What are your favorite books that have helped most in developing your craft?

StoryShop Forums Sharpening Your Craft Craft What are your favorite books that have helped most in developing your craft?

This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Kasey Kasey 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

  • Post
    Kasey
    Kasey
    Participant
    Some writers love Stephen King’s On Writing or Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces. I personally really like Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark. I’m an editor and grammar nerd so I tend to enjoy books on style and usage. I’m also looking forward to reading The Smarter Artist Locker by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant (pre-order on Amazon). What books have inspired you to be a better writer or have taught you the tools you need to further your craft?
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    Ninie Hammon
    Participant
    I’m On Writing all the way. I have a quote from it about writing every day, the one that goes: “If I don’t write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind…” printed out and stuck to my bulletin board for inspiration. Stephen King is for macro-writing, I think. For micro-writing, I like James Scott Bell’s The Last Fifty Pages and the whole Write Great Fiction series: Plot & Structure, Description & Setting, etc.
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    Kasey
    Kasey
    Participant
    That’s a great quote to have stuck to your bulletin board Ninie! I’ll have to check out your other recommendations.
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    Sophia Uhlenhoff
    Participant
    On Writing is great!

    A book that’s really helped me is The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke. It’s focused on writing engaging stories and helped me take the next step towards writing more movie-like prose.

    Another one I enjoyed is How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. It talked a lot about good genre fiction practices, such as giving the otherness of your world a price, making good villains, crafting meaningful endings, things like that.

    And then I have to include Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. This book didn’t so much improve my craft as it brought my creative mindset to a healthier place. It encouraged me to be less of a perfectionist with my writing and to sort of seek a creative lifestyle that’s true to myself, as well as gave me ideas on how to be creative and happy at the same time.

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    Kasey
    Kasey
    Participant
    I’ll put those on my list to check out Sophia. I like Orson Scott Card, but I’ve only read his fiction.
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    Philip
    Participant
    I’ve added all these books to my list. At the top is The Smarter Artist Locker, but On Writing is right after it. I’ve sadly never read any non-fiction books to help me learn the craft, but this year is all about changing that.
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    Kasey
    Kasey
    Participant
    Philip, I’m excited to read The Smarter Artist Locker. I love Sean Platt and Johnny Truant and their writing. I just downloaded it the other day, so it’s top of my list as well.
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    Will
    Participant
    Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing is an excellent read. It’s a serious of interviews that Le Guin not too long before her death about her approach to fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. But there’s also just a lot of general thoughts on writing and the industry, and it’s just very well written.

    I always hear that On Writing is great, but if I’m honest I’ve never read any of Stephen King’s other work (I know he’s great, don’t @ me). There’s a part of me that believes you get more out of a book on the craft of writing if you’re familiar with the writer’s other work. I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions to that rule–I really liked Bird by Bird, after all, and I’ve never read Lamott either. But I think I got more out of the Le Guin book than Bird by Bird.

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    Kasey
    Kasey
    Participant
    Thanks for the recommendations, Will.

    Here’s my confession… I’ve read a ton of Stephen King in my younger years, none as an adult, and I’ve never read On Writing either. I mentioned it as part of my post because I know it’s a popular one, but not because of personal experience or recommendation.

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