From My Shelf To Yours: 5 Books on Writing

Have you ever walked into a bookstore and perused the books on writing, only to realize that you wanted to buy ALL of them? I’ve been there, and it’s actually overwhelming how much information and expertise there is available on the craft of writing.

In order to grow as writers, we need to keep learning. This is why we take courses, attend writer’s conferences, and read books in our genres. We’re hungry to know more and refine our voice and craft.

All that being said, I want to recommend a few books from my shelf that might be helpful in your writing endeavors.

1. “Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction” by Orson Scott Card, Philip Athans, and Jay Lake

This one is for the fantasy and science fiction writers. Ever wonder what kind of clothes people wore in the middle ages? What about what kind of weapons they used or magical creatures they believed in? This book is perfect for the writer working on world-building. Save yourself from opening 24 tabs in your browser, and find hours of research all compiled into the pages of a book. I love all the definitions and vocabulary provided in the book.

Currently $6.99 on the Writer’s Digest Shop!

2. “Writing Your Novel From Start to Finish” by Joseph Bates

This book is your all inclusive guide to writing a novel. If you’re looking for an overview that captures all the elements of novel writing such as character, plot, pacing, stakes, subplots, etc., this book has them all. Helpful examples, exercises, and motivational quotes will keep you going on the journey as you set new goals for yourself. This is definitely one of my go-to books when I’m stuck. It’s sort of a catch-all for any novel writing struggles.

Currently $12.99 on the Writer’s Digest Shop!

3. “Writing Deep Scenes: Plotting Your Story Through Action, Emotion, and Theme” by Martha Alderson and Jordan Rosenfeld 

This book is great if you’re looking to dive deeper into your story and characters. Scenes are the building blocks that make up your story, and this book looks at how to layer scenes with action, emotion, and theme. A special focus is given to the concept of light and shadow sides of characters’ stories. I found the author’s thoughts on incorporating these elements into the middle of a story extremely helpful.

Currently $7.99 on the Writer’s Digest Shop!

4. “Mastering Suspense, Structure, and Plot” by Jane K. Cleland

This book is all about crafting suspense into your story. The author provides a road-map for structure and how to weave suspense throughout the narrative. I especially appreciate the author’s thoughts on subplots and how to make them effective in the overall plot.

Currently $9.99 on the Writer’s Digest Shop!

5. “Writing With Emotion, Tension, and Conflict” by Cheryl St. John

This book focuses on creating emotional impact in your story. If you feel like your story is lacking that punch or connection to the reader, this is the book for you. The more you play with your characters, depriving them of what they want, the more emotion, tension, and conflict you will find both your characters and readers in. One line that has stuck with me from this book is, “…it doesn’t matter what kind of story you’re writing or who your characters are–a story is feelings.”

Currently $6.99 on the Writer’s Digest Shop!

I hope some of these books find their way onto your shelves and provide insight into your writing. Are there any other books you’ve found to be helpful for your writing craft?


Megan Burkhart (writing under the pen name Megan Lynne) is an award winning writer of both fiction and non-fiction. Her recent awards include the 1st place Tar Heel Award for her speculative fiction novel and an honorable mention in the 87th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition in the inspirational category. Megan is also a junior agent with Cyle Young Literary Elite and a freelance editor with Sherpa Editing. Find out more about her at


  1. I found the book “How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy and Science Fiction” helpful, it’s edited by J.N. Williamson and includes chapters by over twenty different well-known authors. Gives a good perspective on different sides of the speculative fiction writing process.

    Liked by 1 person

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