This summer I have been reading resources on how to improve my writing. Even if you are an avid reader, understanding exactly why you liked something much less how to duplicate that in your own writing can be really hard. There are lots of resources out there but a few have been recommended to me.
Donald Maass “The Emotional Craft of Fiction” and “Writing the Breakout Novel” and Matt Bird‘s “The Secrets of Story.” Maass is the head of a large and successful literary agency. He also runs workshops around the country for writers who want to improve their craft. The workbook version of “Writing the Breakout Novel” got me unstuck in my writing this summer. After reading the first two chapters I had to put it down and apply the exercises to the novel I’m working on now!
Matt Bird is a screenwriter but his advice and suggestions are easily applicable to writing novels, fiction or non fiction. Connecting emotionally with the reader is the central theme. He also tells and shows you how to do that in clear terms. He also has a blog called Cockeyed Caravan where many of his suggestions appear.