Books that have helped me with my writing – Part Two

So, this is part two of my post, Books that have helped me with my writing. Let’s get right into it, starting with number six;

6. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers – Renni Browne and Dave King

This is a great little book and very handy for when you’re polishing your manuscript to send to agents, or publishers, or an editor if you’re self-publishing.

This book is great for when you’ve finished the first draft of your novel and don’t know what to do next to make it shine. It covers topics such as “show and tell,” “point of view” and “voice”. It’s full of handy and practical tips to help you get the best out of your manuscript.

7. The Writer’s Guide to Psychology – Carolyn Kaufman, Psy.D.

Now, if you’re like me, you like to write about characters that have a whole host of issues. If you’re dealing with psychological issues, human behaviour and mental health problems, you need to make sure you try and get it right. This is where this book comes in. Carolyn Kauffman has a doctorate in clinical psychology and wrote this book to put things straight because, “What you think you know about psychology may not be accurate. In fact, many common beliefs are misguided, outdated, or just plain wrong.”

This will help give you a guide to psychology but be aware, advances in mental health are ongoing and parts of this book may already be out of date. However, it’s a very good place to start.

8. All the books I love and all the books that I hated and couldn’t finish!

Okay, this seems a bit like a cop-out. But, I promise you it isn’t.

I have learnt so much about writing from the books I love; J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter Series (world-building and great characters), Arthur Golden and Memoirs of a Geisha (how to write beautiful prose), Mario Puzo and The Godfather (how to create suspense). But equally we can learn much from books we don’t finish; E.L. James’ Fifty Shades Trilogy (clunky writing, how not to write, but still capturing the public’s imagination), Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights (characters that I hate and the knowledge that some people think this is a classic, therefore all tastes are different!).

What books do you love? What have they taught you? How about the ones you hate?

9. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck – Sarah Knight

Oh my, this book has changed my life! Some of you may know of Sarah Knight through her TED talks. This book could revolutionise your life and not just your writing life. This book is actually about teaching you “how to stop spending time you don’t have doing the things you don’t want to do with people you don’t like.”

This is great because by following some of the ideas in the book I have managed to find more time for writing. It has also helped me deal with rejection and people not liking my work.

For example, on page 52 Knight states, “Ten things about which I, personally, don’t give a fuck. [Number] 1. What other people think.”

Amen to that sister!

10. On Writing – Stephen King

Okay, this one may be a cop-out because this is high on my to be read pile so I haven’t actually read it yet! It goes back to what I was saying in part one, that we, as writers, should be open to learning and new ways of doing things. In all the writer’s groups that I belong to, both in real life and on social media, this book seems to be mentioned all the time as a great book to give you advice on writing. And who can argue with that when it’s written by the master himself, Stephen King? Once I’ve read it, I will let you know what I think.

So, that’s the end of my top ten! Do you agree with my choices? Or is there another book you’d place in the top ten? Let me know.


Further Reading:

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers – Renni Browne and Dave King (published by Collins, 2004)

The Writer’s Guide to Psychology – Carolyn Kauffman (published by Quill Driver Books, 2010)

The Life-changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck – Sarah Knight (published by Quercus, 2015)

On Writing – Stephen King (published by Hodder and Stoughton, 2012)

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