Over the years I have acquired a number of books on writing which I have enjoyed reading.
Anyway here are a few of the books that I have found myself coming back to again and again and they have helped me shape my attitude towards my writing (when I am actually writing); and I believe they would help anyone who picked up or downloaded these books.
1) Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell: This is an excellent and easy book to read. Bell basically goes through all the elements of a story – plot, character, setting, story structure etc. He provides methods to come up with plots when your mind draws a blank and details how to revise your story once you have it written. He draws examples from several other stories which helps to illustrate his point.
Bell’s book reads like a complete creative writing course; it is a must read.
2) The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri: This book is actually directed at playwrights but it is a book that I believe can help any type of writing. Egri focuses quite a bit on the concept of the ‘premise’; which can perhaps be described as the point of your tale, the reason from the transformation, change and action that goes on in your story (Egri does a far better job at explaining this than I).
Sometimes as writers we find ourselves on a writing journey without really being sure why we are writing, why anyone should read what we are writing, what message we are trying to pass, but Egri helps with this and I genuinely found this a pleasurable read.
3) Writer’s Guide to Character Traits by Linda N Edelstein: Do your characters usually appear two dimensional? Are they all fairly similar? Does it seem unbelievable that a young fresh-faced college student would rob a bank? Then this is the book for you. Edelstein goes through different personality types, psychological disorders, job types and basically provides a road map for why a person and what type of person may do a certain thing. The book is broken down in such a way that you don’t have to read it in its entirety, you can simply visit the chapter you are most interested in.
4) Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook: This book is mostly useful after you have written your story (or the first three chapters) as it provides an index of publishers in the UK, US, South Africa etc. However it also has articles written by popular writers on their particular field in the book with friendly, helpful tips you can use. The yearbook also has articles on how to approach publishers, what to write etc. The Writers & Artist’s Yearbook comes out once a year, so be sure to get the most recent. It is a bit expensive though, so if you can get the last year at a cheaper price it still makes sense because the information does not change drastically each year. I had two of the yearbooks (2011 and 2012) and I gave the 2011 away.
Hope these books help. Keep writing!