Christmas Ideas for Writers & Book Lovers (Vol. 1)

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My big message this holiday season has been simply to support writers and bookstores by buying new books as gifts and asking for new books as gifts for yourself. This is not the easiest thing to do. You must find what specifically what people want (or at least categories they enjoy), and then you must tell people some details about what you want to get. If you need ideas, I would like to suggest some good books for you. Some are WD books, most are not; some are about writing; some are just great titles. I hope you find something you like! More volumes coming soon.

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2011 Guide to Literary Agents (WD Books, 2010)

Of course I had to include the 2011 GLA. I'm still excited about my baby even though it came out 4 months ago. It lists all the agents everywhere and you can search agencies by whatever category or genre you're writing. The book has helped tons of writers in their careers and I even listed eight success stories in a recent post. Well here are three more brand new success stories of writers who got their rep through GLA! Buy it here.

  • "I'm smiling as I type this, because I actually got my agent via the Guide to Literary Agents. I certainly never dreamed that I'd tell my [success] story in the same publication!" - Karen Dionne, author of the successful thrillers Freezing Point and Boiling Point.
  • "Just signed with literary agent Chip MacGregor and I came upon him through the Guide to Literary Agents. If not for GLA, I’d probably still be looking." - Les Edgerton, author of 10+ books, including Hooked (see more below).
  • "I'd definitely be interested in guest posting -- especially since I
    found my literary agent through the Guide to Literary Agents!" - Heather Newton, author of the literary novel Under the Mercy Trees.


The Tiger (Knopf, narrative nonfiction, 2010)

This is a great true story about a team of men trying to find a man-eating tiger in eastern Russia in the 90s. It's a wonderful example of just plain great writing. The book is not exactly plot-heavy, but it keeps you hooked because it delves into present-day Russia, the history of tigers, the history of the taiga (the land and the forest), the history of hunting tigers for their pelts, and more. Narrative nonfiction at its best, and an Amazon "best book of the month" in 2010. Buy it here.

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Hooked (WD Books, 2007)

When trying to capture the attention of agents, editor and readers, those first few pages are so very important. You must pull a reader into your story. They can't be completely confused, but they must be intrigued enough to enjoy the reading experience, but also a little confused so they will read forward to have their questions answered. That's why Les Edgerton's Hooked sells so well. It's a great book to help you start your story right. Buy it here.

Rats Saw God (Simon Pulse, young adult, 2007)

This is the book that got me into young adult fiction. It seems like almost all the young adult fiction that succeeds today has a paranormal element -- vampires mostly. This book is a straight contemporary story, which is very, very difficult to do well and entertain from the first page to the last. But this one does. The writing is just that good. I remember finishing this story on a plane, setting the book down, and realizing I will never write a book this good in my life. It's incredible. The author, Rob Thomas, moved on to Hollywood and created "Veronica Mars." Buy it here.

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Save the Cat (MW Books, 2005)

This is by far my favorite book on writing that was not created by us at WD. Written by screenwriter Blake Snyder, this is a book that breaks down structure and plot and a story's three acts. He talks about hitting beats in a story, raising the stakes, and other simple-yet-important things. This is a rare book that has sold more copies every year than the year before (for five years -- an amazing feat!) -- and that's because word keeps getting round that this is a great title. It even spawned at least two sequels! Buy it here.

Alive (Harper, narrative nonfiction, latest edition 2005)

This is the original book about the Uruguayan rugby team that crashed in the Andes and spent 70 days there. I didn't really enjoy the 1993 movie, so I was skeptical about this book. That said, this is an amazing story. It's really a timeless true story about survival, adventure, guts, hope, and, surprisingly, faith. It's an amazing story about how these survivors adapted to their horrible conditions and got out of the mountains alive. It stands the test of time. Buy it here.

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Kentucky’s Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson discusses how each project has its own process and the difference between writing fiction and her new memoir, Perfect Black.

From Script

Approaching Comedy from a Personal Perspective and Tapping into Your Unique Writer’s Voice (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, interviews with masters of comedy, screenwriter Tim Long ('The Simpsons') and writer-director Dan Mazer (Borat Subsequent Movie) about their collaboration on their film 'The Exchange', and filmmaker Trent O’Donnell on his new film 'Ride the Eagle' co-written with actor Jake Johnson ('New Girl'). Plus, tips on how to tap into your unique voice and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not accepting feedback on your writing.

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Here are the top creativity websites as identified in the 23rd Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Proest Dalgron: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn proest dalgron, a Welsh quatrain form.

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

In this post, we look at what a palindrome is when it comes to writing, including several examples of palindromes.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's time to set a trap.

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

5 Ways to Add a Refrain to Your Picture Books (and Why You Should)

Children's author Christine Evans shares how repetition is good for growing readers and gives you the tools to write your story's perfect refrain.

From Our Readers

Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World: From Our Readers (Comment for a Chance at Publication)

This post announces our latest From Our Readers ask: Describe the First Time a Book Transported You to Another/Magical World. Comment for a chance at publication in a future issue of Writer's Digest.