Half of the books I’ve read this year are non-fiction books, but I choose not to review them since everyone will take away something else. Today I have a selection of books on writing which I read recently. These aren’t the only ones, or the best ones, I still think they’re worth reading. Even if you’re just a fan of their fiction work, reading a book about their writing process might be of interest to you.
On Writing – Stephen King
It’s probably no surprise On Writing made this list. This book is on nearly all the recommended reading lists for writers. When you read it, you’ll know why. Stephen King shares parts of his writing journey, tips for what a great writer needs, and some life lessons. It’s inspiring to read and it feels so familiar sometimes. He had written Carrie, and he threw away the manuscript because he didn’t believe in it. Tabitha saved it and told him to keep working on it.
Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
Bird by Bird is another one that’s on most lists. This is more light-hearted than Stephen King’s, and the advice she gives is the same as she would give in her writing classes. She not only talks about the craft, but also life around it. It is filled with things you need to hear as you’re starting out. It’s no use thinking about finding a publisher or an agent when you don’t even have a finished manuscript. Figure things out as you go, at the time when it matters. It’s a short book and you can finish it in a day because of her easy-to-read writing style.
It’s All Just A Draft – Tobias S. Buckell
I backed Tobias S. Buckell’s Kickstarter for his non-fiction project It’s All Just a Draft. I don’t know if he has plans to release the ebook later, but most of what’s in there can be found on his blog as well.
Buckell shares his journey, like Stephen King, but the two are wildly different. Buckell was born in the Caribbean instead of the US, and his childhood struggles shaped him into the writer he is today. It’s inspiring to read and he has useful information about the early stages of a writing career. But don’t forget things have changed since he started out.
Damn Fine Story – Chuck Wendig
Damn Fine Story talks about storytelling in general. Chuck Wendig uses pop culture (mostly mainstream movies) references and his father’s stories to illustrate how to tell a good story. I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen Die Hard, and the book is filled with examples from the movie, but I still understood the point he was trying to make. So even if you haven’t seen the movies he mentions, it’s worth checking out. There’s a cheat sheet at the back of the book with fifty short points to remember. This is a life saver.
If you’re familiar with Wendig’s non-fiction, and don’t mind his crude language and humour, this is definitely worth reading.
Which one of these would you like to read? Do you have more recommendations for books for the aspiring writer? Leave your answers in the comments below!