One of the best books on creativity I have read in a long time. Read my post here. Elizabeth Gilbert gets to the heart of the creative life. She explores living creatively through the lens of courage, the big magic of ideas waiting for us, their human collaborators, to come to life, joy, playfulness and devoting ourselves to the work rather than the slippery promises of success. It will become one of the writing books that I turn to time and again for wisdom, inspiration, comfort and a good kick up the backside too! I urge you to read it.Buy now Waterstones
Another classic that I re-read often. Goldberg offers us a series of short articles in the style of a mentor or best friend who both cheers us on and challenges us. She wants the best for us and so she wont’ put up with any of our excuses or procrastinations. You can also buy a tiny edition to keep in your handbag.
A brilliant editing companion: Bell helps us to self-edit so that our stories are tight and lean and ready to meet their readers. She gives us wonderful insights into the editorial relationship between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Max Perkins as they edited The Great Gatsby. If one of the greatest novels of all time went through a zillion drafts, there’s hope for us all!
A brilliant insight into how, as human beings, we ‘wired’ for stories, how they form an intrinsic part of how we think, how we remember and how we relate to the world. Cron uses this understanding of the relationship between human beings and stories to help make our writing stronger and more engaging.
A broad and deep exploration of the elements of fiction: Wood lifts the bonnet and pulls apart the engine, thereby helping us to understand what makes stories work – and what makes stories wonderful.
A reflective book that explores the role of the writer in the world. Atwood introduces us to a wide sweep of writers, both past and present, and through them unpicks the humour and tragedy of the creatures who spends their lives scribbling.
I fell in love with Jane Smiley’s Pulitzer Prize wining novel, A Thousand Acres, when I first studied King Lear at school. Here, she offers a wonderful celebration of over a hundred novels, each of which have something to teach us about the craft of making stories.
I’m not usually a big fan of ‘teach yourself’ books but this one is worth its weight in gold. So much so that I have the original, written by Watts, as well as the one updated by Stephen May, a novelist and writing teacher I met on an Arvon course many moons ago. A novel writing master class, especially it’s chapter on plot.