I’ve been writing fiction for years: these are some of the best books I’ve found that have helped me along the way. Click where indicated for a longer review!
Nigel Watts – Writing A Novel (Teach Yourself series)
This is my all-time favourite creative writing book, and I highly recommend it to every aspiring novelist. Watts covers everything you need to know about the technicalities (characterisation, dialogue, theme, structure) of putting together a novel – and he offers advice on getting support with your writing.
It’s a simple but profound read, packed with insight, examples and exercises. If you can only buy one book out of the ones I’ve reviewed here – make it this one!
Read my full review of Writing A Novel.
Or grab your copy now:
Robert Graham – How to Write Fiction (And Think About It) (Palgrave)
This great book is aimed students of creative writing, but despite the strong academic approach, it’s ideal for beginners and improvers. The first part helps you build up to writing full-length short stories, the second part has a number of chapters from different experts on special techniques.
Exercises – and short writing bursts – are included throughout, to help you put what you’re learning in to practice. Anyone who is studying, or thinking of studying, creative writing in an academic context should get a copy of this! It’d also be excellent for non-fiction writers making the jump to fiction.
Or grab your copy now:
- Buy How to Write Fiction (and Think About It) from Amazon.com
- Buy How to Write Fiction (and Think About It) from Amazon.co.uk
Stephen King – On Writing
If you’re a Stephen King fan, you’ll want to buy this whether or not you’re a writer! The first half of the book is a fascinating autobiography, tracing King’s development as a writer from his childhood onwards. It’s written in his usual vivid, gripping and unpretentious style – very readable, very entertaining, and with a lot of lessons to teach any aspiring or practising writer. (I was particularly struck by the number of rejection slips he clocked up as a teenager … if the best-selling King was rejected when he was starting out, there’s hope for us all!)
The second half of the book goes into the writing “toolbox”, with King briefly discussing the basics (being able to string together a readable sentence), then going into plenty of highly useful detail about the actual writing process. It’s an encouraging, no-nonsense read – King doesn’t pretend that writing’s an easy job, but nor does he pretend it’s something reserved for an academic or artistic elite.
You can find my full review of On Writing at Daily Writing Tips.
Or grab your copy of On Writing now: