My Personal MFA: Reading List

Here’s the tentative reading list for my self-inflicted MFA. I haven’t found revision books to fit my needs yet (though I’ve read dozens) so the supplemental reading will be announced before we get that far into it. Enjoy and feel free to skip ahead!

Disclaimer: There is no one, sure way to write a novel. Advice is like a candy jar, feel free to take what you want, knowing you can spit it out if it’s not to your liking. I’ll be doing the same.

Techniques Reading List:

  1. SAVE THE CAT! WRITES A NOVEL: THE LAST BOOK ON NOVEL WRITING YOU’LL EVER NEED by Jessica Brody
  2. STORY GENIUS: HOW TO USE BRAIN SCIENCE TO GO BEYOND OUTLINING AND WRITE A RIVETING NOVEL by Lisa Cron
  3. GOAL, MOTIVATION, & CONFLICT by Debra Dixon (Kindle version recommended)
  4. WRITING VIVID SETTINGS by Rayne Hall (Kindle or Audible versions recommended)
  5. THE MAGIC WORDS: WRITING GREAT BOOKS FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS by Cheryl B. Klein
  6. WRITING IRRESISTIBLE KIDLIT: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CRAFTING FICTION FOR YOUNG ADULT AND MIDDLE GRADE READERS by Mary Kole
  7. CHARACTERS, EMOTION, & VIEWPOINT: TECHNIQUES AND EXERCISES FOR CRAFTING DYNAMIC CHARACTERS AND EFFECTIVE VIEWPOINTS by Nancy Kress
  8. THE FIRE IN FICTION: PASSION, PURPOSE, AND TECHNIQUES TO MAKE YOUR NOVEL GREAT by Donald Maass
  9. WRITING WITH EMOTION, TENSION, & CONFLICT: TECHNIQUES FOR CRAFTING AN EXPRESSIVE AND COMPELLING NOVEL by Cheryl St. John
  10. THE ANATOMY OF STORY: 22 STEPS TO BECOMING A MASTER STORYTELLER by John Truby

Revision Reading List:

TBA

Novel Readings for Beginnings (Read one or all):

  1. WONDER by R.J. Palacio
  2. ECHO by Pam Munoz Ryan
  3. THE THIEF by Megan Whalen Turner
  4. THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
  5. WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead
  6. THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins

Novel Readings for Character (Read one or all):

  1. THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznick
  2. THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE by Jacqueline Kelly
  3. ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery
  4. FAR FROM THE TREE by Robin Benway
  5. MORTAL HEART by Robin LaFevers
  6. SAVVY by Ingrid Law
  7. THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Novel Readings for plot (Read one or all):

  1. HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN by J.K. Rowling
  2. A NIGHT DIVIDED by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  3. CIRCUS MIRANDUS by Cassie Beasley
  4. SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo
  5. THE SUN AND MOON, ICE AND SNOW by Jessica Day George
  6. THE WESTING GAME by Ellen Raskin
  7. WORDS ON FIRE by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Novel Readings for Setting (Read one or all):

  1. PAX by Sara Pennypacker
  2. CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi
  3. THE WILD ROBOT by Peter Brown
  4. PAPER CHAINS by Elaine Vickers
  5. AIRMAN by Eoin Colfer
  6. LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott
  7. PRINCE CASPIAN by C.S. Lewis
  8. ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS by Maggie Steifvater
  9. THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE by Heidi Heilig

Novel Readings for Theme (Read one or all):

  1. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
  2. THE OVERSTORY by Richard Powers *the only adult novel on our list
  3. CODE NAMED VERITY by Elizabeth Wein
  4. THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Kathrine Applegate
  5. CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E.B. White
  6. A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeline L’Engle
  7. GOOSE GIRL by Shannon Hale
  8. LOVELY WAR by Julie Berry

Novel Readings for Voice (Read one or all):

  1. THE FALSE PRINCE by Jennifer A. Nielsen
  2. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK by Neil Gaiman
  3. THE MAGICIAN’S ELEPHANT by Kate Dicamillo
  4. THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern
  5. THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill

What would you add? There are so many good books, it’s hard to keep the list small!

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