A Writing Reference Book that Every Writer Should Own

I recently grabbed a book off the writing reference shelf at the bookstore and didn’t realize what I had until I got home and read it. It is one of the most helpful writing reference books I have ever come across. It has improved my writing perhaps more than any other writing book I own.

Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer can Afford to Ignore by Elizabeth Lyon should be on your bookshelf. Not only should you buy it, you should read it, highlight it, and take notes. It’s packed full of helpful tips, tricks, and exercise that will improve you writing.

Back cover description: “From the first chapter to the last, Manuscript Makeover will show you how to revise and rewrite for a cohesive and consistent story line, strong and memorable characters, and a distinctive style. With this indispensable guide, you can create compelling stories that attract literary agents, editors, and publishers, as you learn how to: Create stand-out style, from accessing your authentic voice to applying techniques of “wordsmithing” that transform your prose, Rewrite characterization for dimensionality, universal need, and theme, Adjust your prose to match the style and structure of your chosen genres, Correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style, Strengthen story beginnings and endings, Increase plot stakes, create movement, and adjust pace for maximum suspense. In addition, Manuscript Makeover will teach you how to write and revise a knock-out query letter and a killer synopsis to sell your work.”

This is a book I highly recommended. What about you? What are some of your favorite writing books? I’d love to know.

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12 thoughts on “A Writing Reference Book that Every Writer Should Own

  1. Hi Amy, new follower here from over the platform-building campaign!

    Thank you very much for the recommendation, revisions are something that I think I need more improvement in so I will be checking into this one!

    A writing practitioner’s book I definitely stand by – or that has at least been very useful to me – is The 38 Most Common Fiction Mistakes (and how to avoid them) by Jack M. Bickham 🙂 it has a special spot on my bookshelf.

  2. Pingback: “…and all nature laughed in the sunshine.” « Peggy Isaacs

  3. The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists is a great book. It isn’t so much about craft, but it has some really great authors giving tips and advice about everything from writing and motivation to querying. I like to open it to a random page and read a few of the tips when I’m lacking in motivation to work on my WIP.

  4. Pingback: The Darkening Dream and other books I’ve added recently « Misprinted Pages

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