We’re just out of November which is National Novel Writing Month, an annual initiative encouraging budding authors to buckle down and work out a first of a novel in just 30 days. If you participated in NaNoWriMo now’s the time to start on your glorious second draft. If you didn’t participate, it’s never too late to get started. In either event, here’s some great books on writing to inspire and encourage you.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Scribes and scribblers have been inspired by Anne Lamott’s hilarious, big-hearted, homespun advice. As she reports “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.’”
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.” In 1999, Stephen King began to write about his craft — and his life. By midyear, a widely reported accident jeopardized the survival of both. And in his months of recovery, the link between writing and living became more crucial than ever. Rarely has a book on writing been so clear, so useful, and so revealing.
Mastering the Process: From Idea to Novel by Elizabeth George
In Mastering the Process, George offers readers a master class in the art and science of crafting a novel taking us takes us behind the scenes and into each step of her writing process.
Daemon Voices: Essays on Storytelling by Philip Pullman
In over 30 essays, written over 20 years, one of the world’s great story-tellers meditates on story-telling. Warm, funny, generous, entertaining and, above all, deeply considered, they offer thoughts on a wide variety of topics, including the origin and composition of Philip’s own stories, the craft of writing and the story-tellers who have meant the most to Philip.
Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing by Elmore Leonard
For aspiring writers and lovers of the written word, this concise guide breaks down the writing process with simplicity and clarity. From adjectives and exclamation points to dialect and hoopetedoodle, Elmore Leonard explains what to avoid, what to aspire to, and what to do when your writing sounds too much like “writing” (rewrite).