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From time to time, people ask me what my favorite books are to learn how to write. Of course, it depends on what kind of story you want to tell. There are hundreds of creative writing books penned by excellent authors, and some of those books may be better than the ones I’m going to recommend here.
That said, every author has his or her favorites.
Most of these I’m listing are books I read when I earned my Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. Considering how many awards I’ve won, I believe they've helped me and would also help others.
If you have any favorites, please add them in the comments section below, and I can do an addendum later.
First, I want to add a few insights on writing (I can’t help myself).
1. Good writing is rewriting.
2. No matter how many books you write, writing is hard. You might learn a few things to improve your craft along the way, but it takes persistence. Don’t give up. Just keep working at it. Those paragraphs eventually turn into chapters, and those chapters eventually turn into a book.
3. After writing your first draft, that’s when the real work begins—editing. I’ve heard many newbies say they hate editing. Learn to love editing. You will edit many more hours than writing your first draft.
4. If you are writing to make a lot of money, you might be disappointed. If you are writing because you can’t help but write, you are a writer.
5. Read a lot, and those books that stick with you forever ask why. Writing is more than just a mental activity. Writing involves the heart, the emotions, the senses, and the intellect. Think about what made those books special—and there is no right or wrong answer. Books are a work of art.
6. Be willing to take constructive suggestions. In the end, it’s up to you what you do with that “criticism.” Don’t be defensive. Just say “thank you” and move on.
7. If you write something that changes the world or improves people’s lives, relationships, or perspective, thank God He used you to make the world a better place and give Him the glory.
Here goes my list of books in no particular order linked to Amazon:
If you are interested in writing a memoir, here is a link to an award-winning article I wrote:
I would also recommend you find a writer's group in your area and start attending. I lead the local Word Weavers International in Gainesville, Florida, so if you live near me, you are welcome to join us. There are also many other chapters across the United States as well as some online critique groups. Click on this link to learn more.
If you have any specific writing questions, post them in the comments below and I will reply as time permits.
If you would like to check out my latest book, Tails and Purrs for the Heart and Soul, click here.
In the meantime, happy writing!
Reviewed by Phyllis Sather
If you enjoy animals, you need to read Tails and Purrs.
It's perfect for reading around the fireplace on a cool evening. Wrap in a warm blanket and just enjoy yourself.
I am so glad I read this book. It’s a delightful way to get to know the author a bit. Instead of somewhat boring details, she gives us peeks into her life by introducing us to her pets. I’ve only had a couple of pets, but I could certainly relate to some of her stories.
She brings herself and her pets to life as she tells about their relationship. She’s very open about her losses and attempts not to love another pet, but as is so often the case, when you see the right animal your heart just won’t let you hold back your feelings.All you animal lovers should really get a copy; you will love each of her pets as you hear about their antics and special ways. I’ve lost count of how many she’s had, but there are enough to keep you reading and relating for quite a while.
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Plus various audio and paperback book winners (randomly selected) (randomly selected)
UnderCut by Lisa J. Lickel may be her best novel yet. The story begins with a couple who are engaged amid a backdrop of family dysfunction, emotional entanglements, medical intrigue, and dark forces out for revenge. The narrative builds into an engrossing plotline that is driven forward with authentic, engaging characters caught in the crossfire of evil.
The medical thriller never lags, and many themes dealing with complex and relevant issues concerning racial relations, adoption, and family dynamics take center stage.
More subtle topics like the intersection of faith in the midst of suffering add depth and authenticity to the characters.
While the story has a good solid ending, the author left an opening for a sequel, so I look forward to reading the next book in the series if one should follow.
Sassy Pants Learns to Take Care of Others is the fourth and final book in the Sassy Pants Series. You do not need to have read the previous books in the series to become quickly immersed in this book.
The language is delightful, appropriate for young kids, and written in such a way that would be fun for a parent to read to a young child, or for a slightly older child (up to thirteen) to enjoy reading on his own.
The tone and affirmations throughout the book reflect great life lessons—the virtues of kindness and caring, the sting of being selfish or insensitive, and the willingness to be taught and become wise.
The illustrations are outstanding and bring to life the words of the story. Kids will love the artist’s creativity, especially the facial expressions of the animals.
There is so much to like about the Sassy Pants Series. If you are looking for a great animal series for kids for Christmas, I highly recommend it. Your child will love the little Sassy Pants’ pig and the unexpected surprise that awaits her at the end.
Dragging herself out of her rut might have been the most important thing Eaven has done for herself since a devastating accident robbed her of her happiness. Eyes wide shut to the crumbling decay of her comfort zone, she feels hung out to dry after her husband reveals the depth of his own despair. Waking to reality forces Eaven to face unpleasant truths about herself. Coming from high society in Charleston SC, Eaven had run as far northeast as she could to rural Washington State, Eaven decides to reclaim her former professional life as an antiques appraiser. But first she needs to build her stakes. Her first stop down the coast is Astoria, where she meets a mystery man, Greg, and becomes privy to the town’s unnerving history.
Greg hires her to help clean out his grandmother’s house, but his real objective is hidden in the mists of time and allusion. At the same time, one of the last town bigwigs has died, and his relative, Clayton, is looking for help getting an old moldy family mansion inventoried and hopefully ready for sale. Eaven happens to fill that need, and she’s put in a position to be able to double agent, so to speak.
A series of awkward and dangerous events, filled with clues and a curious series of historical flashbacks, flood the book until the conclusion. There’s obviously something nefarious happening in Astoria; that’s never a secret; but how the rest of the citizens, and in particular the visitors like Eaven, act on those events and that history provide an intriguing visit to Astoria. Good details engage the reader.
About the AuthorAuthor of Romantic Suspense, Women's Suspense, Political Suspense
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(31+) Winners of individual ebooks or bonus paperbacks (randomly selected)
Worthless to Priceless
Robin Densmore Fuson
Buy on Amazon
About the Book
At the tender age of thirteen,
orphaned Jenny Low decides to take matters in her own hands and runs away from
her captive life in a Ute tribe. Rescued from near death by a kindly teamster,
Samuel Baunof, Jenny is sent to live with a family in Glenwood Springs,
Colorado in 1886. She learns the truth of wickedness and runs again straight
into true evil.
Meanwhile, Samuel holds his head up while facing life's cruelty head on. A few years later, he crosses paths with the orphaned girl he once rescued. Now a beautiful young woman, Jenny is a God-send in his time of need. Their trials aren’t over and Samuel finds himself tracking her through the wilderness where, unbeknownst to him, someone else is after her too. Will he get to her in time?
Can these two people with completely different backgrounds and beliefs help each other and those around them? Is Samuel able to rescue Jenny from the horror her life has been drawn into? Is his faith strong enough to help her understand that God loves her and didn’t abandon her? Jenny is challenged to accept love and forgiveness even when she feels the world closing in.
Heart-achy love story between a young girl, brutally abused on the old west of Colorado, and a widower searching for someone to care for his young children.
It’s a familiar trope well-retold by a master storyteller. Fuson’s tales are always dramatic and life-changing no matter where or when they’re set.
Jenny has an almost True Grit aspect to her life, though she needs to kindness of others to help her escape the desperate circumstances she is in. After escaping from one horror and jumping into the next, this girl just can’t get a break until her life circles around to meet with the rescuer who thought he’d done a good deed.
Samuel has a good position as a teamster in Colorado; it’s just that he’s on the road for days at a time and when his wife passes away, he has three young tots to care for. Life is funny when it leads him back to the young girl he rescued from the desert. Horrified to learn the couple who took her in failed her dreadfully, and the next troubling circumstance she entered was even worse, Samuel was more than determined to see her safe.
Nicely told from both sides of gritty realism, romance readers will enjoy Fuson’s latest story.
About the Author
Robin recently moved to Tennessee with her husband Jimmy. Together, they celebrate with seventeen grandchildren. An award winner for romance and flash fiction. Robin is multi-published and writes stories on her blog for children. Robin is a member of ACFW, Vice President of ACFW Colorado Western Slope, and member of John316 Marketing Network. She enjoys leading a Bible study group and singing in two community choirs. Robin loves company and challenging her young guests to discover the many giraffes in the obvious and hidden nooks and crannies of their home.
In the fourth installment of Stacy Padula’s Gripped Book Series, the stakes are higher as Taylor Dunkin struggles to save himself and protect the ones he loves. He never knew that a slippery slope could cause him to fall into such a pit of despair. As he tries to pull himself out, however, he begins to realize that he may not be able to escape the mess of his own creation.
A five-star review for Gripped 4: Smoke and Mirrors.
- Mackenzie Wells, University of Georgia