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Steering the Craft by Ursula K. Le Guin - This is a great book on writing better prose.  It has exercises at the end of the chapter for you to do to strengthen your sentence construction.  She also marks which exercises would be good for a group setting vs individual.  This is very helpful if you want to strengthen your writing skills.


The Anatomy of Story by John Trudy - This is a great book.  It helps you look at your plot through the eyes of a reader to see it's weaknesses and strengths.  He uses great modern day examples to illustrate the many points he makes about building your world, your characters, and ultimately your story.  Personally, I wish I'd read this book before I started writing mine.


The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman - I loved this book.  It takes you through common errors that can keep you from being accepted.  It's written in an entertaining manner and truly helps you identify weakness in your prose.  It also goes beyond the basic, limit your adverbs, don't overuse adjectives and discusses style, voice, character and all of those things that make a story good.  Another perk is that Noah Lukeman is a literary agent, so he does know what he's talking about.  I highly recommend this book for any writer.


Elements of Style 4th Edition by Strunk and White -  Another great book on creating better prose.  I looked through a few different editions at Borders, but this is the one that I liked the most.  It was the easiest to read while still getting the point across.  It discusses parts of speech, sentence structure, and style.


Novel Shortcuts: Ten Techniques That Ensure A Great First Draft by Laura Whitcomb--Whether you are just starting a novel or you have finished it and are doing revisions, this is a great book to have around.  It really helps you strip away the fluff and get down to the core of your novel, from which you can work back up to ensure the fluff is necessary and purposeful.  She provides techniques to get your ideas down in order to move ahead with a scene or book as a whole and helps troubleshoot and fix common problems, such as plot and characterization.  I especially loved the "shortcut to a scene" chapter.  Also she has exercises and recommended reading throughout the book.  It's really well organized and written with humour and compassion.


The Sell Your Novel Toolkit by Elizabeth Lyons--As you already know, I hate writing synopses.  This is the only book I have found, so far, that really goes into detail regarding how to write a synopsis and provides examples.  She also covers query letters in just as much depth, as well as loads of other must know information.  If you truly plan to market your book, as in getting an agent and a publisher, then you really need to read this.


The only Grammar Book You'll Ever Need by Susan Thurman- While I do have a bachelor's degree in English, it is also a very subjective language; therefore, I like to brush up on the basics and not so basics of sentence structure.  This will help you with your parts of speech as well as those pairs of confusing words like lay vs lie and sat vs set.  I enjoyed reading it and it's useful.  However, I do not believe that it will be the ONLY grammar book you'll need.


Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz - If you don't know what a platform (and if you want to make a career of writing then you need to know what a platform is) then get this book.  I honestly can't tell you how much it helped me understand the concept of a platform and how to build one, and yes if you write fiction you need a platform.  This is one of the only books I've found on platform building that really breaks down the concept and explains why all writers need a platform.  Read this book.


Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon - I really enjoyed this book.  It's a great helper in editing.  It has some prose construction but it deals more with fine tuning your manuscript and preparing it for submission.  It's a good read and damn helpful.


Stein on Writing by Sol Stein--This is an amazing book that is a must read for any writer.  It covers common pitfalls and provides answers to them.  If you can't buy it then at least check it out from you library.  You will be glad that you did.


Dynamic Characters : How to Create Personalities That Keep Readers Captivated by Nancy Kress--This book does a great job of helping you develop characters.  It also talks about how to use someone in your life without causing yourself to get sued.  She discusses how many changes you would need to make so that the character is not recognizable as anyone that you know.  She helps you delve into your characters head to build layers.  She also talks about how to use and how not to use dialect as part of characterization.


Write Great Fiction: Plot and Structure


Write Great Fiction: Revision and Self-Editing--Both of these books are by James Scott Bell--These were both great.  It really helped me look at my plot, find weak spots, and fix them.  You will read some mixed reviews that they are too similar.  I disagree.  He mentions the same items yes but in Plot and Structure he goes into depth about, well, Plot and Structure.  In Revision and Self-editing he mentions some of the same things but he goes into depth on how to revise and provides a great revision checklist.  I felt that both books had information that was valuable.


Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron--I had the pleasure of meeting Hallie Ephron at the 2010 WW conerence.  I also sat in on some of her workshops.  She gave great advice then and she does the same in this book.  If you are writing suspense then put this on your to read list, and even if you are not writing suspense you may want to read this anyway.


First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner--I liked this book, but it's not for everyone.  I am the type of person that likes to outline and have structure to my story as I'm writing.  If you are like that, then this is a good book for you.  She offers a schedule and lots of worksheets.  Essentially her motto throughout the book is that if you outline in a detailed manner then you will be able to write faster, because your outline is essentially your first draft.