AS AN ASPIRING WRITER, I often try out books that could teach me something new about the writing process. Even the more established writers are, I believe, never really done learning and practicing the craft. Writing requires a lot of practice, editing, and learning by reading other people’s work. The great thing though is that there’s a wealth of literature about the craft waiting to be discovered. To inspire your creative process, I’ve selected 5 of my favorite books on writing below.
5 useful books on writing
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
by Stephen King
This memoir and guide to writing is probably the most referenced book on writing, divided into two parts. The first part recounts King’s early life and career as a writer, including his struggles with addiction and the near-fatal accident that nearly ended his life. The second part is a practical writing guide, in which King shares his advice and techniques for aspiring writers. King emphasizes the importance of reading widely and writing consistently and provides practical tips for developing characters, creating a compelling plot, and mastering the art of storytelling. He also shares his personal writing process, from the initial idea to the final draft, and encourages writers to embrace their own unique voice and style. I like the part in which he states that writers don’t have to look for the story but be reminded of the fact that the story is already there and you only have to find a way to write it down. “On Writing” has become a classic among writers and readers alike. It’s a great book if you care about language, the art, and craft of telling stories on paper, offering a rare glimpse into the mind of one of the most successful and prolific authors of our time.
Writers At Work: The Paris Review Interview
by Paris Review and Malcolm Cowley
This book is a collection of anthologies featuring in-depth interviews with some of the most prominent and influential writers of the 20th century. The series was conducted by the editors of the Paris Review, a literary magazine founded in 1953, and includes interviews with notable writers such as Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, T.S. Eliot, and Vladimir Nabokov. Through these interviews, readers gain a rare insight into the creative process and personal lives of these celebrated writers, with discussions covering everything from their writing techniques to their sources of inspiration. The series has become a valuable resource for writers and readers alike, offering a unique and fascinating glimpse into the minds of some of the most iconic literary figures of the 20th century. Overall, “Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews” is an essential read for anyone interested in the art of writing and the lives of famous authors.
Find Writers At Work on Amazon, or Waterstones.
Silence: Lectures and Writings
by John Cage
“Silence: Lectures and Writings” is a collection of essays and speeches by American philosopher and cultural critic, John Cage. Cage’s writings cover a wide range of topics, including music, art, Zen Buddhism, and philosophy. The book is organized into five sections, each focusing on a different aspect of Cage’s work, from his early compositions to his later collaborations with artists and musicians. Throughout the book, Cage challenges traditional ideas about art and music, advocating for chance and randomness as creative forces, and exploring the relationship between sound, silence, and the natural world. He also shares his personal experiences with Zen Buddhism and meditation, and how they influenced his artistic and philosophical views. “Silence” has become a seminal work in the field of avant-garde art and music and continues to inspire artists and thinkers across disciplines.
Letters to a Young Poet
by Rainer Maria Rilke
The Elements Of Style
By E.B. White and William Strunk Jr.
At 87 pages, this recommendation is definitely the shortest book on the list. Yet, it’s a concise and practical guide to writing in English, and covers the essentials of grammar, punctuation, style, and composition, providing straightforward rules, and illustrative examples for writers. The book reads very much like a textbook, and I learned a lot about the importance of clear, direct, and concise writing while avoiding unnecessary complexity. I found it quite refreshing to read a book like this about writing that is so to the point. Much of writing is about persuading the reader into a world — inviting them while using precise and concrete vocabulary and the right rhythm to make these worlds come to life. I like how the authors highlight this principle of show don’t tell in which precise and concrete words have to do work. The book also encourages writers to develop their own unique writing style and voice, while still adhering to basic principles of effective communication. As a result of its timeless advice and practical approach, “The Elements of Style” has become a timeless and essential resource for any writer that’s seeking to improve their craft.
Find The Elements Of Style on Amazon, Bol.com, or Waterstones.
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