A toolbox recommendation:
Why? Because he lays it out like it is; because he’s done it and sharing the insights gleaned; because we need to know.
What? Yes, we need to know: our story will not be the only one in the history of the world to be the greatest thing and biggest seller since the bible; our story needs a frontage and backstage that advise the browser who won’t like it AND the person who might AND can’t afford to lose the person who will. Buy it, that is. Your presentation of cover and blurb are the first thing a hunting reader will see – and if it doesn’t press the buttons they want pressed, they continue their grazing elsewhere – and you’re toast.
Who? The people out there who are making money from their writing (small or large, but money) are the people who put stuff out on a regular basis. They keep writing and publishing (good stuff, well edited, well structured, etc.) – that means at least 3 (and if you want Amazon nouse, make that 4) publications each year. Yes, each year. Be a writer. Write. Publish. Write another one. Publish. Get your product to the right market (oh, yes, know what your market is, please). And do it again and again and again. If you want to be a ‘name’ you must have a trail of things with your name on them.
Blake Snyder (Save the Cat)
Buy the book. Read it. Smile. Read it again – and this time do a practice run with something, and again and again and again – until you understand the process. Then …
Why? Because he can help you learn the absolute necessities of the ‘what to put where and why’ and quite a bit more. If you don’t know what a plot point is, or why you need one, or the difference between an inciting incident and a hook, read his books – then read them again.
There’s also ‘Story’ by Robert McKee if you’re feeling up to it (you can do the cheat’s version and just read the words in bold and when you feel an interest, read deeper).
And last (probably should be first) is Syd Field. Yes, the books are about film, but story is story, and if you understand the basics of what a story is, and how an audience is most likely to react to how a story is told, shouldn’t you know it?
One of the things that should be considered as the most important issue for a writer: It is a skilled craft, and if you were a musician (they only have 12 notes to learn) you’d be expected to put in a lot of years and study before you’d be good enough to compose your own stuff. Writing (good writing) is harder, more work, and more elements need to be considered.
If you’re a writer, keep your skills up to date, keep learning – and help others learn. It’s the LORE.