Hi there, everybody. Today is another list post! Last week I shared with you my favorite resources for honing your skills in the craft of storytelling; today you will see some of those same books here, but I have gathered up some additional resources I used to teach myself the mechanics of writing and editing. Below you will find resources (both paid and free) to teach you grammar, take the mystery out of writing great sentences, and show you how to format dialogue.
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Books and eBooks
The title is pretty self-explanatory. I reference this book all the time because it provides unique situations like how to write good flashbacks, and how to summarize in interesting ways without info-dumping.
If you recognize E.B. White’s name but can’t place your finger on where you’ve heard of him before, allow me: Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web, and The Trumpet of the Swan.
That’s right. Friendly neighborhood children’s book guy is gonna learn y’all some English. (A language I still can’t grasp.)
Topics include: ELEMENTARY RULES OF USAGE, ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES OF COMPOSITION, A FEW MATTERS OF FORM, WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS COMMONLY MISUSED, and WORDS OFTEN MISSPELLED.
The style handbook was originally written by Strunk for his Cornell students, who gave it its nickname, “the little book.” Later on, Macmillan and Company commissioned White to revise and expand the 1935 edition for the public and it became a huge hit.
Great introductory book for nailing down the definition of terms like “on the nose” and “subtext.” Mr. Bloom explains how to add tension and powerful energy to your dialogue while balancing your word choice to keep it from sounding melodramatic, or at the other end of the spectrum, a little too lifelike.
This is a very heavy read. You have to devote a lot of brain power to this one, but if you do, it is what I like to call a Gold Mine. Have you ever had a day when you just feel like you’ve forgotten what makes good writing so good? You can appreciate it when you read it, but you just can’t put your finger on what you love so much? This book will show you exactly how to troubleshoot your work by giving examples from well-known books and plays. Some topics include: creating rounded characters; putting irrelevant details to work; “thisness”; simplicity; rhythm and music of prose and dialogue; style; metaphors; truth, convention, and realism; surprise and inevitability; and so much more.
I will always suggest this book. Mr. King’s guide to writing is clever and darkly humorous, just like him; he brings all of his facets—English teacher, husband, musician, successful (but firstly very unsuccessful) writer—to the table in this informative and frank book.
Free Resources & eBooks
K.M. Weiland is the go-to source for great writing advice. After you get a taste of Ms. Weiland’s friendly, in-depth lessons, you can explore story structure further in her book w/ workbook box sets:
- Structuring Your Novel Box Set: How to Write Solid Stories That Sell by K.M. Weiland $7.99 USD
- Outlining Your Novel Box Set: How to Write Your Best Book by K.M. Weiland $6.99 USD
One of my favorite teachers, Daniel frequently offers eCourses as well as free-to-watch videos. In this book, he discusses word choice, voice, rhythm (touching on iambic pentameter,) and more.
The Hemingway App works in-browser, but is also available as a desktop application for $19.99 USD; I would highly recommend purchasing it if you have crappy internet connectivity like I do. This is one of my favorite writing applications!
Keep It Simple
Hemingway helps you write with power and clarity by highlighting adverbs, passive voice, and dull, complicated words.
Tighten Up Your Prose
The Hemingway Editor cuts the dead weight from your writing. It highlights wordy sentences in yellow and more egregious ones in red.
Short, easy-to follow lessons on everything from punctuation and sentence structure to diction. Covers both mechanical and creative how-to advice.