affiliate link).

The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders

I have talked about this book so much over the last 10+ years, I don’t even need to look up the authors to know their names. This is the character equivalent of Story Structure Architect.

Heroes & Heroines is a recipe book for basic character components. It’s up to you to add nuance, deviations, and originality.

Buy this and keep it by your desk for handy reference. You can find it on Amazon here (affiliate link).

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress

A primer text on how to write compelling characters and infuse them with life and speech. Complete with exercises at the end of each chapter.

You can find it on Amazon here (affiliate link).

Dialogue by Gloria Kempton

A great starting point for learning how to give your characters dialogue worth reading.

You can find it on Amazon here (affiliate link).

Description & Setting by Ron Rozelle

It’s not enough to structure a story, create characters with grwoth arcs, and bring it all to life with great dialogue. You also need to build worlds that live in the reader’s mind.

Writing great exposition is hard. This book helps you learn how to do it.

You can find it on Amazon here (affiliate link).

Business Basics

Novel Marketing Podcast by Thomas Umstattd Jr.

You’ll get no better education on marketing basics, sales strategy, industry overview, and publishing technology then this podcast.

The host, Thomas Umstattd, is direct and full of factual information. He’s also a Christian, and although the show is not explicitly faith-based, it is clean for all ages.

Learn more at Author Media.

The Sell More Books Show by Bryan Cohen and H. Claire Taylor

Another show I discovered via Novel Marketing Podcast, this show is a weekly news roundup of all things writing and indie publishing. It saves me lots of time by distilling industry highlights I need to know without having to search for them manually.

Advanced Craft

Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing by Jessica Page Morrell

This book is about the art and craft of writing words. You won’t learn about  story theory, character arcs, or three-act structure here.

Instead, Between the Lines show you the subtle techniques that make a writer an expert in words. Pacing, voice, style, and flow are the finer elements that make your writing sound like a pro. This book shows you how.

Find it on Amazon here (affiliate link).

Creating Character Arcs by K. M. Weiland

 If you only read one book on advanced craft, read this.

Weiland breaks down the internal mechanics of character growth (and explains why every story should be built on that) in the best way I’ve ever read. 

If you want to write fiction that touches people’s hearts with real change, mastering character growth is a must. This book will help you get there.

Find it on Amazon here. The accompanying workbook is here (affiliate links).

Helping Writers Become Authors by K. M. Weiland

This website is Weiland’s writing brain distilled into digitized format for the benefit of mankind. I don’t think you’ll find a deeper dive into story structure theory anywhere else on the Internet.

It is both mind-blowingly thorough, easily yet accessible. At least for the student who is willing to pace themselves and take it slowly.

If all you did was delete social media off your phone and instead read a blog a day, you would be a better writer by the end of the month.

Advanced Business

Book Launch Blueprint course by Author Media

If you’re ready to seriously train for a career and business in writing, the Book Launch Blueprint class by Author Media is your first stop.

It runs once a year for approxiamtely 4 weeks. It’s designed for people launching a book in the next 6 months to 2 years. However, most of the principles are best learned far in advance.

Take this class as soon a possible. Once you purchase it, you have lifetime access to all current and new content. And you’re invited back to participate each year (for free) as an alum.

There’s really no reason to wait!

If you need a personal testimonial of how impactful this class was for me, check here. Or here. Or here. Or basically all of this one. (Written version available here for easy skimming.)

Kindlepreneur Blog, Podcast, and Apps

I discovered Dave Chesson and his business, Kindlepreneur, when he was a guest speaker on Novel Marketing Podcast.

Both his blog and his podcast, The Book Marketing Show (no longer produced but still available for download) are immensely useful for developing tech- and business-related skills for indie publishing. Including but not limited to: Amazon keywords; everything Kindle and ebooks; ad-based marketing; and more.

He also has several excellent tools for serious indie authors. Some of them are free (such as the Amazon Book Description Generator). Others are paid, such as Publisher Rocket. I use both of these and love them.

The Creative Penn podcast by Joanna Penn

My favorite source of news and inspiration for advanced business, book marketing, and high-tech entrepreneurship topics.

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