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Colourful Pile of Old Books

Book Recommendations

These are some of the books that have had the most profound impact on my writing life. They have helped me overcome weaknesses, and in some instances, gave me the courage to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, but you get the idea). 

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Echoes of Eden

By Jerram Barrs

I recommend this book in conversations more than almost any other. It's a great resource to reshape the way you think about the arts and why the arts are so important. If you're an artist of any kind or a Christian who questions the value of the arts, Echoes of Eden is the book for you.

Walking on Water

By Madeleine L'Engle

L'Engle touches on some of the same subject matter as Barrs, but she does so from the perspective of someone who has devoted a life to making and consuming art. She answers some of the more philosophical questions Christians often ask about the arts and their place in our lives. Walking on Water is also one of the most quotable books I've ever read.


Letters From the Mountain

Ben Palpant

Written as a letter to his writer daughter, Letters From the Mountain is Palpant's guide to a spiritually healthy and productive life spent pursuing the craft. Equal parts practical and beautiful, I jotted down quotes left and right.

In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day

Mark Batterson

In a Pit With a Lion opened me up to the idea that I was playing it safe with my dreams and goals. It will push you to prepare for those once-in-a-lifetime moments of opportunity. It led me to reexamine my calling, and I would not be teaching or pursuing my writing without its influence. 


Save the Cat!

By Blake Snyder

Writers invariably have their favorite books on story structure, and this is mine. Save the Cat! is the first that opened my mind to the principles of good story. There is a version for novels, but I would recommend the original. It's hard to watch anything without analyzing the story mechanics on some level, even subconsciously. And more analysis equals more understanding!


By Les Edgerton

Edgerton takes a practical approach with plenty of examples to illustrate how precious the space in your first pages is. The first sentence, first paragraph, first page, first chapter... each must accomplish certain things if a book is to tell a good story and hold the readers, and Hooked is the best guide to these principles.


Understanding Show, Don't Tell (And Really Getting It)

Janice Hardy

Showing versus telling was one of my greatest weaknesses in my writing, and I don't think I'm alone in that. It is a complicated issue. I didn't even realize how deep the problem ran. Read Understanding Show, Don't Tell,  and commit to practicing its wisdom. I did, and balancing showing with telling is now second nature.

Reading Like a Writer

Francine Prose

There is no way around the fact that writers must first be readers. Being a good writer means being a good reader. Reading Like a Writer is one of the best guides to cultivating what and how you read, and how to put what you learn into practice.

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