Now most of us aren’t personal friends with writers as successful or as experienced as Stephen King, but we can still get advice from him and other successful writers through books they’ve written on the subject. So here’s a quick list of four books I’ve read that I feel are helpful to writers, and if you have any recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments!
- On Writing by Stephen King
This book is generally considered to be the writing Bible, and it’s easy to see why. For starters, it’s written by one of the most popular and commercially successful writers of our time, so naturally other writers want to read his pearls of wisdom on the subject.
It’s also just a great read in itself. As this isn’t an out-and-out manual on writing, but is also part memoir, it’s really interesting to see how King got his start, and whilst a lot of his advice is common sense, he puts it in such a simple, no-nonsense way. In fact, I wrote a post a while ago summarising some of the most useful advice from On Writing, so be sure to check that out if you’re interested!
- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book isn’t strictly about writing: it’s more about creativity in general. But seen as creativity is the key to writing, I think there’s heaps and heaps of useful nuggets of information for writers in this book, and more than anything, it’s inspiring. After reading this book, all I wanted to do was pick up a pen and write, and it really was a feel-good read (and you can see some of the quotes I found the most inspiring here).
- How To Make A Living With Your Writing by Joanna Penn
Whilst the first two books on this list have had more inspiration value than actual how-to information, Joanna Penn’s How To Make A Living With Your Writing is an incredibly practical guide on how to get into writing for a living.
This book covers everything from writing books to traditional and self-publishing options, blogging, freelance writing, marketing and even offers advice on how to organise the financial side of your writing business. If you like this book I’d also really recommend Joanna Penn’s podcast ‘The Creative Penn’, as I always feel really inspired and get tonnes of useful information it!
- The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction by Brian Stableford
So this book isn’t really useful to you unless you’re a writer of genre fiction, but if you are then it is super, super helpful! It covers everything from creating magic systems and world-building, to creating different races and writing about battles and warfare, so I’d consider this a must-read for anyone looking to write a fantasy or sci-fi novel. I haven’t found many books around that specialise in particular genres like this (and go into it with such depth), so I would really recommend this book!
So have you read any of these books? Are there any books you’d recommend for writers?