Excerpt from official description: “Editors always tell novice writers that the first few pages of a manuscript are crucial in the publishing process -- and it's true. If an editor or agent (or reader) loses interest after a page or two, you've lost him or her completely, even if the middle of your novel is brilliant and the ending phenomenal. Noah Lukeman, an agent in Manhattan, has taken this advice and created a book that examines just what this means…”
Despite the book title, Lukeman’s advice often applies to the whole manuscript, not just the opening.
Excerpt from official description: “This classic reference is a must-have for any student or writer. In this brief handbook, Strunk identifies the principal requirements of proper American English style and concentrates on the most often violated rules of composition. Authoritative and engagingly written, this is simply the greatest book of its kind.”
This old stand-by makes it easy to look up problematic word usage, like lie vs. lay.
Excerpt from official description: “Mary Kole's candid commentary and insightful observations, as well as a collection of book excerpts and personal insights from bestselling authors and editors who specialize in the children's book market, are invaluable tools for your kidlit career.”
This recent book (published in 2012) provides great advice for children’s writers and provides many examples from contemporary fiction.
"A superb tutorial for anyone wanting to learn from pros how to polish fiction writing with panache." -- Library Journal
My copy has lots of highlighting. (And I’m using the passive voice here on purpose!)
Excerpt from official description: “How does plot influence story structure? What's the difference between plotting for commercial and literary fiction? How do you revise a plot or structure that's gone off course? With Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure, you'll discover the answers to these questions and more.”
I particularly liked chapter eleven about revision, since I spend a lot of my time on that part of the process.