Kait Nolan on the Craft (of writing, that is)

[tweetmeme source=”SharonGerlach” only_single=false service=”tinyurl.com”] One of the many pleasures I’ve had in traveling in internet social circles is meeting some fantastic, talented, supportive people. Kait Nolan is in the top ten on my list of Favorite People I’ve Met on the Internet. As today’s stop on Kait’s blog tour to promote her novella Forsaken by Shadow, I gave Kait free reign in her guest blog topic, and she choose one of my favorite subjects: the indispensable contents of a writer’s bookshelf. Here’s what she had to say.


Craft Books on my Keeper Shelf

by Kait Nolan

As a writer, my job is to tell stories and tell them well.  Part of that process, other than the straight up butt in chair, hands on keyboard practice of my craft, is making an effort to hone my craft, to learn new things, and expand my understanding of all the concepts that really make for a good story.  As such, I have a fairly packed shelf full of books on the craft of writing.  I thought I’d share the ones on my Keeper Shelf and tell you why I think they’re awesome.

On Writing: Stephen King – I may be the only writer alive who doesn’t lik e Stephen King’s novels.  It’s nothing against his books, but horror isn’t my thing.  I fully appreciate his talent as a writer, and this memoir of his about writing is one of my favorites.  It’s just one of those that makes you feel good to be a writer.

Chapter After Chapter: Heather Sellers – What I really loved about this book, which I was fortunate enough to win from a blog contest several years ago, is that it really brought home to me that writing is a long haul game.  I spend so much of my time impatient, ready to move forward, for things to happen.  And then wind up dissing myself when I fail to live up to expectations of production or immediacy.  Chapter After Chapter was great for helping me learn to pace myself and set realistic goals.

: Debra Dixon – In many ways, character is my kryptonite.  It’s the thing I’ve always had the most difficulty with as a writer.  This book breaks down goal, motivation, and conflict (both internal and external) in such a way that you’re left thinking “Oh, that’s so clear!  Why didn’t I get that before?”  It’s really helped me create much more authentic characters.Goal, Motivation & Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction

: Dwight Swain – I actually found this book quite dry, but it’s STILL on my keeper shelf because Swain does a really great breakdown of the purposes of a scene, the difference between a scene and a sequel, and the breakdown of scene construction.  It’s very basic stuff that’s essential to the composition of good fiction.Techniques of the Selling Writer

Story Structure Demystified: Larry Brooks – Anybody who follows me at all has heard me talk about this one.  I consider this my craft bible.  This is the one craft book I absolutely cannot do without.  I would have the steps from this book wallpapered in my office if I actually still used my office.  This is the book that saved me from the senseless struggle of trying to turn from pantser to plotter by showing me that what I needed was not PLOT, it was a certain STRUCTURE that is inherent to all story.  It absolutely changed my writing life and how I think about fiction.  Once you read it, structure is going to pop out at you everywhere, like neon signs pointing out plots points and pinch points and stakes.  This book saved me from the Dreaded Valley of the Shadow of the Middle, where all my books used to die on their way to the end.  A must read.

What are your favorite craft books and why? Share in comments.  I’m always looking for new ones for the collection!

*             *             *

For those who are interested, my debut paranormal romance novella Forsaken By Shadow, is available for $1 at Scribd, Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the iBookstore.  It is the first in the Mirus series.

Banished from their world with his memory wiped, Cade Shepherd doesn’t remember his life as Gage Dempsey, nor the woman he nearly died for. But when Embry Hollister’s father is kidnapped by military scientists, the only one she can turn to is the love from her past. Will Gage remember the Shadow Walker skills he learned from her father? If they survive, will Embry be able to walk away again?

Kait’s writing blog Shadow and Fang

Kait’s cooking blog Pots and Plots

Kait on Twitter

Kait on Facebook

Kait on MySpace

Kait on Goodreads


Thank you, Kait, for sharing your bookshelf, your thoughts, and your time. You’re truly a southern belle.  🙂



4 thoughts on “Kait Nolan on the Craft (of writing, that is)

  1. NL Gervasio says:

    I’m still reading SK’s On Writing. LOL Great post with some good suggestions about books on the craft. Much appreciated and I’ll have to check some of these others out.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. deniz says:

    For some reason I only read Stephen King’s On Writing last year, for the first time. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t read it before – it’s been very helpful!

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