Creative writing is a craft. And like any craft, we learn from others, experts and forerunners in our field. We get to ride on the backs of those who've gone before, who have succeeded, and who are willing to share their secrets.
There are four books on the craft of writing that have shaped the way I approach my craft and as a result have helped me to become a better writer. I'm happy to shout out about them here.
Yes, this is a book on writing screenplays not novels, but it provides a very important tool that every novelist needs to know: how to structure your story into 3 acts. I can't emphasis how important it is to know this.
Also a book on screenwriting, but drills down a bit more on the minutiae. The BEAT SHEET is worth every penny.
Everyone who's ever written anything knows just how hard it is to get the beginning right. HOOKED gives very clear examples and insights on what to look for and how to make your beginning sizzle. It also teaches on how the beginning impacts all other aspects of the story. Definite must read.
This is a recent find. I like to call it Save the Cat on steroids. If you want to get into the nitty gritty of your work and breakdown every scene to find out what's not working and how to fix it, this is the manual you need.
There you go! I hope this inspires you to read your next book on craft!