The following books and websites/links have been an absolute godsend to me in my journey from closeted writer to new emerging writer. I just wanted to give them a shout-out and endless thanks to the authors for bringing them into existence. Writing is, in essence, a constant learning curve. We never stop learning, and we only learn by doing it. The road to success is paved with a-ha! and serendipitous moments of how, why and what we write. Our best teachers are those who have achieved their goals and willing to pass on those priceless tips and tricks to help us along. Thanks for sharing your little gems of guidance.
If anyone has any other resources they would like to recommend to me, please feel free to drop me a message.
Books on Writing
Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
"Here, for the first time, is a local edition of the bible of writing guides — a wry, honest, down-to-earth book that has never stopped selling since it was first published in the United States in the 1990s. In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott, a bestselling novelist and memoirist, distils what she’s learned over years of trial and error. Beautifully written, wise, and immensely helpful, this is the book for serious writers and writers-to-be." @ amazon.com
Why I loved it: Anne Lamott humanises the writing process in this book, warts and all. And anyone who is writer will know it is far from a glamorous career and the warts are plentiful! Anne unpacks the process of writing and validates the struggles, highlighting how even the most successful writers struggle with confidence in their work. She also offers great insight about taking the writing journey one step at a time. One of my favourite books on writing, hands down.
The Art of Fiction - David Lodge
"In this entertaining and enlightening collection David Lodge considers the art of fiction under a wide range of headings, drawing on writers as diverse as Henry James, Martin Amis, Jane Austen and James Joyce. Looking at ideas such as Intrusive Author, Suspense, the Epistolary Novel, Magic Realism and Symbolism, and illustrating each topic with a passage taken from a classic modern novel, David Lodge makes the richness and variety of British and American fiction accessible to the general reader. He provides essential reading for students, aspiring writers and anyone who wants to understand how fiction works." @ amazon.com
Why I loved it: Like many of my favourite books on writing, David lodges breaks down the concepts of fiction and writing into small bite-sized pieces of information, holding the concepts up against examples from works by famous authors. His breakdown of skills such as using language, intertextuality, defamiliarization, showing and telling, different voices, structure and symbolism into easy pockets of information made his advice easy to remember when going back to my own work.
Making Shapely Fiction - Jerome Stern
"Here is a book about the craft of writing fiction that is thoroughly useful whether for beginners, seasoned writers, or teachers of writing. You will see how a work takes form and shape once you grasp the principles of momentum, tension, and immediacy. ' Tension,' Stern says, 'is the mother of fiction. When tension and immediacy combine, the story begins.' Dialogue and action, beginnings and endings, the true meaning of 'write what you know,' and memorable listing of don't for fiction writers are all covered. A special section features an Alphabet for Writers: entries range from Accuracy to Zigzag, along with enlightening comments about such matters as Cliffhangers, Point of View, Irony, and Transitions." @ amazon.com
Why I loved it: This is another book that breaks writing concepts and elements down in easy-to-remember pieces. The book covers structure and momentum in Laymen's Terms so writers on all levels can follow Stern's advice. The Alphabet is an invaluable source, outlining ways narratives are broken down within the bigger picture of plot, and ways you can use this to your advantage in your story.
Emotion & Emotional Wound Thesaurus - Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
"One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character's emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. The Emotion Thesaurus comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each. Using its easy-to-navigate list format, readers can draw inspiration from character cues that range in intensity to match any emotional moment." @ amazon.com
"Of all the formative experiences in a character's past, none are more destructive than emotional wounds. The aftershocks of trauma can change who they are, alter what they believe, and sabotage their ability to achieve meaningful goals, all of which will affect the trajectory of your story. Identifying the backstory wound is crucial to understanding how it will shape your character's behavior, and The Emotional Wound Thesaurus can help." @ amazon.com
Why I loved them: These books are BIBLES for any writer. Every Thesaurus in the series by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are worth owning and having in easy reach. Each book is packed with resources for writing about emotions and emotional wounds, giving tools on how to avoid the 'show, don't tell' traps. They're well set-out with lists and easy to follow guides, perfect when your brain is so worn out from many re-reads during the process of editing your work to the highest possible standards for publishing.
Positive Trait & Negative Trait Thesaurus - Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi
"If you find character creation difficult or worry that your cast members all seem the same, The Positive Trait Thesaurus is brimming with ideas to help you develop one-of-a-kind, dynamic characters that readers will love. Extensively indexed, with entries written in a user-friendly list format, this brainstorming resource is perfect for any character creation project." @ amazon.com
"Crafting likable, interesting characters is a balancing act, and finding that perfect mix of strengths and weaknesses can be difficult. But the task has become easier thanks to The Negative Trait Thesaurus. Through its flaw-centric exploration of character arc, motivation, emotional wounds, and basic needs, writers will learn which flaws make the most sense for their heroes, villains, and other members of the story's cast." @ amazon.com
Why I loved them: See above
The Word-Loss Diet - Rayne Hall
"Tighten and tone your writing style, and use simple revision tricks to slim down your manuscript. Shed thousands of words without changing the plot. Strip away the word fat and reveal the muscle of your unique author voice. The Word-Loss Diet is based on Rayne Hall's popular class of the same title which has helped many writers shed word weight and develop a leaner, stronger writing style. Some authors say the class was the best investment they ever made." @ amazon.com
Why I loved it: During one of the first ever subjects I studied with my Masters of Arts (Writing) I was given feedback to "write tighter". I had no idea what that meant, and a Google search lead me to Rayne Hall's book. As soon as I had this little piece of prime writerly real-estate in my palm, I could visually notice how I needed to write tighter. To boil it down, I, like many writers, fall into the trap of relying on 'weasel words'. All those excess little 'likes', 'justs', 'thes', for example. This book taught me how to pare away the unnecessary fat inevitable in first drafts and it's an exceptional tool in the editing process.
The Writing Experiment - Hazel Smith
"The Writing Experiment demystifies the process of creative writing, showing that successful work does not arise from talent or inspiration alone. Hazel Smith breaks down writing into incremental stages, revealing processes that are often unconscious or unacknowledged, and shows how they can become part of a systematic writing strategy.The book encourages writers to take an explorative and experimental approach to their work. It relates practical strategies for writing to major twentieth century literary and cultural movements, including postmodernism.Suitable for both beginners and experienced writers, The Writing Experiment covers many genres including fiction, poetry, writing for performance and new media. Each chapter is illustrated with extensive examples of both student work and published writing, and challenging exercises offer writers at all levels opportunities to develop their skills." @ amazon.com
Why I loved it: This book helped me get in touch with my inner-poet and showed me ways utilising words, word associations, word exercises and language can take your writing to the next level. It gives great advice on helping and encouraging writers to take a fresh approach with language to step away from overused cliches and tropes by creating their own alternatives. I came across this book during my Masters studies and have used it frequently since.
Deep Point of View - Marcy Kennedy
"Do you want your readers to be so caught up in your book that they forget they're reading? Then you need deep POV. Deep Point of View takes the reader and places them inside of our characters - hearing their thoughts, feeling their emotions, and living the story through them. Compared to other writing styles, it builds a stronger emotional connection between the reader and our characters, creates the feeling of a faster pace, and helps avoid point-of-view errors and telling rather than showing. In Deep Point of View, writing instructor and fiction editor Marcy Kennedy brings her years of experience into showing you how to write deep POV. You'll learn specific, practical things you can do immediately to take your fiction to the next level." @ amazon.com
Why I loved it: I found myself drawn to writing deep POV early in my adventures as a budding novelist. I would be writing deep within my protagonist's mind, seeing the world and other characters through only their eyes. Many of my stories were isolated only to one POV. This book became my bible for learning all the technical intricacies of writing deep POV, along with providing exercises for weeding out the potential errors leading to violating the POV. This book is always in easy reach for me.
Websites for Writers
There are literally thousands of websites for writers with resources out in cyberspace, but these are some of my favourites.