If you’re new to fiction . . .
Don’t judge a book by its cover! This dummy is packed with great info.
Brooks can come across as a bit defensive, but his book is still a solid starting point for new novelists.
If a gentler approach is more your style, check out Weiland as an alternative to Brooks.
If you’re ready for the next level . . .
(Psst, I coauthored a chapter in this one—so, you know, I think it’s pretty great.)
It’s an older book, and not the easiest read, but if you’re serious about fiction, it’s worth it. If you’re interested in indie publishing . . .
Two well-written, straightforward books by Gaughran.
My current favorite . . .
Superb advice for novelists too.
Inspirational Writing Books
If you’re looking for something new . . . .
Fantastic. One of my new favorites.
If you’re looking for something different . . .
This is technically a how-to book, but I see it as inspirational. Bransford is funny, optimistic, and not afraid to make writing simple.
If you haven’t read the classics yet . . .
If you struggle with self-confidence . . .
Awesome. A must-read for anyone in the arts.
A great accompaniment to The Talent Code. If you struggle with finding the time to write . . .
This book overhauled my approach to blogging and social media.
Essentialism is about simplifying your life to make room for what you love. If you’re struggling to find the time to write, this book will help you prioritize.
An excellent explanation as to why “butt in chair” sounds so simple but can be so difficult.
A great in-depth how-to on achieving your goals, especially if it feels like you’ve already tried all the usual advice.
My Favorite Reads If you’re looking to improve your voice . . .
Walls’s story is eclipsed only by her ability to tell it simply and without judgement. If you want to write from multiple POVs . . .
Apparently you can break pretty much every POV writing rule out there and still end up with a compulsively readable book.
The omniscient narrator is Death, and the writing is original, beautiful, and haunting.
If you want to write creative nonfiction . . .
Hillenbrand is the reigning champion of creative nonfiction. Her writing (and this story) is incredible.
If you want to write commercial/women’s fiction . . .
Three female narrators alternate telling this story, and Stockett made me fall in love with all of them.
Moriarty’s Big Little Lies is all the rage right now, but my two favorites are actually this one (a bit on the darker side) and Three Wishes (lighter and Moriarty’s first). If you want to explore an old topic in a new way . . .
This book is about Alzheimer’s, which automatically sounds depressing, but Khong approaches it with originality and humor. I also love her writing style: stripped-down and quietly brilliant. The books I loved as a kid (and still do) . . .
The books I read over and over again . . .
Note: I do change up these recommendations depending on what I’m currently reading (you can find me on Goodreads at goodreads.com/carythefriendlyeditor). Also, I do participate in Amazon’s affiliate program, but I only recommend books that I have actually read and truly enjoyed.