We asked Christopher and Angela to share their list of excellent tutorials dedicated to the art of plot, storytelling, world building, character development, and publishing. In addition to the following recommendations, be sure to pick up a grammar book. Random House uses the Chicago Manual of Style.
Brandon Sanderson’s Writing Course: These lectures, filmed at Brigham Young University in 2012 and 2013, offer a comprehensive guide to all aspects of writing from plotting to publishing. An invaluable tool for aspiring writers.
Characters and Viewpoints: Orson Scott Card’s book details character development and things such as the differences between first person, third person, and omniscient narratives.
The Complete Book of Scriptwriting: Despite its title, this book by J. Michael Straczynski is an excellent resource for all creative writers. It covers plot and characters, as well as techniques specific to writing scripts for film, comics, theater, and radio.
How Not to Write a Screenplay: An experienced Hollywood screenplay reader shares his advice on the most common mistakes found in amateur screenplays. Angela highly recommends this book as one of the best of its type.
How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy: Orson Scott Card delves into world building and how to bring a realistic feel to your work.
The Ode Less Travelled: A good intro to verse, and written in Stephen Fry’s inimitable style, this book is great for all writers. It really helped Christopher understand the rhyme and rhythm of language, whether poetry or prose.
On Writing: Lots of good advice shared in Stephen King’s conversational style. A more personal look at a writer’s experience and the process of writing.
The Paris Review Interviews: Over sixty years of interviews with preeminent authors offer great insight into creativity and the minds behind some of the best literary works.
Reading Like a Writer: Francine Prose outlines how to analyze things that you’re reading and then apply knowledge to your own writing.
Story: An excellent tutorial by Robert McKee on the mechanics of plot structures commonly used for commercial projects.Though Story is intended for screenwriters, Christopher found McKee’s principles and advice invaluable for structuring a novel.
Style, by F. L. Lucas, is the best book on writing Christopher has ever read. It won’t teach you how to structure a plot, but it will help you to tell a story with grace, clarity, and power.