You have to love two things to be an author: Books and writing. (I’m an advocate that writers should also love sleep deprivation and frustration, because you’ll be dealing with a lot of that too.)
Whats the only thing better than books and writing? Books ABOUT writing! I’m pretty addicted to reading books that talk about what it means to be a writer, and books that offer suggestions on how to write better.
Sometimes I read them instead of actually writing.
I’ve collected a list of my favorite books about writing, as well as some prompt and reference books. (None of this is sponsored, but if you click the cover image, you can go to Amazon and buy the book if it interests you!)
This book is not for the weak of heart- or adverb lovers. When Stephen King doesn’t like something, he really doesn’t like something, and he’s not afraid to tell you. Although this book was rough to read as a thirteen year-old, it helped me realize a lot of the mistakes I was making in my writing. (You should be ending your dialogue with “said.” No questions asked. Except if you’re writing a question. Then “asked” may be appropriate.) All of his advice should be taken with a grain of salt. (To be fair, “yelled” and “whispered” and “smirked” could work in certain situations.) But all in all, this book helped me realize that I should really not have been using as many exclamation marks as I was. Oops.
This book is split into three sections: Beginning, Middle and End. Shapiro gives us advice on each stage of writing a book. My favorite part of this book is when Shapiro includes anecdotes about her own life. It’s like reading a memoir and an advice book at once!
Writing Down The Bones
About a year ago, I was in a serious writing rut. I hadn’t sat down to work on my writing in weeks. I was swamped with school work, blogging, social engagements, and all the other things we use as excuses not to write. In short, I had become afraid of the blank page. I read this novel, and it motivated me to return to writing. Writing Down The Bones was, for me at least, more of a ‘feel good’ writing book. It reminds us to observe the people and world around us. I also started journaling again after reading this!
This was the first book on writing that I EVER read. It shaped me to become the writer I am today! I’ve read it so many times I can still remember entire passages of it. Although it’s written for a younger audience, I honestly think everyone could learn something from this book. It combines advice, anecdotes, and prompts to create a heart-warming guide for writers.
Nano What Now?
I read this book right after winning NanoWrimo. It offered advice on editing a hastily written project and how to publish it. If you’re participating in NanoWrimo this year, buy yourself this as an ‘end’ reward! It helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my novel, and gave a much needed reading break after all of that writing.
Odd Type Writers
Ever wonder why James Joyce wrote in crayon? Did you know that in order to meet a deadline, Victor Hugo wore nothing but a grey shawl so he couldn’t leave the house? This hilarious books covers all the great author’s weird quirky writer habits. We’re certainly an odd bunch!
Bird by Bird
This is my all-time favorite book on writing. It’s because of this book that when I’m staring at a blank page, overwhelmed with the idea of writing something, that I mutter to myself, “Bird by bird.” Read this book for honest, inspirational, and real advice on how to write books and live your life. Every time I reread Bird By Bird, I feel a rush of confidence. This books makes me want to write.
The Pocket Muse
I bought this at a huge book sale for $1, and I’m glad I did. This is such a fun little book. It’s small, so you can take it with you. It offers thought-provoking pictures, journaling prompts, writing advice, and more. You don’t have to read it chronologically, you can just flip it open to whatever inspires you.
300 Writing Prompts
So you can never again say that you have nothing to write.
A detailed guide on how to be a more descriptive writer. (Complete with beautiful examples from established authors!) If you’re idea of description is “that blue thing by the thing…” this book will reform you.
The Describer’s Dictionary
This book is SO helpful. I’m surprised more people don’t know about it. You know when you have to describe something really specific for your writing, and you’re trying to look for the right word, but nothing seems to fit? This book probably has the word in it. It has many categories, anything from beards to shapes, and words to describe them. It even includes excellent examples of other writer’s descriptions! This is something worth investing in.
Merriam – Webster Dictionary
Because of course. Merriam-Webster (other than having a brilliant twitter account) is a staple for anyone who uses words, let alone a writer.
The Dictionary of Cliches
This book is a conversation starter! We all try our best, but sometimes cliches sneak into our writing…if you’ve just written a phrase that’s so brilliant you think it might have been done before, look it up in this dictionary to see if you accidentally used a cliche.
This book is similar to the Describer’s Dictionary. It contains possible body language, thoughts, and actions for 75 emotions, so you can accurately write how your characters are feeling. If you struggle with “showing and not telling,” this is perfect. It helps me visualize what it really means to be sad, happy, or anything in-between.
What are your favorite books about writing? Let me know in the comments! Until next time, you can find me on Pinterest or Instagram.