3 Resources You Need to Write a Readable Novel

“Most people have no idea of the gigantic capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives.” —Anthony Robbins

by dave
by dave

We could drown in all the resources available to improve the writing of our novels. But we can develop three general resources that will make a big difference in the writing and readability of our books.

Resource 1: A General Writing Method from Start to End

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We have many great writing methods to choose and study from. When I tried to incorporate several, I became overwhelmed. And sometimes confused.

I think it’s best to choose one method that fits your style and study that one method. I went with My Book Therapy’s take on the 3-Act Structure. You can find other great ones, such as Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method.

I joined the people at My Book Therapy online, attended one of their week-long workshops, and purchased their manuals. I sit in on their sessions at writers’ conferences. I feel like I’m getting a good grasp of the concepts.

Of course, I learn from many varied resources, but I have my foundation in one method.

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  • Find one general writing method that fits you and study it. click to tweet

Resource 2: Teachings from Writing Experts That Will Take You Deeper

by kumarnm
by kumarnm

Once you’ve chosen a foundation method, you’ll want to go deeper.

I learned the following concepts from My Book Therapy, but going deeper has helped me round out the concepts. These spoke to me the most.

• For the hook and the inciting incident: Hooked by Les Edgerton
• For techniques and strategies: Stein on Writing by Sol Stein
• For elements characters must possess: Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon
• For methods to get inside main characters: Rivet Your Reader with Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson (See my Deep Point of View post.)

You can find many more recommended resources if you join writers groups.

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  • Once you’re comfortable with the elements of writing, go deeper. click to tweet

Resource 3: Your Arsenal of Quick References

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The reference sources below have been recommended repeatedly in various venues. I use them for most of my questions. Besides a click-away dictionary and thesaurus, I also have lists I’ve found online. For example, long lists of alternate words for the act of walking, pulling, etc. Lists of clichés to avoid or re-mold.

The Chicago Manual of Style put out by The University of Chicago Press. Used by many editors. I got the online version.
Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty.
Polishing the “Pugs” by Kathy Ide. Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling.
Flip Dictionary by Barbara Ann Kipfer “When you know what you want to say but can’t think of the word.”
The Positive Traits Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi.
The Negative Traits Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi.
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and David King.

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  • Build an arsenal of online or paper copy references to keep at your fingertips. click to tweet

What are the writing resources you go back to time and again?