Are you going to participate in National Novel Writing Month? Now is a good time to pick up some new writing books or dust off some old favorites to have on hand.
Over the years I have found a few writing books that I find I go back to again and again, like old friends. I’d like to share them here. Although I recommend some that are for writing for or by children, all of these books contain information helpful for the craft of writing in general.
Any of Natalie Goldberg’s books for writers are wise and wonderful. Her highly personal style is particularly good for people interested in creating a memoir. She’s also an excellent resource if you have writer’s block and/or need encouragement or inspiration. Two examples are: Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within and Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer’s Craft.
Stephen King’s On Writing is a real bargain. Even if you don’t enjoy his genre or condone his lifestyle, the meat of his advice about writing is definitely worth much more than you’ll pay for his book.
You might wonder why I have included The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson, since it is about how the English language came about. I think that if you understand the language and how it works, you can use it more effectively. Plus Bryson is a compelling writer himself and it is worth studying his style.
Anastasia Suen is a prolific author who also teaches online courses on writing for children. Her book, Picture Writing, is based on a lot of experience and knowledge. Writers of all levels and genres can benefit from her insights. (Now, if she would just write a book on how she manages her time and her organizational system, because she manages to accomplish a superhuman amount!)
Instead of teaching adults how to write for children, Ralph Fletcher writes books to help children and young adult’s learn the craft. Two examples of his many titles are How Writers Work: Finding a Process That Works for You and Poetry Matters. I like his books because his passion shows through. They are good because they are quick to read and to the point.
Finally, I found The Novel by James A. Michener a fascinating glimpse of his writing world. Although from another time, and overlaid with a thin layer of fiction, it still speaks to a number of issues a writer faces.
Hope you find something useful in this list. I would love to hear what books you turn to when writing.
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