I will start with my all time favorite must read don't try to write without this set of books. I will testify that this set of books had me jumping on the edge of my seat, writing non stop until I finished. I was mesmerized and almost overwhelmed with the amount of information and helpful advice and examples. I beg anyone who needs writing help to check this books out. I started with the free version, but I bought the entire as soon as I finished the free version. What books am I talking about?
Begin with the free course from HOLLY LISLE
Free Professional Plot Outline Mini-Course
A SOLID 5 STARS, double that for 10!
My 2nd review/recommendation is for author Donald Maass, THE FIRE IN FICTION:
The book begins with creative exercises that ask: "Is your protagonist an ordinary person? Find in him any kind of strength. Work out a way for that strength to be demonstrated within your protagonist's first five pages. Is your protagonist a hero--that is, someone who is already strong? Find in him something conflicted, fallible, humbling, or human. Work out a way for that flaw to be demonstrated within your protagonist's first five pages. Revise your character's introduction to your readers. Be sure to soften the flaw with self-awareness or self-deprecating humor." Examples cited include excerpts from novels by Chuck Palahuniak's "Choke" (2001); Cormac McCarthy's "The Road"(2006); Charles Frazier's "Thirteen Moons (2006); and Ethan Canin's "America America" (2008).
Chapter two keeps working on characters and the exercises keep the sparks lighted with ideas to "Find five ways and times at which your antagonist will directly engage your protagonist. Create four actions that will make your antagonist warm and sympathetic." Illustrations include excerpts from Russell Banks's "The Reserve" (2008) and Charles Baxter's "The Soul Thief" (2008).
Some of the most instructive exercises are in Chapter 8, "Tension All the Time": exercises on creating tension on every page -- in dialogue, action, exposition. But Chapter 6 is also very helpful and informative.
To be honest, I enjoyed all the exercises and the entire book was a side kick companion as I edited the very first manuscript.
A FIVE STAR rating for Donald Maass's FIRE IN FICTION