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

By Lawrence Block,

Here are 100 books that Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel fans have personally recommended if you like Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Mike Schnaidt Author Of Creative Endurance: 56 Rules for Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Your Goals

From my list on books to help you achieve your creative goals.

Who am I?

As both a professor of graphic design and creative director of Fast Company, I’m dedicated to helping others be more creative. At Fast Company, my job is to ensure the visuals for the world’s leading business media brand are consistently innovative. (Yea…no pressure.) Honestly, sometimes it’s tough to be innovative when I’m faced with a squeezed schedule, a towering to-do list, and a bargain basement budget. But, as a marathoner, I’ve learned that if you want to be successful, you need to push through sub-optimal circumstances. That’s where these five books come into play: they all provide relatable stories and insights into achieving success, despite tough odds. Let’s do this.

Mike's book list on books to help you achieve your creative goals

Mike Schnaidt Why did Mike love this book?

Stephen King’s book is a masterclass in resilience—an essential character trait for achieving your creative goals. King explains how he was sidelined by a van, yet managed to push through and complete the book.

While King's setback is extreme, it puts my issues of having a tight schedule or budget in perspective. If he can complete his project despite the odds, so can I.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

20 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…


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

Carleton Eastlake Author Of Monkey Business

From my list on what Hollywood is really like.

Who am I?

Having been a Hollywood writer for thirty years, and now written a novel that although satirical still accurately describes the creation of a TV series, I’ve long been amazed at how many Hollywood stories – including films made in Hollywood – offer fantasies that have even less to do with the reality of love and work in film and television than Game of Thrones does with the real Middle Ages. I’ve written fantasy myself, but for people fascinated by Hollywood, or who want to work in film and TV, there’s a reason too to read books that capture the reality, especially when like the books listed here, they do so astonishingly well.

Carleton's book list on what Hollywood is really like

Carleton Eastlake Why did Carleton love this book?

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.

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…


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

John Gaspard Author Of The Ambitious Card

From my list on for writers who want to write scripts.

Who am I?

I started making movies at age 13; to make a movie, you need a script, so I became a screenwriter by default. A dozen low-budget movies (and a couple of TV scripts) later, I started writing fiction: Two mystery series, (The Eli Marks mysteries and The Como Lake Players mysteries), four stand-alone novels, plus a couple of filmmaking “How To” books followed. Over the years, I’ve always searched out the best ideas on how to write, and how to write well. If I were to teach a course on writing, the five books I’ve listed would comprise the reading list.

John's book list on for writers who want to write scripts

John Gaspard Why did John love this book?

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.

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.


Book cover of The West Wing Script Book

John Gaspard Author Of The Ambitious Card

From my list on for writers who want to write scripts.

Who am I?

I started making movies at age 13; to make a movie, you need a script, so I became a screenwriter by default. A dozen low-budget movies (and a couple of TV scripts) later, I started writing fiction: Two mystery series, (The Eli Marks mysteries and The Como Lake Players mysteries), four stand-alone novels, plus a couple of filmmaking “How To” books followed. Over the years, I’ve always searched out the best ideas on how to write, and how to write well. If I were to teach a course on writing, the five books I’ve listed would comprise the reading list.

John's book list on for writers who want to write scripts

John Gaspard Why did John love this 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…

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…


Book cover of Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew

Mark David Gerson Author Of Writer's Block Unblocked: Seven Surefire Ways to Free Up Your Writing and Creative Flow

From my list on unlikely books to help you through creative blocks.

Who am I?

Ask successful authors how they started writing, and many will tell you that they always wanted to write. Not me! In fact, through most of my first 35 years, I resisted engaging with anything even remotely creative. I wouldn’t have called it “writer’s block” back then because, having no conscious desire to be a writer, how I could I be blocked? Yet writer’s block is what it was. That I was ultimately able to recognize it as such and get past it has given me a unique perspective on others’ writing challenges, as well as the skill and compassion to help them free up their innate creative potential.

Mark's book list on unlikely books to help you through creative blocks

Mark David Gerson Why did Mark love this book?

As with Madeleine L’Engle, everything I’ve read by Ursula K. Le Guin—fiction as well as nonfiction—has radically influenced my writing and my teaching of writing. In fact, her impact on my creative awakening was so profound that I sent her a copy of my first book as a thank you! Steering the Craft is filled with wisdom and exercises for both new and seasoned writers, but perhaps the most liberating for blocked writers is her controversial view that “story” is defined by “change” not “conflict.” That’s especially welcoming for writers who feel hemmed in (and, perhaps, blocked) by the traditional definition.

By Ursula K. Le Guin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Steering the Craft as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ursula K. Le Guin generously shares the accumulated wisdom of a lifetime's work.


Book cover of Structuring Your Novel

Valerie Howard Author Of Deep Blue Sea

From my list on for indie authors working to improve their craft.

Who am I?

I have been a published indie author since 2011, and I enjoy reading and studying the craft to make my work the best it can be. I have a passion for indie authors and indie publishing, and I love the flexibility this type of authorship gives me while I homeschool my two young boys, run a non-profit organization, and volunteer at my church.

Valerie's book list on for indie authors working to improve their craft

Valerie Howard Why did Valerie love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of No Other Life

B.L. Bruce Author Of The Weight of Snow: New & Selected Poems

From my list on contemporary nature poetry.

Who am I?

My name is Bri Bruce, writing as B. L. Bruce, and am an award-winning poet and Pushcart prize nominee from California. Over the last decade and a half, my work has appeared in dozens of literary publications. I am the author of four books and Editor-in-Chief of nature-centric magazine Humana Obscura. I was raised with a wildlife biologist/avid gardener for a mother and a forestry major/backpacker/fisherman as a father. Both my parents instilled in me at a young age a love of nature. A lifetime spent outdoors inspires my work—so much so that I’ve been called a “poetic naturalist” and the “heiress of Mary Oliver.”

B.L.'s book list on contemporary nature poetry

B.L. Bruce Why did B.L. love this book?

No Other Life combines three of Gary Young’s books into one volume. There is such unique style and quiet beauty to Young’s work. I am truly inspired by it. He has a knack for capturing the extraordinary in the mundane in brief but deep prose poems that grip the soul. 

Young was one of my professors in college and was a driving force for why I pursued a creative writing degree and chose to continue to write after graduating. His work will always hold a special place in my nature-loving creative heart.

By Gary Young,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked No Other Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No Other Life gathers in a single volume two earlier books by Gary Young, Days and the award-winning Braver Deeds, with the final book in his trilogy, If He Had. Utilizing a radically brief prose poem that in its spare lucidity leaves after images burned into the readers imagination, Young weaves a pattern of compelling and often harrowing correspondences that Ethan Paquin described in Quarterly West as an exploration of thresholds, of levels of human endurance. Although every poem stands as an independent utterance, each book suggests a discrete poetic unit, and the entire trilogy can be read as a…


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

Dinty W. Moore Author Of Crafting The Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Non-Fiction

From my list on for essayists and memoirists.

Who am I?

Dinty W. Moore is the author of the writing guides The Story Cure, Crafting the Personal Essay, and The Mindful Writer, among many other books. He has published essays and stories in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Southern Review, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere, and has taught master classes and workshops on memoir and essay writing across the United States as well as in Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, and Mexico.

Dinty's book list on for essayists and memoirists

Dinty W. Moore Why did Dinty love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Sing Me the Creation: Creative Writing Sourcebook

Leon Conrad Author Of Story and Structure: A complete guide

From my list on writing without killing creativity.

Who am I?

As a writer, I love words and am continuously fascinated by the way they work. In terms of writing manuals, I particularly value the work of writers who combine knowledge and understanding of writing techniques while also providing inspiration and keys to freeing the imagination. I’ve found these books brilliantly complement my professional interest in story structure and how story works, and match my own approach to combining theory with practice; craft with art in my work on story. I hope you find they inspire creativity in you, too.

Leon's book list on writing without killing creativity

Leon Conrad Why did Leon love this book?

I picked up this book as the title sounded interesting, but it sat on my bookshelves for over five years before I delved into it. Since then, it’s become one of my favourite guides to writing. It’s described as ‘probably the most unusual guidebook for creative writing in the world.’ It’s full of insights such as ‘grammar is a mapping of the human soul,’ or ‘the social word… is serious play.’ The play takes place in a field with the four ‘great human virtues’ at its corners: beauty, good will, truth, and openness. It’s a ‘sourcebook of spells’ that have the power to ‘carry you into that place of the heart from which true language comes.’

By Paul Matthews,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sing Me the Creation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is an inspirational workbook of creative writing exercises for poets and teachers, and for all who wish to develop the life of the imagination. Paul Mathews gives us permission to indulge our fantasy, and then, when that life is flowing, provides the tools to craft it into poetry and song. There are over 300 exercises for improving writing skills, for self study. They are also ideally suited for group work with adults. Teachers will find these exercises popular with students.


Book cover of Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction

Peter Lovesey Author Of The Last Detective

From my list on the secrets of great mystery writing.

Who am I?

My introduction to mystery writing was a competition for a first crime novel. I was lucky enough to win with Wobble to Death, about a Victorian long-distance race. When I went to collect the prize, I was startled to be asked if I was already at work on the next one. The publishers Macmillan had started a crime list and were looking for a career writer. I knew practically nothing about the genre and had to give myself a crash course. How I needed the support of books like these! After five years, I had the confidence to give up the day job and have made my living from mystery writing for almost fifty years. 

Peter's book list on the secrets of great mystery writing

Peter Lovesey Why did Peter love this book?

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.

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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