Don’t forget to put time aside for inspiration. You may not have time to read a book on the craft of writing NOW, but here are a few to consider ordering from your local bookstore in December:
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: a classic for good reason. Superb writing advice and inspiration. Go to Squaw Valley Writers Conference and get to hear her in person.
On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner: another classic. Still taught in every writing program in the country, I bet. Will remind you to keep your expectations realistic.
Steering the Craft by Ursula LeGuin: also a classic. Nuts and bolts lessons and exercises to improve your writing. Indispensible.
Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose: you must be able to analyze other writers’ work in order to understand how to put together a story. This book will teach you how.
The Art of Subtext by Charles Baxter: one of The Art Of series, this one is particularly good at teaching you about weaving overtones and undertones into your fiction. If your story seems one-dimensional, you might want to read this.
The DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics by Dennis O’Neill: do your plots lack narrative drive? Not enough oomph? One of my professors at Hopkins recommended this book. Makes plotting crystal clear.