E.L. DRAYTON

As a writer who is working towards being a full time author, I follow the examples of Indie Authors such as Michael J. Sullivan, Garrett Robinson, Jenna Moreci, and many others I list here. I consider sharing my life experiences to be invaluable to anyone starting out or who wants to get to know me.

On my Patreon at just the $3 Silver Super Fan level you will get access to my Behind the Scenes posts, exclusive to my Patreon's. These posts contain sneak peaks at chapters in books I'm working on, character profiles, and insight on how I am able to juggle working full-time in finance, support a growing family, and write!

Your support and your dedication to reading my work as a Super Fan would mean the most and help me out too!


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PRE-PRODUCTION

SAVE THE CAT BY BLAKE SNYDER

Here's what started the phenomenon: the best seller, for over 15 years, that's been used by screenwriters around the world! Blake Snyder tells all in this fast, funny and candid look inside the movie business.

Now, I know what you must be thinking, "why he hell is Erica recommending a book about writing screenplays?" True, this is a book that is used and admired by MANY screenwriters, but the tips that Blake Snyder irons out in his comprehensive Beat Sheets are too good NOT to implement into your own novel sized book. I even went so far as to convert his Beat Sheets into a Novel Edition that uses the example of a 90K length book.

Trust me, you will want to not only read this book once, but each and every single time you start a new novel! If there is any ONE book you buy from my list of resources, I would recommend this one over all the others.


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ON WRITING BY STEPHEN KING

Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King's critically lauded, million-copy bestseller share the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

This is not your typical "how-to" book! If you're looking for a step-by-step process with all the answers to all your writer-type questions, this book won't have it. What it lacks in "how-to" knowledge, however, it makes up for in spades with a first person account on the struggles of being an amateur writer.

I like to read SK's book because it reminds me that at one point even HE was a struggling writer like me. He had struggles and was the very definition of a starving artist, but he overcame those struggles to become the world famous author he is today. Am I trying to be just like Stephen King? HECK NO! But he does give invaluable advice on the business of writing that I'd recommend to anyone.


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90 DAYS TO YOUR NOVEL BY SARAH DOMET

Whether you're writing your first novel or your third, this guide provides the coaching, the planning, and the writerly commiseration to help get your book written.

This is not your typical "how-to" book! If you're looking for a step-by-step process with all the answers to all your writer-type questions, this book won't have it. What it lacks in "how-to" knowledge, however, it makes up for in spades with a first person account on the struggles of being an amateur writer.

I like to read SK's book because it reminds me that at one point even HE was a struggling writer like me. He had struggles and was the very definition of a starving artist, but he overcame those struggles to become the world famous author he is today. Am I trying to be just like Stephen King? HECK NO! But he does give invaluable advice on the business of writing that I'd recommend to anyone.


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THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE BY STRUNK & WHITE

This book's unique tone, with and charm have conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers.

I use this as more of a reference guide throughout my process, not just during Pre-Production, but it's always a good idea to brush up on certain common language laws. What I love most about it is how compact it is. I actually own two copies; one soft cover and one hard cover.

Aside from the Big Blue Book, which is, as its title states, BIG, I prefer this book because it literally gives you the basics of how-to with writing. We all know there are rules, some of us even know what those rules of writing are. Unfortunately, and I fall under this category, many of us don't know with 100% confidence, how to implement these rules into our own writing. Look no further than this book. Read it cover to cover (it's only 85 pages!) multiple times a year and you should see improvement.


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CRAFTING NOVELS & SHORT STORIES BY WRITER'S DIGEST

The complete guide to writing great fiction.

Everything you need to tell a compelling work of fiction in both long form (novel) and short form (short story) is in this book. From characters, to outlining, world building and everything in between, this book has it all and what I like best is how easy it is to understand and follow.

If you're like me and you like having a definitive book that will help you put together the bare bones to make your story idea come alive onto the page, this book would be a great addition to your library.


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THE FIRST FIVE PAGES BY NOAH LUKEMAN

If you're tired of rejection, this is the book for you.

Whether you are a novice writer or a veteran who has already had your work published, rejection is often a frustrating reality. Literary agents and editors receive and reject hundreds of manuscripts each month. While it's the job of these publishing professionals to be discriminating, it's the job of the writer to produce a manuscript that immediately stands out among the vast competition.


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STRUCTURING YOUR NOVEL BOXED SET BY K.M. WEILAND

Is structure the hidden foundation for all successful stories?

Why do some stories work and others don’t? The answer is structure. In this IPPY and NIEA-Award winning guide from the author of the bestselling Outlining Your Novel, you will learn the universal underpinnings that guarantee powerful plot and character arcs. An understanding of proper story and scene structure will show you how to perfectly time your story’s major events and will provide you with an unerring standard against which to evaluate your novel’s pacing and progression. Structuring Your Novel will show you:

  • How to determine the best techniques for empowering your unique and personal vision for your story.
  • How to identify common structural weaknesses and flip them around into stunning strengths.
  • How to eliminate saggy middles by discovering your “centerpiece.”
  • Why you should NEVER include conflict in every scene.
  • How to discover the questions you don’t want readers asking about your plot—and then how to get them to ask the right questions.

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OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL BY K.M. WEILAND

Let outlines help you write a better book.

Writers often look upon outlines with fear and trembling. But when properly understood and correctly wielded, the outline is one of the most powerful weapons in a writer’s arsenal. Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success will:

  • Help you choose the right type of outline for you
  • Guide you in brainstorming plot ideas
  • Aid you in discovering your characters
  • Show you how to structure your scenes
  • Explain how to format your finished outline
  • Instruct you in how to use your outline
  • Reveal the benefits:
    • Ensures cohesion and balance
    • Prevents dead-end ideas
    • Provides foreshadowing
    • Offers assurance and motivation
  • Dispel misconceptions:
    • Requires formal formatting
    • Limits creativity
    • Robs the joy of discovery
    • Takes too much time

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STORY

THE ANATOMY OF STORY BY JOHN TRUBY

Let outlines help you write a better book.

I know what you're thinking. In my list this is yet another book that is written for screenwriters, so what is it doing on my list of resources? It turns out, a lot of the processes most screenwriter's go through are very similar to novelists. A lot of my process comes from screenwriters, so you'll see some books that clearly are for them by their title or description. That isn't to say their methods can't help you. Try it and see. Whatever gets more words on the page right?

John Truby is one of the most respected and sought-after story consultants in the film industry, and his students have gone on to pen some of Hollywood's most successful films, including Sleepless in Seattle, Scream, and Shrek. The Anatomy of Story is his long-awaited first book, and it shares all his secrets for writing a compelling script. Based on the lessons in his award-winning class, Great Screenwriting, The Anatomy of Story draws on a broad range of philosophy and mythology, offering fresh techniques and insightful anecdotes alongside Truby's own unique approach to building an effective, multifaceted narrative.


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THE SECRETS OF STORY BY MATT BIRD

Innovative tools for perfecting your fiction and captivating readers.

The Secrets of Story provides comprehensive, audience-focused strategies for becoming a master storyteller. Armed with the Ultimate Story Checklist, you can improve every aspect of your fiction writing with incisive questions like these:

  • Concept: Is the one-sentence description of your story uniquely appealing?
  • Character: Can your audience identify with your hero?
  • Structure and Plot: Is your story ruled by human nature?
  • Scene Work: Does each scene advance the plot and reveal character through emotional reactions?
  • Dialogue: Is your characters' dialogue infused with distinct personality traits and speech patterns based on their lives and backgrounds?
  • Tone: Are you subtly setting, resetting, and upsetting expectations?
  • Theme: Are you using multiple ironies throughout the story to create meaning?

To succeed in the world of fiction and film, you have to work on every aspect of your craft and satisfy your audience. Do both--and so much more--with The Secrets of Story.


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PLOT PERFECT BY PAULA MUNIER

Build unforgettable stories.

Build an Exceptional Plot, One Scene at a Time!

Think of your favorite story--the one that kept you turning pages late into the night, the one with a plot so compelling, so multilayered, so perfect that you couldn't put it down. How can you make your own plots--in your novels, short stories, memoirs, or screenplays--just as irresistible?

Plot Perfect provides the answer. This one-of-a-kind plotting primer reveals the secrets of creating a story structure that works--no matter what your genre. It gives you the strategies you need to build a scene-by-scene blueprint that will help elevate your fiction and earn the attention of agents and editors.

Inside, literary agent, editor, and author Paula Munier shows you how to:

  • Devise powerful plots and subplots and weave them together seamlessly
  • Organize your scenes for the greatest impact
  • Develop captivating protagonists, worthy antagonists, and engaging secondary characters
  • Use dialogue, setting, tone, and voice to enhance your plot
  • Layer, refine, and polish your storyline
  • Define your story in terms of its theme

Filled with writing exercises, plotting templates, and expert advice, Plot Perfect helps you dive into the intricacies of plot--and write a compelling story that readers won't be able to resist.


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CREATING CHARACTER ARCS BY K.M. WEILAND

The Masterful Author's Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development.

Build an Exceptional Plot, One Scene at a Time!

By applying the foundation of the Three-Act Story Structure and then delving even deeper into the psychology of realistic and dynamic human change, Weiland offers a beat-by-beat checklist of character arc guidelines that flexes to fit any type of story.

This comprehensive book will teach you:

  • How to determine which arc—positive, negative, or flat—is right for your character.
  • Why you should NEVER pit plot against character. Instead, learn how to blend story structure and character development.
  • How to recognize and avoid the worst pitfalls of writing novels without character arcs.
  • How to hack the secret to using overarching character arcs to create amazing trilogies and series.
  • And much more!

Gaining an understanding of how to write character arcs is a game-changing moment in any author’s pursuit of the craft.


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CRAFTING DYNAMIC DIALOGUE BY WRITER'S DIGEST

The Complete Guide to Speaking, Conversing, Arguing, and Thinking in Fiction.

This book is a comprehensive guide to writing compelling dialogue that rings true. Each section is packed with advice and instruction from best-selling authors and instructors like Nancy Kress, Elizabeth Sims, Steven James, Deborah Halverson, James Scott Bell, Donald Maass, Cheryl St. John, and many others. They'll show you how to:

  • Bend the rules to create a specific effect
  • Understand the role of dialogue in reader engagement
  • Use dialect and jargon effectively
  • Give every character a believable, unique voice
  • Set the pace and tone
  • Reveal specific character background details
  • Generate tension and suspense
  • Utilize internal dialogue

Whether you're writing flash fiction, a short story, or a novel-length manuscript, Crafting Dynamic Dialogue will help you develop, write, and refine dialogue to keep your readers hooked.


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POST-PRODUCTION

THE BLUE BOOK BY JANE STRAUS

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation is a concise, entertaining workbook and guide to English grammar, punctuation, and usage.

I can be the first one to admit that my grammar and punctuation usage SUCKS! No, really, it's bad. I call all my Rough Drafts "Vomit Drafts" because of the quality I manage to regurgitate onto the page when I am writing. This is not something to be ashamed of, especially, since no one churns out 100% perfect writing their first time. Actually, I'd wager to say, no one does, EVER. The first time you write its expected to be crap that you make better. So don't sweat it, cause this book is here to help!

I use this book when I am in my self-editing phase to help me figure out how to make my sentences sound better to my ear. So, whether you use this book before, during or after you've finished your manuscript, this book can help you learn from your many mistakes. And who knows, maybe after a while you'll find yourself using this book less? Now, wouldn't that be nice...


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SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS BY BROWNE & KING

The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation is a concise, entertaining workbook and guide to English grammar, punctuation, and usage.

I can be the first one to admit that my grammar and punctuation usage SUCKS! No, really, it's bad. I call all my Rough Drafts "Vomit Drafts" because of the quality I manage to regurgitate onto the page when I am writing. This is not something to be ashamed of, especially, since no one churns out 100% perfect writing their first time. Actually, I'd wager to say, no one does, EVER. The first time you write its expected to be crap that you make better. So don't sweat it, cause this book is here to help!

I use this book when I am in my self-editing phase to help me figure out how to make my sentences sound better to my ear. So, whether you use this book before, during or after you've finished your manuscript, this book can help you learn from your many mistakes. And who knows, maybe after a while you'll find yourself using this book less? Now, wouldn't that be nice...


Buy on Amazon