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.

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The books I picked & why

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

Why did I love 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.

By Julia Cameron,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Artist's Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Artist's Way provides a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. It aims to dispel the 'I'm not talented enough' conditioning that holds many people back and helps you to unleash your own inner artist. Its step-by-step approach enables you to transform your life, overcome any artistic blocks you may suffer from, including limiting beliefs, fear, sabotage, jealousy and guilt, and replace them with self confidence and productivity. It helps demystify the creative process by making it a part of your daily life. Whatever your artistic leanings, this book will give you the…

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

Why did I love 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.

By Elizabeth George,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Write Away as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Elizabeth George is one of the most successful writers of crime fiction in the world. Her twelve novels have appeared on bestseller lists in the UK, USA and Australia, and several of them have been dramatised by BBC Television as the Inspector Lynley Mysteries. She has also written a collection of short stories and edited a crime anthology.

Now she shares this wealth of experience with would-be novelists, and with crime fiction fans. Drawing extensively on her own work, and that of other bestselling writers including Stephen King, Harper Lee, Dennis Lehane and many others, she illustrates her points about…

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

Why did I love 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.

By Christopher Vogler,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Writer's Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Originally an influential memo Vogler wrote for Walt Disney Animation executives regarding The Lion King, The Writer’s Journey details a twelve-stage, myth-inspired method that has galvanized Hollywood’s treatment of cinematic storytelling. A format that once seldom deviated beyond a traditional three-act blueprint, Vogler’s comprehensive theory of story structure and character development has met with universal acclaim, and is detailed herein using examples from myths, fairy tales, and classic movies. This book has changed the face of screenwriting worldwide over the last 25 years, and continues to do so.

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

Why did I love 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. 

By John Truby,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Anatomy of Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"If you're ready to graduate from the boy-meets-girl league of screenwriting, meet John Truby . . . [his lessons inspire] epiphanies that make you see the contours of your psyche as sharply as your script."
―LA Weekly

John Truby is one of the most respected and sought-after story consultants in the film industry, and his students have gone on to pen some of Hollywood's most successful films, including Sleepless in Seattle, Scream, and Shrek. The Anatomy of Story is his long-awaited first book, and it shares all his secrets for writing a compelling script. Based on the lessons in his…

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

Why did I love 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.

By Barbara Kyle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Page-Turner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


"Brings alive almost every tough issue a writer of fiction must confront . . . friendly and fun to read." — Albert Zuckerman, founder of Writers House literary agency

“Kyle knows her stuff. She breaks down both the art and the craft of writing in a way that is entertaining and easy to understand.” — #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong


What makes a page-turner? What mysterious literary essence holds a reader so hard they feel they must keep reading? And then tell friends, "I couldn't put it down!"

And what do…

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