There are many resources for authors available to help in your writing adventures. Here a few that I personally use and recommend. Some of these are affiliate links, which help keep this website running.
This book by Julia Cameron freed me to write without guilt. If you’ve ever had doubts about whether pursuing something as creative as fiction writing is a valid use of your time and energy, this book will put your mind at ease. Ms. Cameron’s “Morning Pages” are a great way to unleash the creative side of your brain and awaken your creativity.
It seems that a book on editing should come last in the list, but Self-Editing for Fiction Writers qualifies as “how to write” material. Read it first to get your bearings, then revisit it when you are ready to polish you manuscript.
Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish
The subtitle says it all. Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell is chock full of tips and provides a strong introduction to the building blocks of a novel, covering scenes, dialogue, plot, character arc, and more.
Written by Blake Snyder with screenwriters in mind, this classic is equally useful for fiction authors of all kinds. It’s highly readable and entertaining. A read-through will give you deeper understanding of the various genres and a few tips for bringing you stories to the next level.
While The Chicago Manual of Style is the bible for grammar and the standard that most fiction editors use (and you should have a copy on your desk), sometimes finding the answer in this tome can be tricky. For a quicker route to solving most grammatical issues, check out Grammar Girl for fast, clear, and thorough answers to your grammatical conundrums.
A work as complex as a novel can become cumbersome in a standard word processing program such as Microsoft Word or Mac Pages. Scrivener from Literature and Latte manages large writing projects with ease. It is also highly customizable so you can create the writing environment you prefer. When it comes time to prepare your book for printing or publishing, you will appreciate the simplicity with which you can compile documents using Scrivener. Scrivener is available for Mac and Windows. The same organization produces Scapple mind mapping software that is useful for working out plot ideas, character interactions, and brainstorming in general.
In my opinion, Scrivener is the best writing software available; I couldn’t imagine trying to write a novel without it. I also use Scrivener to organize projects other than novels such as my Morning Pages from The Artist’s Way, social media and marketing, and general research. Seriously, it doesn’t get any more useful that this.
Writing by nature is a solitary endeavor, but you don’t need to go it alone. At some point you will want to seek out other writers to get feedback on your work and to talk shop. Each group has its own unique character, so feel free to try several to find a comfortable fit.