Category Archives: How-to

Group Library

How our “library” works:
Email the group and ask to borrow a title. Don’t lose it, ruin it, or keep it forever.
If a title you’re interested in isn’t listed, send an email to the group.

Writing a Novel

  • The Everything Guide to Writing a Novel by Joyce and Jim Lavene
  • “Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook”, Donald Maass
  • “Writing the Breakout Novel”, Donald Maass

Specific Aspects of Writing

  • Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark
  • The Writer’s Journey, 3rd edition, Vogler
  • Story, McKee
  • DVD – The Heroe’s Two Journeys: Storytelling Secrets for Screenwriters, Novelists, Playwrights and Fiction Writers of all kinds. Michael Hauge and Chris Vogler (recommended by Kristan Higgins)
  • Setting by Jack Bickham
  • Description by Monica Wood
  • Plot by Ansen Dibell
  • Dialogue by Lewis Turco
  • Conflict, Action & Suspense by William Noble
  • Beginnings, Middles, and Ends by Nancy Kress
  • Theme & Strategy by Ronald B. Tobias
  • Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham
  • Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain
  • Spider Spin Me a Web: Lawrence Block on Writing Fiction
  • Finding your Voice: How to put Personality into your Writing by Les Edgerton
  • Voice & Style by Johnny Payne
  • Writing the Other: A Practical Approach by Nisi Shawl & Cynthia Ward

Agents & Publishing

  • Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye by Katharine Sands
  • The Perfect Pitch by Ken Rotcop
  • The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide by Becky Levine

Style, Editing, Revising, Grammar

  • The Writer’s Portable Mentor – Priscilla Long
  • The Grammar Bible by Michael Strumpe and Auriel Douglas
  • The Art of Styling Sentences by Anne Longknife and K.D. Sullivan
  • How to Write a Sentence by Stanley Fish
  • Getting the Words Right by Theodore A. Rees Cheney
  • The Elements of Style by Strunk and White
  • It was the best of sentences, it was the worst of sentences by June Casagrande

Being a Writer and Writing in General

  • Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
  • On Being a Writer edited by Bill Strickland
  • The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
  • On Writing – Stephen King



  • Talking about Detective Fiction by P.D. James
  • How to Write Killer Fiction by Carolyn Wheat
  • Cause of Death: a writer’s guide to death, murder and forensic medicine, Keith D. Wilson, M.D.
  • Howdunit: How crimes are committed and solved, ed. By John Boertlein
  • What Cops Know by Connie Fletcher
  • Scene of the Crime: A writer’s Guide to Crime-Scene Investigations by Anne Wingate
  • Police Procedural: A writer’s Guide to the Police and how they work by Russell Bintliff


  • Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Field


  • Comedy Writing Secrets, 2nd edition, Helitzer

Short Fiction

  • Creating Short Fiction, Damon Knight
  • Flash Fiction by Michael Wilson
  • Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular


  • Market or Die: Integrated Marketing Plan Advice for Writers, Fusco


  • The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines: 16 Master Archetypes, Cowden, LaFever, Viders
  • Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
  • Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood
  • What Your Birthday Reveals About You: 366 days of Astonishingly Accurate Revelations about your future, your secrets and your strengths, P. Vega (helpful tool in character building)

Sex, Magic and other topics

  • Wicca, A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner, Cunningham (contains author’s Book of Shadows)

Header photo: Ithaca, NY courtesy of Paul Joran

Updated April 30, 2019