10 books like Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel

By Lawrence Block,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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On Writing

By Stephen King,

Book cover of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

This, unlike my other picks, is a work of nonfiction. It’s a treatise on the craft of writing, actually, and one of my favorites.

I’m including it because if you’re a fan of reading books with strong elements of escapism and world-building, there’s a good chance that one day you will want to write books with strong elements of escapism and worldbuilding! And what better way than to learn from a master himself?

Not only does King offer general advice (like, don’t watch tv), he weaves a surprising amount of practical advice into this enjoyable read, too (stay away from adverbs and long paragraphs). If you think one day you’d like to write books, read this one!

On Writing

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked On Writing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Twentieth Anniversary Edition with Contributions from Joe Hill and Owen King

ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE’S TOP 100 NONFICTION BOOKS OF ALL TIME

Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the…


Adventures in the Screen Trade

By William Goldman,

Book cover of Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting

This book coined the maxim far and away the most quoted in Hollywood to this day: “Nobody knows anything.” I first read it the year before I broke in. My copy is heavily annotated with yellow highlighter and red pen; a black paperclip still marks the second of Goldman’s two capitalized maxims, “Screenplays are structure.” The value of this book to anyone wanting to understand – or survive in – Hollywood is that, ironically, Goldman, one of the most successful screenwriters and novelists in Hollywood history, knew almost everything, not only about screenwriting, but also the psychology, cautious care, and perilous feeding of actors, directors, executives, and the rest of the Hollywood zoo. It’s both a textbook and survival guide, illustrated with a veteran’s vivid stories about life behind the tinsel.

Adventures in the Screen Trade

By William Goldman,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Adventures in the Screen Trade as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now available as an ebook for the first time!

No one knows the writer's Hollywood more intimately than William Goldman. Two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter and the bestselling author of Marathon Man, Tinsel, Boys and Girls Together, and other novels, Goldman now takes you into Hollywood's inner sanctums...on and behind the scenes for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the President's Men, and other films...into the plush offices of Hollywood producers...into the working lives of acting greats such as Redford, Olivier, Newman, and Hoffman...and into his own professional experiences and creative thought processes in the crafting of screenplays. You get…


It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here

By Charles Grodin,

Book cover of It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here: My Journey Through Show Business

Rejection is a big part of the writer’s life (less so now that self-publishing has taken off, but it still rears its ugly head more times than you might expect).

Actors know all about rejection and the late Charles Grodin had more than his share. While this is technically a memoir, it’s also a handbook on how to deal with and process all the forms of rejection you might encounter on your journey. As an additional incentive to read it, please know that Charles Grodin is a terrific writer and a funny, funny man. You’ll learn while you laugh.

It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here

By Charles Grodin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked It Would Be So Nice If You Weren't Here as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Here is an actor's autobiography that transcends genre. Grodin writes about his share of catastrophic setbacks with candor and liberating humor. He dispenses invaluable advice about the art of surviving in the celluloid jungle. Photos.


The West Wing Script Book

By Aaron Sorkin,

Book cover of The West Wing Script Book

Why this book? Two words: Aaron Sorkin. This book collects six of his teleplays, but I think you could get just as much by watching the first four seasons of “The West Wing.” Osmosis, do your thing!

Dialogue, character development, how to get into a scene, how to get out of a scene, juxtaposition … it’s all there, and more in Sorkin’s writing. This book contains some of my favorite episodes (although it doesn’t have my favorite, “Noel”), and some of his best speeches. In particular, Bartlett’s rant in “Two Cathedrals” and Toby’s frustration in “17 People” (“I will bet you all the money in my pockets against all the money in your pockets…”) Sorkin’s mantra (intention and obstacle) is probably the shortest and best advice you can get about how to keep characters alive in a scene. Read this book (and watch the show) to see that mantra…

The West Wing Script Book

By Aaron Sorkin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The West Wing Script Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First-time publication of 8 full scripts from the hit NBC showwinner of 9 Emmy Awards, including Best Drama writingselected and introduced by the acclaimed show creator and screenwriter of The American President and A Few Good Men. Here is the first collection of scripts from the show's first two seasons, including the Emmy Award-winning episode "In Excelsis Deo." The NBC show, named "TV Show of the Year" by Entertainment Weekly, stars Rob Lowe, Dule Hill, Allison Janney, Janel Moloney, John Spencer, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, and Martin Sheen. Reviewers and fans of The West Wing agree that one of the…


Writing Fiction, Tenth Edition

By Janet Burroway, Ned Stuckey-French,

Book cover of Writing Fiction, Tenth Edition: A Guide to Narrative Craft

Now in its tenth edition, this book is for committed writers only. A highly valuable textbook on the writing process, Burroway covers story form, plot, structure, building character, place, and setting, and takes a detailed look at point of view. Each section comes with examples of how things do and do not work, as well as providing a list of suggested readings and writing prompts for further study. This book is a master class in creative writing that also calls on us to renew our love of storytelling and to celebrate the skill of writing well.

Writing Fiction, Tenth Edition

By Janet Burroway, Ned Stuckey-French,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Writing Fiction, Tenth Edition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than a quarter million copies sold!

A creative writer's shelf should hold at least three essential books: a dictionary, a style guide, and Writing Fiction. Janet Burroway's best-selling classic is the most widely used creative writing text in America, and for more than three decades it has helped hundreds of thousands of students learn the craft. Now in its tenth edition, Writing Fiction is more accessible than ever for writers of all levels-inside or outside the classroom.

This new edition continues to provide advice that is practical, comprehensive, and flexible. Burroway's tone is personal and nonprescriptive, welcoming learning writers…


Structuring Your Novel

By K.M. Weiland,

Book cover of Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story

I can never read too many books about how to structure the overall plot of a novel because I’m a by-the-book plotter. K.M. Weiland brilliantly explains in a down-to-earth way how to make your story work so you are never confused about which plot points should go where in your story, no matter if you plot to the nth degree or like to see where the story takes you with minimal planning.

Structuring Your Novel

By K.M. Weiland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Structuring Your Novel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Is Structure the Hidden Foundation of All Successful Stories?

Why do some stories work and others don’t? The answer is structure. In this award-winning guide from the author of the acclaimed Outlining Your Novel, you will learn the universal underpinnings that guarantee powerful plot and character arcs. An understanding of proper story and scene structure will show you how to perfectly time your story’s major events and will provide you with an unerring standard against which to evaluate your novel’s pacing and progression. Structuring Your Novel will show you:

How to determine the best techniques for empowering your unique and…


A Stranger's Journey

By David Mura,

Book cover of A Stranger's Journey: Race, Identity, and Narrative Craft in Writing

Master teacher David Mura’s A Stranger's Journey addresses long-overlooked issues of race and identity in publishing and in the standard teaching of creative writing and he brilliantly advocates for a more inclusive and expansive definition of writing craft. Though this book is partly aimed at educators, he offers incredibly useful craft lessons as well, primarily through his deft analysis of work done by writers ranging from James Baldwin to Mary Karr to ZZ Packer. In a world that no longer accepts the notion that our greatest authors have to be “dead white men,” Mura offers a necessary window into the intersection of race, literature, and culture.

A Stranger's Journey

By David Mura,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Stranger's Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Long recognized as a master teacher at writing programs like VONA, the Loft, and the Stonecoast MFA, with A Stranger's Journey, David Mura has written a book on creative writing that addresses our increasingly diverse American literature. Mura argues for a more inclusive and expansive definition of craft, particularly in relationship to race, even as he elucidates timeless rules of narrative construction in fiction and memoir. His essays offer technique-focused readings of writers such as Junot Diaz, ZZ Packer, Maxine Hong Kingston, Mary Karr, and Sherman Alexie, while making compelling connections to Mura's own life and work as a Japanese…


Story Trumps Structure

By Steven James,

Book cover of Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules

Story Trumps Fiction is a non-fiction book that encourages you to tear up the rule book when it comes to plotting and planning a novel. I’m a plotter at heart, but this book offers some thought-provoking arguments for writing organically, to craft exciting and surprising plots. It’s written by an award-winning novelist, so he’s ideally placed to offer great advice on how to make a story more powerful, emotional, and gripping. I recommend it for both novice writers and more experienced ones, too.

Story Trumps Structure

By Steven James,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Don't limit your fiction - LIBERATE IT

All too often, following the "rules" of writing can constrict rather than inspire you. With Story Trumps Structure, you can shed those rules - about three-act structure, rising action, outlining, and more - to craft your most powerful, emotional, and gripping stories.

Award-winning novelist Steven James explains how to trust the narrative process to make your story believable, compelling, and engaging, and debunks the common myths that hold writers back from creating their best work.

   • Ditch your outline and learn to write organically.
   • Set up promises for readers - and deliver…


Reading Like a Writer

By Francine Prose,

Book cover of Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them

This title is unique among books on writing in that Prose devotes a full chapter to eight critical elements of writing: words, sentences, paragraphs, narration, character, dialog, details, and gesture. For example, she explores concepts such as first sentences and their impact on the narrative. Prose suggests that “close reading” is the key to understanding and learning about literature, for the reader and writer. She takes her readers on a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters―Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Kafka, Austen, Dickens, Woolf, Chekhov―and discusses why these writers have endured. Throughout, she cautions readers to slow down and pay attention to words, the raw material out of which literature is crafted. One of the most important books on writing I have ever read.

Reading Like a Writer

By Francine Prose,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reading Like a Writer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In her entertaining and edifying New York Times bestseller, acclaimed author Francine Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and tricks of the masters to discover why their work has endured. Written with passion, humour and wisdom, Reading Like a Writer will inspire readers to return to literature with a fresh eye and an eager heart - to take pleasure in the long and magnificent sentences of Philip Roth and the breathtaking paragraphs of Isaac Babel; to look to John le Carre for a lesson in how to advance plot through…


Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction

By Patricia Highsmith,

Book cover of Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction

No one can deny that Patricia Highsmith knew how to create suspense. Alfred Hitchcock saw that Strangers on a Train was the ideal spine-tingler for a great movie. Other directors have found the Ripley series perfect nail-biting stories to work with. Highsmith takes us through the process of building suspense from the germ of an idea through the plotting, the drafts, and the revisions, using examples from her own work, short stories, and novels. I’m not surprised this book has stayed in print for over fifty years. I still dip into it and get inspired.

Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction

By Patricia Highsmith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named by The Times as the all-time number one crime writer, Patricia Highsmith was an author who broke new ground and defied genre cliches with novels such as The Talented Mr Ripley and Strangers on a Train.
In the classic creative writing guide Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction, Highsmith reveals her secrets for producing world-class crime and thrillers, from imaginative tips for generating ideas to useful ways of turning them into stunning stories.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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