What goes into a story, beyond the platitudes of “there must be a beginning, middle, and end,” or “there must be a protagonist with a goal and obstacles to overcome”? How do I revise without going in circles? And, most importantly, how do I improve as a writer?
If you want to know the answers to these questions, read a how-to book. Most how-to books are trash, but a few are very helpful. They won’t make you a genius, but they will help you develop a level of basic competency in your work. In other words, they’ll ensure that you don’t spend all your time flailing around in confusion and frustration, relying more on luck than anything else.
This post introduces you to my favorite three “craft texts” (in no particular order), plus a bunch of honorable mentions (some of which I’ve read and some of which I haven’t). This is not a complete list. Nor do I pretend to be an expert. Anyone who knows me knows it’s a bit rich that I’m giving out writing advice. But, at the risk of coming off as a braggart, I thought I’d share my ~tiny grains of knowledge~.