Fiction Writing, Writing

Best Writing Books, Part 2

I’m back today with three more “best writing book” recommendations.

Two of today’s choices may seem a bit out of the ordinary, as they fall in to the film and screenwriting industry category, but I have found that both are exceptional when it comes to capturing the magic of story construction and creating compelling characters.

This first book, Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting, was recommended by a successful playwright friend of mine, and I soon found that it was a great choice! McKee is a master of screenwriting, and puts on writing craft seminars (30 hours over 3 days) that command upwards of $450.

Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting was born from those seminars and many big Hollywood names — including Quincy Jones, Diane Keaton, and David Bowie – are known fans of his work. McKee, most refreshingly, doesn’t talk about making money from movies. Rather, he gets down to the basics of storytelling – crucial guidance no matter the story form or genre.

The name of the bestselling second book I like to recommend always gets a look of surprise or a chuckle from friends.Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, of course, refers to the act or behavior that makes a main character likeable and relatable (which would usually happen if he or she saved a cat!)

The author, Blake Snyder, who tragically passed away in 2009, was a great proponent of helping writers develop stories well, in screenwriting, or in any medium. Save The Cat! is chock full of tips and tricks, including Snyder’s “Mastering the 15 Beats” worksheet.

The third book, Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies, is a classic, written in 2000, and often called “the book of useable solutions” (Library Journal).

Sol Stein, the author, is a well-respected author, editor, and lecturer on the craft of writing. He is quoted as saying, “the best reading experiences defy interruption,” which in essence, should be the main goal of every author – getting the reader to open the book, dive in, and refuse to stop turning pages until the very last word. Highly recommended!

I hope you’ve found these two “best writing books” posts helpful! You can find the first one here: Best Writing Books, Part 1.

What are your go-to writing books? I’d love to hear about your favorites!

~ Laura

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