5 Craft Books I Liked

Now, I don’t want to repeat the usual suspects of On Writing by Stephen King or Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott although I do have them on my shelf. I want to talk about a few books you might not have heard about yet. These one’s are for serious writers who want to go beyond the first draft. These books won’t automatically make you a better writer, but they’re definitely a push in the right direction. For me, as a newbie writer who never learned to write fiction, these books were very helpful.

The Fiction Formula by Sean M. Platt and John Truant

I read this as part of my Kobo Plus trial and I might buy it just so I always have access to it. If you need help with story structure and how to set it up, you might want to check out this book. The authors have successfully produced dozens of novels and shared the details of their work process. Even though the team all have different workflows, they still manage to work well together because of the formula they developed.

It’s definitely an interesting approach and even if you don’t end up using it yourself, you’ll be familiar with another way to create a story.

Self-Editing For Fiction Writers by Renni Brown and Dave King

Once you’re done with a first draft, or even a zero draft, you might want to look it over at least once before passing it on to someone else. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers is a great start to polish your manuscript. They cover just about every step of the way, slowly expanding on what they explained before.

This book is often recommended to people who are serious about writing, not just self-published authors. Even if you’re going to pursue traditional publishing, making sure your manuscript is the best you can do with the least amount of typos, inconsistencies, grammatical errors, etc. is encouraged.

Damn Fine Story by Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig has a special kind of humour and I love it. Damn Fine Story has a lot of his humour while still giving good tips on what to do or what not to do. There’s a list in the back with a tl;dr, but I highly suggest reading the whole book first before putting tabs at the tips you’re going to use frequently. Because you’ll want to refer back to some of them.

On Writing and Worldbuilding by Timothy Hickson

If you watch authortube, you might already be familiar with Timothy Hickson as he runs the Hello Future Me channel. He has in-depth videos on many topics, varying from structure to theme to worldbuilding. In the first volume of his On Writing and Worldbuilding series (volume two is in the works), he covers about a dozen topics he also made videos on. So if you don’t like to watch videos while taking notes, this book might be a better option.

Volume II is set to be released before the end of the year!

Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer

The Wonderbook is both a wonderful book as well as a book of wonder. The illustrations are breathtaking and inspiring while the text is informative and entertaining. It also has writing exercises and more in-depth looks at specific topics. It’s a joy to read as a craft book, but also if you’re generally interested in fantasy.

6 thoughts on “5 Craft Books I Liked

  1. Peat says:

    Wonderbook is fantastic, and you’re now the second person to recommend me that Hickson book in short order so maybe I’ll have to look at that too.

    Ever looked at that Aaron how to write 10k words book?

    • Tessa Hastjarjanto says:

      I haven’t read that one yet but I read Chris Fox’s book 5000 words per hour. I liked it although it wasn’t spectacular. I’m curious to what she says though. It would be nice to compare them 🙂

  2. Hannah says:

    *wishlist grows bigger* I’ve heard good things about Ursula K Le Guin’s book on writing, too. Think it’s called “Steering the Craft”. Been meaning to grab it, Wonderbook, and On Writing for YEARS!

    • Tessa Hastjarjanto says:

      Yes! I’ve got Le Guin’s book on my TBR, and many more I could probably make a few more posts like these haha

  3. Jaya says:

    I confess I was a little thrown off by the title of this post, thinking your list would be about knitting, doll-making, or origami, so I am delighted it is a list of writing craft books!

    I love that you have diversified your list by going beyond the ‘big’ names! The Wonderbook sounds fresh and engaging and I love the sounds of a Damn Fine Book.
    Thanks for sharing!

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