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Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass Publisher: Writer's Digest Books

A breakout novel is one that rises out if its category - such as literary fiction, mystery, romance, or thriller - and hits the bestseller charts. Maass explains the elements that all breakout novels share and shows readers how to use these elements to write a novel that has a good chance of succeeding in a crowded marketplace. They'll learn to: - Create a powerful and sweeping sense of time and place - Develop larger-than-life characters - Sustain a high degree of narrative tension from start to finish - Weave sub-plots into the main action - Explore universal themes that will interest a large audience.

Character & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card Publisher: Writer's Digest Books

This book is a set of tools: literary crowbars, chisels, mallets, pliers and tongs. Use them to pry, chip, yank and sift good characters out of the place where you live in your memory, your imagination and your soul.

Description by Monica Wood Publisher: Writer's Digest Books

Description is most powerful when it's visible, aural, tactile. Make your descriptions fresh and they'll move your story forward, imbue your work with atmosphere, create that tang of feeling that editors cry for and readers crave.

Monica Wood helps you squeeze the greatest flavor from the language. She segments description like an orange, separating its slices to let you sample each one.

On Writing by Stephen KingPublisher: Simon & Schuster
In this master class on the craft of writing, Stephen King reveals the origins of his vocation and shares essential habits and rules that every writer can apply. A truly unique volume, it begins with a series of telling memories from youth and the struggling years leading up to publication of King's first novel. Offering readers a fresh and often funny perspective on the formation of a writer's character, King lays out the tools of writer's craft and takes the reader through aspects of the writer's art and life, offering practical and inspiring advice on everything from plot and character to work habits and rejection. Brilliantly structured and chock-full of master's experience and advice, On Writing will enable the work of writers around the globe.

Reading People by Jo-Ellan Dimitrius and Mark Mazzarella Publisher: Random House

While not a writing book per se, it does give insight into understanding people based on outward appearance, that can help to create realistic characters.  Of particular use are the two appendices: A: Physical Traits and What They Reveal and B: Body Language and What it Reveals. 

The Elements of Style by Strunk and WhitePublisher: Pearson Allyn & Bacon

Asserting that one must first know the rules to break them, this classic reference book is a must-have for any student and conscientious writer. Intended for use in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature, it gives in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style and concentrates attention on the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.
 

First Five Pages by Noah T. Lukeman Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Editors always tell novice writers that the first few pages of a manuscript are crucial in the publishing process -- and it's true. If an editor or agent (or reader) loses interest after a page or two, you've lost him or her completely, even if the middle of your novel is brilliant and the ending phenomenal. Noah Lukeman, an agent in Manhattan, has taken this advice and created a book that examines just what this means

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