If you are like us and love books, you probably have aspirations of becoming an author.
With that in mind, we want to help our fellow aspiring writers out by compiling a little list of books we find helpful at every stage of our writing journey.
Some are long, some are short, some are essays, some are lectures, and some are compiled of bullet points. Whatever way they choose to convey their nugget of wisdom, these books are worth looking into.
On Writing – Stephen King
Though called a memoir, it is so much more than that. Sure, you’ll get to read about his writing journey, but Stevey-Boy is kind enough to share some sought after writing advice. He’s very honest about the writing process and dishes out many tidbits and tips that have stuck with us through our writing process.
It’s an incredibly easy read that doesn’t get dry like some memoirs or how-to books have a tendency to get. We promise that you will find value on every page. We sure did!
“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”(On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King)
The Art of Fiction – Ayn Rand
It’s important to note that, unlike the other books here, this is a compilation of lectures Ayn gave in her own living room (in other words, she didn’t write this). With that in mind, don’t look for writing tips here. Instead, be open to lecture-like explorations of the principles of fiction, theme, plot, and characterization (she uses examples from her own novels and other famous novels, which really helps to drive the point home). For those of you missing your school days, especially all our fellow English Majors, tuck in!
A reader has to be concerned only with the end result; unless he chooses to analyze it, he does not have to know by what means that result was achieved-but it is my job to know.(“The Art of Fiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers”, p.110, Penguin)
Everybody Writes – Ann Handley
Everybody Writes is a little different than the other books on this list. This book isn’t about writing novels or short stories, but about writing for marketing purposes, specifically online. This book is absolutely perfect for blog writers. Handley explores writing tips and tricks, examples of good and bad writing, writing social media captions, blog articles, landing pages, emails, etc.
Even if you’re not a blog writer or a marketing professional, this book can still be applied to everyday writing. The points she makes about how to tell a story, using humour, voice and tone, word use, avoiding cliches, and tips for writing better can be useful to any writer.
How will you change the world…even a little bit? How will you make it better for all of us?(“On telling your story”, Everybody Writes, Ann Handley, page 127)
The Breakout Novelist – Donald Maass
Donald Maass is a literary agent who has worked on many best selling novels and brings years of experience to this book. This book is perfect for people looking to write a novel and publish it. It’s full of writing tips, publishing tricks, and a guide on how to write a bestseller all from someone with experience making bestsellers.
Breakout novels are written from an author’s passionate need to make you understand, to expose you to something special, or to drag you somewhere that it is important for you to see.( The Breakout Novelist, Donald Maass, page 9)
Troubleshooting Your Novel – Steven James
While we can’t say we recommend this one as a get-cozy-and-make-a-cup-of-tea-and-read type of book, it does make for a great guide! We can’t count the amount of times we have picked up this book and thumbed through their its pages for writing tips and tricks. Definitely make it part of your writing toolkit!
“So here’s the philosophy I learned from [my editor] and that guided me as I worked on this book: ‘Don’t just tell me what i should do; teach me what I should ask.'”(Troubleshooting Your Novel: Essentail techniques for Identifying and Solving Manuscript Problems, Steven James)
What books have you read on writing that have inspired or helped you? We’re always looking for more books to read and would love some recommendations.