Workshops and retreats are a great way to learn, but when you can’t afford them, look to these outstanding books on the craft of writing:
Emotion Thesaurus Series: A vast thesaurus on everything from emotions, wounds, negative character traits, positive characters traits, urban settings, rural settings, emotional amplifiers, and so much more.
The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman:
Whether you are a novice writer or a veteran who has already had your work published, rejection is often a frustrating reality. Literary agents and editors receive and reject hundreds of manuscripts each month. While it’s the job of these publishing professionals to be discriminating, it’s the job of the writer to produce a manuscript that immediately stands out among the vast competition. And those outstanding qualities, says New York literary agent Noah Lukeman, have to be apparent from the first five pages.
Red Sneaker Writers Series: William Bernhardt explains the elements that make stories work, using examples spanning from Gilgamesh to The Hunger Games. In each chapter, he introduces essential concepts in a direct and easily comprehended manner. Most importantly, Bernhardt demonstrates how you can apply these ideas to improve your own writing.
On Writing by Stephen King: A revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.
Chicago Manual of Style: This seventeenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style has been prepared with an eye toward how we find, create, and cite information that readers are as likely to access from their pockets as from a bookshelf. It offers updated guidelines on electronic workflows and publication formats, tools for PDF annotation and citation management, web accessibility standards, and effective use of metadata, abstracts, and keywords. It recognizes the needs of those who are self-publishing or following open access or Creative Commons publishing models. The citation chapters reflect the ever-expanding universe of electronic sources—including social media posts and comments, private messages, and app content—and also offer updated guidelines on such issues as DOIs, time stamps, and e-book locators.