The best books to help you write your best book

Rosanna Battigelli Author Of La Brigantessa
By Rosanna Battigelli

Who am I?

I was inspired by teachers and books starting at a very early age, and even before I was ten, I knew that I wanted to become a teacher and writer. In pursuing these two passions, I set out to become the best that I could be. I read countless books on the art and craft of writing (many of them by acclaimed authors). I chose these five exceptional books in the order that I read them over years of researching/writing La Brigantessa, which ultimately won an international Gold IPPY award for Historical Fiction, and was a finalist in two national literary awards. Hope you, too, are inspired by my picks!

I wrote...

La Brigantessa

By Rosanna Battigelli,

Book cover of La Brigantessa

What is my book about?

La Brigantessa is a novel set in the aftermath of Italy’s 1861 Unification, a turbulent period that saw scores of brigands rebelling against the harsh policies of the new government, which in turn ordered the destruction of these outlaws.

Gabriella Falcone is a peasant girl from Calabria who is forced to flee her village after stabbing a wealthy landowner in self-defence, but she and the parish priest accompanying her soon fall into the hands of brigands. Gabriella is catapulted into a world where right and wrong, justice and vengeance take on new meanings in this wild, unlawful territory. Experiencing the harsh existence of an outlaw, she discovers what she must do to survive and to ultimately vindicate herself.

The books I picked & why

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The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

By Julia Cameron,

Book cover of The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Why this book?

This must-have guide for artists provides basic principles and tools to access a writer’s awareness, confidence, and power to create. Julia Cameron illuminates the core elements of looking within and exploring core beliefs and practices that limit or expand a writer’s creative energy. I found this to be an invaluable and comprehensive resource for the artist’s/writer’s soul, at any stage of writing. This book speaks to tapping into the spiritual connection to creating. I highly recommend this inspirational guide that, along with many of Cameron’s other books I avidly read, nurtured my development as a writer over the years.

Write Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life

By Elizabeth George,

Book cover of Write Away: One Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life

Why this book?

Elizabeth George shares her approach to developing characters by exploring every aspect about them: their physical, emotional, psychological traits (core needs, what they do when their core needs are thwarted), etc. By knowing your characters thoroughly, you will be able to create multi-faceted, believable characters with effective and realistic storylines/worlds.

Reading this book was like being at an intensive and excellent workshop/conference with a master who cares about your progress and success, and who generously shares her writing journey and expertise with you. 

Doing the exercises on characters that filled up several notebooks (I decided to do this longhand, in stream-of-consciousness mode) made each of the six point-of-view characters in my novel strong and compelling, with their distinctive voices and personalities.

The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers

By Christopher Vogler,

Book cover of The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers

Why this book?

Christopher Voger’s book gives comprehensive insight into the archetypal characters and their actions that are present in narratives, based on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey. The book helps writers to understand how their characters are defined by their mythic role of hero/mentor/shadow/trickster, etc. This book is an essential guide in creating a sound plot structure that aligns with the tenets of powerful storytelling. 

The Writer’s Journey gave me a solid understanding of the mythical aspects of character-building and story construction, which helped solidify the characters and plot in my own book.

The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller

By John Truby,

Book cover of The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller

Why this book?

John Truby’s book is an invaluable resource for the serious writer. He provides in-depth insights into the inner workings of a character, and the character’s creator (you, the author), to create memorable, powerful, and emotionally moving narratives. Not only do you discover the tools to create compelling characters and their story worlds, but you also gain awareness of your own values and worldview that influence and shape your story from its foundation to its masterful completion. 

This book was a pivotal influence in the step-by-step progression of my historical novel with its six point-of-view characters and their story world, set in the turbulent period of post-unification Italy. 

Page-Turner: Your Path to Writing a Novel That Publishers Want and Readers Buy

By Barbara Kyle,

Book cover of Page-Turner: Your Path to Writing a Novel That Publishers Want and Readers Buy

Why this book?

Barbara Kyle covers all the areas fiction writers want and need to know about the craft of writing and how to elevate your craft into art. Her book is an essential guide to creating a novel with strong and compelling characters, setting, plot, dialogue, and more. 

Her insightful suggestions and advice, initially through a manuscript evaluation of my book, and later with a thorough reading of this book, was an essential part of my writing journey towards creating a “page-turner” that led to the acceptance and publication of my novel.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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