The best overall source I've come across for novelists is The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, published by Writer's Digest Books.
- Book Title:
- The Complete Handbook of Novel writing
- Meg Leder
- Publish Date:
- ISBN #::
The thing that sets this series apart from many other wannabe how-to book is that the contributions come from famous authors as well as the usual writing gurus. I own two editions.
The one published in 2002 has contributions from: Margaret Atwood, Terry Brooks, Octavia E Butler, Tom Clancy, Janet Fitch, Elizabeth George, Sue Grafton, J A Jance, Gish Jen, Terry McMillan, Joyce Carol Oates, James Patterson, Richard Russo, John Updike, Kurt Vonnegut and many many more. These authors all present different approaches to problem solving, so it's not a one-size-fits-all publication. These people have experience, and it's wise to learn from experience.
The categories are: The Craft, The Art, The Process, The Genres, The Marketplace and The Interviews.
Within the categories are chapters such as these (from The Craft section): The Philosophy of Plot, The Plot Thickens, What I Stole From The Movies, The Fifty-Page Dash, Find Your Novel's Missing Links, Don't Just Conclude the Plot ...Nail the Landing, Who's Afraid of Point of View?, Creating Four-Dimensional Characters, Seven Tools for Talk. This is a very comprehensive book.
I also own an earlier version of this book, which is entitled The Writer's Digest Handbook of Novel Writing. This was published in 1992, and contains contributions from more, and different, authors. Again, a similar format and very worthwhile. I'm not sure if there are other editions out there ...maybe more recent that my 2002 copy? ...but they are well worth buying. And the best thing is, they're not expensive!
Do yourself a favour, though. Don't buy it on Kindle, because you'll want to be able to skip around. These kinds of books are murder to use on Kindle.
edited - Just checked, and yes there is a later edition, published in October, 2010. It retails on Amazon here in the UK for £16.99. (You can get it cheaper if you buy used.) Don't know what the USA price would be, but it's well worth it.