reading writing books
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APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur, Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. A must-read for anyone considering self-publishing.

The Art of Fiction, John Gardner. A handbook with lots of practical exercises as well as theory.

The Art of War for Writers, James Scott Bell. Not only strategy, but also tactics for writing well.

Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing, Les Edgerton

The First Five Pages, Noah Lukeman

The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth, James N. Frey

Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction, Jeff Gerke

Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, Kathy Ide. An updated version of Ide’s Polishing the PUGS: Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling. Unless you aspire to be a copyeditor, you don’t need the Chicago manual. You do need this book.

Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View, Jill Elizabeth Nelson

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne and Dave King

Write Great Fiction: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint, Nancy Kress

Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure, James Scott Bell

Writing Fiction For Dummies, Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy. Great overview of many fiction elements.

Writing in Obedience: A Primer for Christian Fiction Writers, Terry Burns and Linda Yezak. Inspirational and informative. A must-read for new writers.

Disclosure of Material Connection: The Amazon links above are affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a pittance of a commission. Regardless, I only recommend books I believe will be of value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Author Media: blogging, websites, marketing

The Book Designer: self-publishing, book design for print and e-books

Chip MacGregor: agent

Copyblogger: nonfiction writing, especially for content marketing

Edittorrent: writing and editing

New Authors Fellowship: By and for unpublished Christian novelists writing in the speculative genres; I am an editor for this site.

Novel Marketing: a marketing podcast just for novelists

Pixar’s 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling

Query Shark: agent; learn how to write query letters by studying bad examples

Sean Boylan on Social Styles (Four personality types)

Speculative Faith: analysis of speculative fiction and other media from a Christian perspective

Writers Helping Writers: fiction writing

Online tools

Hiveword novel organizer

Scriptito novel organizer and online publishing platform


  1. […] of Fiction seminar, one of the students questioned the absence of The Elements of Style from my recommended reading […]

  2. […] Recommended Reading page will look familiar to anyone who’s taken one of my seminars. It’s a list of books […]

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