Here are some resources to help you as you pursue your long-form fiction goals:
Books I Recommend
An adaptation of the screenwriting classic Save The Cat by Blake Snyder, this version is aimed at novelists. If you’re like me and love to write, but get bogged down in structuring a novel, this is an absolutely brilliant place to start. It’s not ‘outlining’ so much as ‘the art of the roadmap’. It tells you what each piece of the novel needs to achieve, rather than telling you what you should be doing (the terms ‘rising action’ and ‘inciting incident’ give me hives).
How To Write A Book, Revise A Book, and Complete A Book While You Still Love It by Stuart Horwitz
My biggest takeaway from this book was that it is important to know which draft you’re writing at any time. Sounds simple, but it doesn’t always feel that way. Horwitz has a winning style and takes you through the process not just of drafting a novel, but revising it and completing it, without starting to hate it. And there are comics.
Write With Focus, Read With Purpose, Build Your Community by Gabriela Periera
More than just a book or a guide to writing a book, the DIYMFA handbook is a guide to creating a writing life…without the astronomical tuition fees you’d have to pay for an official Master of Fine Arts.
This book is fantastically well-organized, clear, and inspiring. It’s a manifesto and a method for leading a writing life and I love it.
by Jane Friedman
This is a book about how to support yourself with your writing and I can’t sing the praises of this book highly enough. It’s not a craft, how-to, or rah-rah-you-can-do-it self-help title.
This is more like the girlfriend who says “Are you sure you want this? Cos I have to tell you what ‘this’ is really like” Then, when she’s sure you really want it, she gives you everything she’s learned about how to succeed.
How To Write The Story Beneath The Surface by Donald Maass
If your writing is getting less-than-enthusiastic responses from editors and agents, consider that you might not be immersing readers enough. This book from agent, writer and teacher, Donald Maass, should blow the lid off the top of your head, and let the emotions come exploding out.
And don’t think that, just because you’re writing military sci-fi, your readers don’t want to feel. They do. No gushy love-hearts required.
Teachers & Courses I Like
I went through this course when it was being tested and found it really helpful. You get almost-daily pep-talk videos from Jerry for the first few weeks, lessons, timelines, check-boxes and an extremely practical guide to working your way through a novel. There’s also a Facebook group where you can connect with other people going through the course.
The course only opens up for enrollment from time to time. When it does, contact me for a link, because I’ve got some great bonuses to give away!
Lisa’s style is acerbic and fun, and she makes a strong case for digging into your character’s past, so you can dig your nails into your readers’ hearts!
One of the reasons I like her so much is that she writes novels AND short stories that I enjoy. If you are interested in learning about either, check out her Patreon page. At the $15 level you get to hang out monthly and write, live in class with Mary Robinette, and ask her any questions about fiction, the writing life, whatever. At the $25 level she teaches you a structured class every month on different aspects of fiction AND you get to hang out at the monthly writing dates too. Particularly useful if you’re into Science Fiction, Fantasy and short fiction.
If you want a structured, well-organized approach to the writing life, from idea to career, check out our friends at DIYMFA. There are courses, a book and, of course, the indomitable Ms. Pereira, herding the whole lot towards awesomeness.
And of course, if you’re looking for a community, accountability group and on-going workshops on the craft of writing, look no further than the StoryADay Superstars. Made up of short story writers, novelists, memoir writers and poets, this group meets in Zoom writing sprints and hangouts, and in our personal Slack Workspace to share resources, provide accountability, and keep each other on track throughout our writing life. Registration opens in April and August
If you have any resources you’d like to share, leave them in the comments.
And, of course, if you’re still interested in short fiction and the StoryADay challenge, you can keep in touch by adding yourself to the mailing list, below.