These books have helped me more than any other books on writing:
Self-Editing For Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King
If you are a new writer, this book is for you. It will shave months, even years, off of your learning period. And nip any bad habits in the bud. It gave me the kick in the butt I needed when I started out.
Self-Editing For Fiction Writers
Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
Flat out the best book on novel writing I’ve ever come across. Immediately after reading this book, I sat down and outlined my second novel Like I’ve Never Been Born. With Bell’s guidance fresh on my mind, I wrote a 50K first draft in only three months. His idea of “doorways” was particularly helpful, and really sticks out in my mind still. What thrusts the lead character out of his ordinary life, and into one of confrontation/conflict? That is the first doorway that leads to the whole middle of the book. The second doorway sends the lead character toward the “knockout ending” and the story’s resolution. Good stuff.
Plot & Structure
No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty
Write a novel in 30 days! Very inspiring, and funny too. His notion of giving yourself a deadline is what really sticks in my mind (and, basically, is the whole concept of the 30 day novel). 50K words in 30 days breaks down to approximately 1,600+K words a day. Hard to do when you work full time. I cut it in third and wrote the 50K in 90 days—still fast. You just have to write every day and not give yourself any excuses. I was able to write 500-600 words a day and still get everything else I needed to do accomplished.
No Plot? No Problem!