Today I wanted to share my favorite resources as they relate to writing, structure and inspiration. Everyone needs a little help now and then, no shame in it. In my opinion, the wisest person is always asking how they can improve.
Whether you're just starting out writing that book you've always dreamed of, or maybe you're a seasoned writer who needs a pick-me-up for their current WIP. These resources are what have helped me tremendously over the years, through various stages of my writing both in pre-planning and actually executing the dang thing.
#1: Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
If you don't try any of the other resources I mention, at least try this one. Even if you think you know all there is to know regarding story structure and plot, this book has something to offer you. This book is immensely helpful not only in structuring your novel, but so many other things ranging from improving your conflict, to raising the stakes, finding story ideas, and writing your character arc. This book is a really an A-Z guide on how to write a novel.
I first read it back in college. It now has at least thirty dog-eared sections as I have consistently picked it back up every time I get stuck in one of the stages of my current project. Buy it. Read it. It definitely won't collect dust on your shelf, I assure you.
#2: How to Write Dazzling Dialogue by James Scott Bell
Another one by James Scott Bell. Okay, you caught me. The majority of the books I have on writing were written Mr. Bell and for good reason. His writing is so clear and to the point, that you don't ever find yourself wondering when he's going to finish his thought. I don't know about you, but I hate that.
This book is a very easy read that you could get through on the plane, or sitting through a soccer practice. Short and sweet, it offers a variety of examples of dialogue that you can use to move your plot forward.
Yes. Dialogue to move the plot forward. Can you imagine?
If you're currently struggling with dialogue that just doesn't seem to mean anything or feels dull, then give this book a try.
#3: On Writing by Stephen King
I've actually read this book twice now. I mean, really, if you're going to read advice on writing from anyone, wouldn't you want to hear it from one of the most successful writers out there? One of the things I love about this book (there are many) is the fact that even though I don't particularly enjoy suspense novels, it doesn't matter. This is a book by a writer, for writers, and it touches on so much more than genre, but life balance and how to get your head in the place it needs to be in for success.
Of course, Stephen King gives some witty anecdotes about writing sins, but one of the sections I particularly loved is the part where he talks about how he used to put his writing desk in the center of his office, like a trophy, until he later realized that writing isn't about the glory of the craft itself. Writing is about reflecting life. And if you don't spend enough of your time actually living, you can't possibly do well in your writing. He now has his writing desk pushed back into the corner of the room.
If you're having a hard time getting your mindset right, I highly recommend this book.
#4: Audio Books
So why audio books? A lot of writers use the excuse that they just don't have enough time in the day to read, so what little time they do have, they want to focus on writing. When I shifted my focus over to reading, I finally tried audio books for the first time where I wasn't driving a long distance. I used to think that I wouldn't be able to pay attention, or that I would get bored. Let me tell you how wrong I was.
Audio books are a great way of freeing up your hands to do household activities while still reaping the benefits of indulging in a story. It was through listening to an audio book that I came up with several ideas for my current story plot, including beefing up some of my conflict and exchanges between the characters that would bring them closer together emotionally.
Try it and see for yourself.
Again, not so specific here, but something that became very present in my life this year was podcasts. For the same reason that audio books are so available to you, I love that podcasts can easily be downloaded to your device and listened to at your convenience.
There are SO many categories of podcasts out there, it's incredible. Simply search the keywords, "Author," or "Writing," you will find hundreds of helpful resources out there for any subject in which you are looking for help. From literary agents sharing their experience and expertise, to interviews with successful novelists, to fan fiction writers and book lovers (who doesn't want to learn more about their target audience...?).
If you haven't hopped on board the podcast train, I highly recommend it. It's easy, it's free, and you can learn so much from the thousands of amazing brains offering you high quality content each week.
That's all for today, hoppers! Thank you again for stopping by my channel and I hope to see you again next time!