5 Great Books For Writers

I’ve written all my life, but I only seriously started writing a handful of years ago, and I didn’t know nearly as much about writing or what it takes to get published as I thought I did.

In part, that might be a good thing. Sometimes being naive when starting a journey can be helpful. After all, when you don’t know how difficult something is, it can be easier to begin.

While there’s no substitute for putting your butt in the chair and actually writing, there are a lot of books out there that can help point you in the right direction. These are some of the ones I’ve found most helpful.

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On Writing, by Stephen King

Part how-to, part encouragement, there’s so much great advice in this book. Whether or not you actually like Stephen King, this book should be on every writer’s shelf.

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Story Engineering: Mastering the Core Competencies of Successful Writing, by Larry Brooks

This book is my writing bible. No, seriously, it really is. It’s highlighted with tons of post-its stuck to the pages. It lays the structure of a story out in a concrete, simple way that works for my literal brain.

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Write Great Fiction: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint, by Nancy Kress

My writing critique group told me that my characters needed more agency until I was ready to explode. They also told me that my main characters were “wishy-washy” and “gray.” It’s not that I didn’t agree with them; it’s just that I had no idea how to fix the issue. This is the first book that actually made sense to me as to how to build good characters and sustain them through an entire book.

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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert

As much as I love writing, sometimes I just get burned out from doing it. I do it because I love it, but sometimes keeping all the balls in the air of juggling plot, character, conflict, etc drives me a little crazy. I read this book at exactly the time in my life that I needed to, and it helped me remember why I fell in love with stories.

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Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done, by Laura Vanderkam

This isn’t technically a book on writing, but if there’s one thing I hear from most people who write, it’s “I wish I had more time to write!” This book has an excellent practical and philosophical take on how to get more done and make the most use of the time we have.

If you write, are there any books you’ve found especially helpful?

Book Challenges- Week 8

Popsugar Challenge

(7/50) No progress this week.

While I Was Reading Challenge

(3/12) 25% done, but no progress this week

The Unread Shelf

Running Total: 3

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Committed: A Love Story, by Elizabeth Gilbert (memoir): As you may know, Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of Eat, Pray, Love. At the end of that memoir, she met Felipe, and fell in love. They decided to stay together, but neither of them wanted to get married. But Felipe was not a US citizen, and at one point, was no longer allowed to enter the US. They were forced to get married if he wanted to continue to stay. They agreed, but were stuck outside the US for almost a year while their paperwork was processed. This book was Ms. Gilbert’s attempt to come to terms with the marriage.

It was an interesting book, part memoir and part exploration of the history and culture of marriage. I found the different sections interesting and informative. There was a lot of information that made me think or say “huh.” I’m always interested in books that explore relationships, and this one was good.

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I Remember You, by Cathleen Davitt Bell (YA speculative romance): I’m delighted to announce that I’ve found my first favorite book of 2018! It was a wonderful experience and I’m already looking forward to reading it again. Lucas and Juliet are different people, but when they begin to fall in love, it feels familiar to both of them. But then Lucas starts telling Juliet that he “remembers” their relationship, that it’s happened before. Juliet doesn’t believe him at first, but as time goes on, and he’s right about things that have happened, she’s not sure what to believe. His memories become more and more disturbing, testing their relationship and making them both wonder if he’s crazy. This is a lovely book about first love, relationships, and family.

5 Classic Books

(0/5) No progress

Miscellaneous Reading

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Uncanny, by Sarah Fine (YA Thriller): I had a good reading week. This is the second five star book I’ve read this year. Uncanny is an example of how to write a thriller. Cora and Hannah are stepsisters. After Hannah dies, we’re given just enough information about what happened to keep the tension high. This book explores the complex relationships between families and also has some interesting things to say about technology and how it changes the way we look at the world. The whole book is fantastic, but the ending was amazing.

2018 Running Total: 21

Have you made any progress on your TBR or book challenges?