I also recommend the following books:
- The Writer’s Complete Fantasy Reference by the editors of Writer’s Digest – the title says it all.
- The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones – this humorous reference book, written by a well-known British fantasy author, points out a lot of clichés in fantasy stories so you know what to avoid. Peter Anspach's hilarious Evil Overlord List is also a good source for spotting clichés to avoid. The Anime Cafe's Laws of Anime is also a good "clichés to use or avoid" list if, like me, your work is inspired by Japanese animation.
- Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell – a very good book on plot; Bell also wrote a book on revision (Revision and Self-Editing).
- 20 Master Plots and How to Build Them by Ronald B. Tobias – useful if you are stuck for a plot.
- 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt – an interesting book that explores different character archetypes through mythical examples; useful for coming up with characters.
- A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers 4th ed. by Erika Lindemann – specifically targeted toward writing teachers, but has some good revision methods in it.
- Teaching Science Fact with Science Fiction by Gary Raham – useful for finding creative ways to get across science concepts using fiction.
- Any sort of grammar/mechanics handbook; typically recommended one is The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White, but most grammar/mechanics handbooks for English 100-like classes would work too. I like Writing Worth Reading: The Critical Process, which I had to get for a Writing Instruction class.
- Merriam-Webster's Pocket Rhyming Dictionary – rhyming dictionaries are useful if you write poetry.
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Good Books if You Just Want to Read
Published authors' most common advice to aspiring writers is to "read, read, read." So, I have put together a list of books I think are worth reading. This list is subjective, however, so please take that into consideration.