As a creative writer, you probably already have the determination and vision to write your great novel or short story. However, a little push in the right direction never hurts! You need to read what the experts learned as they went from unpublished to published authors. This will help you become a stronger writer or avoid the common mistakes unpublished writers make.
There are so many fantastic books on writing to check out, and you can learn something from each. Here are some of the best to add to your collection:
1. “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King
One of fiction’s most successful and well-known authors, Stephen King has written hundreds of books. What makes this book one of the best is that it is a combination of:
- Blueprint for writers, covering topics like character and plot
- Meditation on life as a writer
This combination is intricately weaved through the view of King’s near-fatal car crash, which gave him a newfound look on life.
2. “Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You” by Ray Bradbury
If you need a little more enthusiasm and cheerleading to help you write your novel, this may be the perfect book for you! Bradbury is another acclaimed author, and he imparts his wisdom and writing experience to readers. He also manages to make his excitement for writing very contagious. This book also has plenty of lessons on writing – you’ll learn practical tips and strategies for finding your voice as a writer and more.
3. “How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One” by Stanley Fish
Sometimes you just want to read about the technical aspects of writing, without the advice. If you are in this segment of writers, then this book is a great one to pick up. In this updated version of “The Elements of Style”, Fish takes things one step further with a forensic-style approach to the craft of writing, dissecting the very essence of language. He uses powerful and beautifully constructed sentences from writers like Dickens, Carroll, and Shakespeare to show readers what goes into writing masterful sentences.
4. “Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting” by Robert McKee
Are you interested in writing screenplays? In this book, Robert McKee has written what has become one of the modern screenwriter’s go-to guides. Reader learn the fundamentals of storytelling and narrative structure, in a creative and page-turning way.
5. “The War of Art: Break through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
Perhaps you’ve written a perfect novel – but the problem is the novel is stuck in your head! Maybe it’s a struggle to get started, or you’ve rewritten it more times than you care to admit. If that sounds familiar, consider Pressfield’s book on writing your boot camp. You’ll learn how to win your inner creative battle and actually produce a novel, instead of just daydreaming about doing it.
Going Beyond Reading about Writing
As an aspiring author, you should regularly read books on writing. Many of them will give you the perspective, inspiration, and real-life advice you need as you improve your own writing. To really progress, however, all writers need the same thing: feedback. As you read these books on writing and write your first drafts, consider working with a writing tutor or mentor to guide you along the way. Having a second pair of eyes on your work – someone who can provide critical feedback and personalized attention – will take you far. Every writer has a fantastic editor working behind the scenes, and starting with a writing tutor can help you get ahead of the game.
Keep writing, stay positive, and have fun!
Photo by Walt Stoneburner