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Our Recommended Books on Writing
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Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for a writer friend, or need to drop some hints for Christmas, here are our recommended books on writing. These are the books we feel should be on every writers shelf…
On Writing by Stephen King: There is a reason why Stephen King is one of the bestselling writers in the world, ever. Described in the Guardian as ‘the most remarkable storyteller in modern American literature’, Stephen King writes books that draw you in and are impossible to put down.
Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. It is on EVERY published author’s bookshelf.
King’s advice is grounded in the vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999 – and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. If you are finding it hard to understand what an original voice is, read this and you’ll see. Click here to pick up your copy!
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott: “Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’”
“Superb writing advice… hilarious, helpful and provocative.” — “New York Times Book Review.”
“A warm, generous and hilarious guide through the writer’s world and its treacherous swamps.” — “Los Angeles Times.”
“A gift to all of us mortals who write or ever wanted to write… sidesplittingly funny, patiently wise and alternately cranky and kind — a reveille to get off our duffs and start writing “now,” while we still can.” — “Seattle Times.”
This is The Elements of Style, the classic style manual, now in a fourth edition. A new Foreword by Roger Angell reminds readers that the advice of Strunk & White is as valuable today as when it was first offered.This book’s unique tone, wit and charm have conveyed the principles of English style to millions of readers. Use the fourth edition of “the little book” to make a big impact with writing.
Know the rules before you break them. Pick up your copy here.
McKee on Story: Structure is Character. Characters are what they do. Story events impact the characters and the characters impact events. Actions and reactions create revelation and insight, opening the door to a meaningful emotional experience for the audience. Story is what elevates a film, a novel, a play, or teleplay, transforming a good work into a great one. Movie-making in particular is a collaborative endeavour – requiring great skill and talent by the entire cast, crew and creative team – but the screenwriter is the only original artist on a film. Everyone else – the actors, directors, cameramen, production designers, editors, special effects wizards and so on – are interpretive artists, trying to bring alive the world, the events and the characters that the writer has invented and created. Robert McKee’s STORY is a comprehensive and superbly organized exploration of all elements, from the basics to advanced concepts. It is a practical course, presenting new perspectives on the craft of storytelling, not just for the screenwriter but for the novelist, playwright, journalist and non-fiction writers of all types. Get yours here!
Becoming a Writer by Dorethea Brande: Describes a writer’s temperament and how to develop a writer’s habits, originality, and insight, imitate exemplary works, read critically, and overcome writing difficulties. This guide to becoming a writer was originally published in 1934. It focuses not just on plotting techniques or prose style, but on the process of developing the habits and discipline of a writer, with beating writer’s block, reading to improve one’s writing and other psychological techniques.
Refreshingly slim, beautifully written and deliciously elegant, Dorothea Brande’s BECOMING A WRITER remains evergreen decades after it was first written. Brande believed passionately that although people have varying amounts of talent, anyone can write. It’s just a question of finding the “writer’s magic” – a degree of which is in us all. She also insists that writing can be both taught and learned. So she is enraged by the pessimistic authors of so many writing books who rejoice in trying to put off the aspiring writer by constantly stressing how difficult it all is.
With close reference to the great writers of her day – Wolfe, Forster, Wharton and so on – Brande gives practical but inspirational advice about finding the right time of day to write and being very self disciplined about it – “You have decided to write at four o’clock, and at four o’clock you must write.” She’s strong on confidence building and there’s a lot about cheating your unconscious which will constantly try to stop you writing by coming up with excuses. Then there are exercises to help you get into the right frame of mind and to build up writing stamina.
Creative Writing Course Book: Forty Authors Share Advice and Exercises for Fiction and Poetry
The success of the writing courses at UEA belies the myth that writing can’t be taught. This coursebook takes aspiring writers through three stages of practice: Gathering – getting started, learning how to keep notes, making observations and using memory; Shaping – looking at structure, point of view, character and setting; and Finishing – being your own critic, joining workshops, finding publishers.
Throughout exercises and activities encourage writers to develop their skills. Contributions from forty authors provide a unique and generous pool of information, experience and advice.This is the perfect book for people who are just starting to write as well as for those who want some help honing work already completed. It will suit people writing for publication or just for their own pleasure, those writing on their own or writing groups.
Save the Cat! Blake Snyder: Here’s what started the phenomenon: the best seller, for over 15 years, that’s been used by screenwriters around the world! Blake Snyder tells all in this fast, funny and candid look inside the movie business. “Save the Cat” is just one of many ironclad rules for making your ideas more marketable and your script more satisfying, including: The four elements of every winning logline The seven immutable laws of screenplay physics The 10 genres that every movie ever made can be categorized by — and why they’re important to your script Why your Hero must serve your Idea Mastering the 15 Beats Creating the “Perfect Beast” by using The Board to map 40 scenes with conflict and emotional change How to get back on track with proven rules for script repair This ultimate insider’s guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a showbiz veteran who’s proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat. Grab your cat here!
The story of you.
The Accidental Memoir takes you on a journey of self-discovery, from the origins of your family name and earliest memories, to what you’d invent and how you’d change the world. This beautifully illustrated book is filled with inventive and accessible writing prompts, as well as tips for anyone wanting to document their lives and explore their creativity.
Want to flex your writing muscles, exorcise your demons, relive moments of magic, make sense of life, have fun and leave a lasting legacy? The Accidental Memoir will show you how.
This innovative concept was developed as an Arts Council project to help people tap into their own lives. Working with diverse groups from refugees to the elderly and prisoners, it has been a resounding success in unearthing stories that otherwise may never have been told. Pick up your copy here!
Wanna be a Writer? Jane Wrenham Jones: Practical, personal and honest advice on how to get published with contributions from over a hundred authors, agents, publishers and journalists. Hear from the professionals on how to sell your articles, write a synopsis, find an agent, get your novel accepted and much, much more. With insights, anecdotes and hot tips from Frederick Forsyth, Jilly Cooper, Ian Rankin, Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell, Adele Parks, Lesley Pearse, Michael Buerk, Carole Matthews, Erica James, Mil Millington, Miles Kington, Michael Bywater, Rosie Millard, Robert Crampton, Richard Morrison, Simon Trewin, Jonathan Lloyd, Teresa Chris and Jane Judd as well as publishers Harper Collins, Hodder Headline, Transworld, Orion and Simon & Schuster. A must-have handbook for anyone who’s ever wanted to write or just wants to hear how others to do it… Where do you start? How do you finish? And will anyone ever publish it when you have? Drawing on her own experiences as a novelist and journalist, Writing Magazine’s agony aunt Jane Wenham-Jones takes you through the minefield of the writing process, giving advice on everything from how to avoid Writers’ Bottom to what to wear to your launch party. Wannabe a Writer? tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the book world – and a few things you didn’t… Click to order yours!
Wanna be a Writer We’ve Heard Of? This entertaining follow-up to the successful Wannabe a Writer? is an essential read for every author and would-be best-seller, whether established or debut, self-published or still dreaming of the limelight. In today s celebrity-driven world, self-confessed media tart Jane Wenham-Jones, takes us on an uproarious ride along the publicity trail from getting the perfect promotional photo to choosing clothes to wear on TV. With anecdotes from Jane s own numerous media exploits, Wannabe a Writer We ve Heard Of? is packed with tips and tricks to help you get yourself noticed, gain maximum column inches and airtime and create online buzz for your books and projects. Offering advice and insights from writers, journalists, publicists and celebrities who ve been there and done that, this is the ultimate guide for anyone longing for fame and success. Includes contributions from Joanna Trollope, Richard Madeley, Tracey Emin, India Knight, Shazia Mirza, Kelvin MacKenzie, Lucy Mangan, Katie Fforde, Joanne Harris, Helen Lederer, Peter James, Carole Blake, Stanley Johnson, Sue Cook, Carole Matthews, John Hegley, Carol Midgley, Sam Leith, Lisa Jewell, Giles Coren, Robert Crampton, Tim Dowling, Mike Gayle, Marina O Loughlin, Suzanne Moore, Sir Roy Strong and Erica Wagner Foreword by Jill Mansell. We have our say too! Order here!