My Best Fiction Writing Resources

As a writer, I adore reading, and that extends to books on the craft of fiction writing. I’ve got an entire shelf of books I’ve amassed over the years. Today, I’d like to share with you more about the two I’ve found to be my best resources.

Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain  If you follow my blog, you’ll know I refer to this book frequently. I serve as a judge for various writing contests each year, and I often refer to this book in my comments. Bar none, this is the best book I’ve found on the craft of writing. 

Author Dwight Swain, in my opinion, essentially quantifies, to a degree, the process of this thing we call story. Gems like the significant detail, showing, not telling, to the concept of Motivation/Reaction units, are worth reading, re-reading, and reading again. 

I attended the Romantic Times convention in Pittsburgh a number of years ago. In one of the workshops, science fiction and paranormal romance author Linnea Sinclair referred to the book and I bought a copy soon after. I remember her saying, numerous times, Swain says that ‘readers read to experience tension.’ He addresses this and a whole lot more. A must read. I now have it in Kindle format so I can search it if I’m on the go, on any of my devices.

Favorite quote: “So buckle down and forge yourself a kit of techniques out of the iron of your own copy.”

Click here to read more about Swain’s many achievements. He is a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame

OutliningYour Novel – Map Your Way to Success by K.M. Weiland, award winning author and blogger. Another must read, Weiland redefines the process for, and the purpose of, an outline. Rather than seeing it as boxing oneself in, rather, it has the opposite effect: it sets you free. Instead of writing yourself into a corner after fifty pages (which Weiland admits to doing, not once, but twice) an outline gives you control, and saves time: every time you sit down to write, you will know what you should write next, ensuring your story success. However, the outline is flexible; it serves you, not the other way around.

Weiland provides dozens of planning tools, ideas, questions and methods for working the story, backward and forward. I bought this book when I started my second novel and it was quickly becoming a tiger by the tail. With the aid of this book, and Scrivener, I’m excited about planning my stories. Now, I know I’m doing myself a disservice not to plan the story – not every detail, mind you, because that wouldn’t be any fun. Instead, I start with a solid foundation for my plot, my characters, my settings, and so on. This way, I know I can get not only get from point A to point B, but deliver a total experience for my reader. And yes, I’ve got this in Kindle format so I can have access to it at all times on all of my devices.

Favorite quote: [Writing] is “…like a deck of cards, and every writer shuffles it a little differently.”

Click to read more about my take on ‘show don’t tell’ & writing characters in a series.

Let me hear from you – what are the best fiction resources you’ve found?


Rebecca E. Neely is an author, freelance writer, lover of spoon rings, diners, the Steelers & great reads.

Thanks for reading! Love to hear your thoughts.

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