books-on-writing

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One of the best things you can do to improve your writing besides actually writing, is to learn from those who have come before you. But, with so many books on writing available these days, it’s hard to know which ones to choose.

Fear not! I am here to share the three best books on writing I have come across. They are the books that have impacted me the most. Ones that have inspired and motivated me, and given me so many light-bulb moments. And ones that I know you will get so much out of.

 

‘On Writing: A memoir of the craft’ by Stephen King

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This is a book which you will find on just about every writing book list ever compiled. And with good reason. Part memoir, part writing masterclass, Mr. King takes you on a personal journey of experience and wisdom. The practical nuts-and-bolts advice that he provides makes sense. It is clear, concise, and he takes a no-holds-barred approach in giving it to you straight.

Mr. King touches on everything from the basics of the craft, writing habits, the ‘writing tool box’, and what it takes to be a writer. King’s own story is engaging and inspiring. His dedication, his failures, and ultimate success all told in his unique voice and style. It’s the kind of book that you can read over and over again, and walk away with a shiny new nugget of advice every time. A must have for your book shelf.

 

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‘How To Write Your Blockbuster’ by Fiona McIntosh

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I can’t remember where I first came across this book, but I am so glad I did. This is the book that forced me to decide whether or not I was serious about writing. And after reading, I wanted more of Fiona’s wisdom, so much so that I attended her Masterclass in April 2017.

This book is for anyone who has ever dreamed of publication as a commercial fiction author. It’s for writers who are serious about committing to their craft and preparing a manuscript to a publishable standard.

My copy of How To Write Your Blockbuster is choc-full of post it notes because there is just so much good stuff in those pages. So much!

With her unique style that is direct and to the point, Fiona takes you through everything you need to commit to writing your novel and to getting it finished. She talks discipline and how to get started. She shares the essential ingredients that commercial fiction needs, how to hook your readers and why your writing needs to turn pages. Then she takes you through the finer points of the craft – character, plot, dialogue, pacing and structure. Before leaving you with a shot of adrenaline that will motivate you to get writing. I promise by the end of this book you will want to rip off your shirt and beat your chest.

And if, like I did, you want more, consider Fiona’s Masterclass – it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my writing.

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‘GMC: Goal Motivation & Conflict’ by Debra Dixon

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I downloaded the eBook version of GMC after a recommendation from a writing friend, and I devoured it in a couple of short sittings. I could have gobbled it up in one night, but I wanted to make sure I allowed the advice to sink in.

This isn’t a general writing craft book. It is very niche in it’s topic – Goal. Motivation. Conflict. Just as the title says. These three things will transform your story from meandering off track into the wilderness, to hurtling down the page-turning road of  brilliant story that you can’t take your eyes off.

And before you roll your eyes and say… ‘Everybody knows goal, motivation and conflict are the essential ingredients in character driven page-turners’… understand that although you may know this, knowing it and being able to deliver, are two completely separate things. This books teaches you how to deliver.

It’s in the way the author explains the how and whys behind making sure your characters have GM&C. Using examples such as The Wizard of Oz and The Fugitive, Dixon shows you exactly what GMC is and why it is essential to every good story. You will find yourself mentally applying her strategies to your own works as you read, and by the end of the book you’ll be drawing your own GMC chart to assess all the characters in your book.

This is a book you will continually refer to, and one that will change your writing for the better.

 

So there you have it. These are my favourite books on writing that I’ve read. A notable exception which you will find on most others lists is Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. I have heard so many wonderful things about this book but I am yet to read it. I’ll be sure to let you know when I do.

Do you have a favourite writing craft book?

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All books should be available through your local bookshop, or you can find them online at Booktopia (Australia)

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