First of all: Great book. I haven’t read many of these how-to-write books but this is one of my favorites.
It’s short and to the point, discussing the what, why, how of GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict. It’s all you need to tell a good story, it’s what going to make your characters come alive and Dixon is going to tell you all about how it works.
What’s so great about it is that it’s nothing new. You’re not going to have to learn something new and difficult, or wrap your head around something you’ve never heard about. It’s definitely a familiar concept, but the way Dixon explains it will make you think.
I have two other how-to-write books that I recommend.
The first is The Fiction Writer’s Handbook: 10 Minutes Edits by Dennis Hayes. This one is even shorter than Dixon’s, and a great book for beginner writers. If you’re wondering where to start, or want to know about a few things to be aware of, I’d recommend you start with this one.
Then I’d suggest this one here, by Debra Dixon. Like I mentioned above, it’s very simple and to the point, but carries a very powerful message. You’re going to learn things and it’s not going to be difficult to pick up on. Also, I’d be willing to bet that the payoff is huge. It’s going to change how you think about your characters.
The third and last one is On Writing by Stephen King. It probably helps being a King fan if you’re diving into this one, because the first half is a biography and King is known for droning on (and on, and on). The second half however is about writing, and King has done a lot of it. You don’t have to like him to understand that he’s been very successful and he’s written much and widely. He shares some of what (in his opinion) works and doesn’t work, and you’ll probably be left with a few things to think about.
Do you have any self-help books for writers to recommend?