Many people ask me about the usefulness of writing guides and I have to say I am a big fan. Why? Firstly, they're great reads; funny, wry, honest and insightful. They're also a window into the writer's mind. As our contact with other writers can be limited these books act as our companions. Secondly, they're packed full of tips and recommendations. I believe writing is as much talent as it is hard work and craft. Read some of these guides and acquire some useful tools of the trade - anything from how to write authentic dialogue to creating three-dimensional characters. They also give advice about the writing life - how to structure your time, how to get started, how to clear writer's block. Finally, they act as inspirational guides. Often, when I've fallen off the writing path, and weeks, months have gone by without a word written, I'll pick up one of my books on writing and find myself raring to get going again.
I've read all of the books below and as such personally recommend them. For more information on each book, click on the book cover. You can buy these books directly from this site. So, go on, treat yourself.
Barry Turner - The Writer's Handbook 2007.
A must for every aspiring writer who is ready send their manuscript out. A comprehensive and up to date list of all publishers and agents both in the UK and US.
Julie Cameron - The Artist's Way.
A must-do book for anyone looking to bring back the creativity into their lives. A week by week programme designed to spark
the fire within.
Christopher Vogler - The Writer's Journey.
A guide for screenwriters, playwrights and novelists - this book aims to empower the writer's command of storytelling with the ancient wisdom of myth. It's a great read and an even better tool for trouble-shooting your screenplay. You'll never watch StarWars in the same light again!
William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White - The Elements of Style.
Yikes - a book on grammar! But it's tiny and it's cheap. Absolutely essential for getting to gripes with proper punctuation. "Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It's as timeless as a book can be in our age of volubility" so says The New York Times.
Anne Bernays & Pamela Painter - What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers.
I use this book a lot. In fact it's where I get most of my good ideas from! The perfect book for writing teachers in need of a good assignment or for anyone keen on mastering the art of short stories.
Henriette Anne Klauser - Write It Down, Make It Happen.
Not so much a practical guide, more of a "actualise your grand dreams" by writing them down kinda book. Find the focus of your life through writing.
Julie Cameron - The Right to Write.
With an holistic and life encompassing approach to writing, the author explores the why to write more than the how to write.
A must for anyone who has read The Artist's Way.
Stephen King - On Writing.
A extremely easy and practical guide. Armed with advice about writing your novel, it Includes lots of common sense advice and tips from the
master of the blockbuster. It's also one of my favourite books on writing.
Anne Lamott - Bird by Bird.
A funny and wry look at writing and life. Includes hilarious advice on redrafts with a comforting angle at trying to be a writer.