"The Emotional Craft of Fiction" by Donald Maass
I'm seriously only fifty pages in, and I couldn't wait to share this with the world. This book is incredibly insightful, structured well, and easy to follow.
I'm not usually a huge fan of self-help books, even when it comes to my writing, but I'm SO glad that the cover caught my eye at Barns and Noble. This book was an impulse buy, and it was just one of those things that, when you see it, your soul says "yes, you need this." It called to me. I did judge it at first by its cover. I love trees with spindly branches, so that was what made me look at it first.
And then the title. The characters in my works-in-progress feel a lot of different, powerful emotions, but lately (thanks to my wonderful editor), it's been pointed out that I'm having issues showing vs. telling.
In addition to useful examples from popular literary works, the author goes into detail about what is important to the reader and why, and then at the end of each section, has a bullet point list of suggestions to improve your writing. This is important to me, and really when it comes right down to it, this book has the trifecta of learning tools.
(1) What is important and why (2) Examples (3) Suggestions
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to write fiction, regardless of what level you are, or feel you are at. Even the most experienced writers can benefit from this book because the author's goal here is to help you structure your entire novel after the classic greats like Ray Bradbury and Earnest Hemingway.
I finished this book several weeks ago, and I still stand steadfastly by the raving review I gave it, but my favorite part of the entire book, is the list of "Acknowledgments" in the back. It is a list of every book that Mr. Donald Maass referenced throughout The Emotional Craft of Fiction.
This is just a reading list!! I can't wait to hit the library and get started on it! Of this list, I've read maybe five, and of those I'd re-read two or three.