Wednesday, August 9, 2017

5 Books on Craft Every Writer Should Read.

Please note that this blog post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own! This post has been cross posted to Fit and Beautiful Heart Reads and the blog of Author Eliza Stopps. I am not going to waste your time by making you scroll down to the bottom to reach the best ones, so I'm putting my two favorite books first. I haven't read #1 more than once, but it was a very influential read for me. I have read #2 many times and it was very useful. They are effectively tied. The other books were very informational and helped to guide me during this learning process, but if you are going to read any of these please pick the first two.
  1. On Writing by Stephen King

This is probably the most obvious book. If you've been writing for a while, then you have probably heard about it. I had someone suggest that I read it when I was in college but put it off for years because I don't really read or watch horror. I wasn't sure that it would be as helpful to me as a result. I was very wrong. This book not only inspired me but helped me feel more confident as a writer and gave me the push that I needed to start writing full time. If you've been putting it off, then please go pick it up. It's witty, interesting, helpful, and necessary. I will add a note that some of the details of the book are much different now. In the book, King talks about when he published Carrie and the money he received changed his life. If you're publishing traditionally or self publishing today, you probably won't get a $50,000 check for your first book. That doesn't mean it isn't worth while to read the book though, as most of the tips still apply.

2. Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark

 I read this book every time I sit down to edit one of my own. There is a handy section in the back for looking up all the tips quickly, which is so useful when I'm trying to think of something to help my manuscript move forward. Don't tell anyone, but I really don't like editing my own work. It's time consuming and soul reaping, but this book has made it far more bearable. When I am five chapters in and I think my eyes might fall out of my skull, I simply turn to this book to give me an idea of what I should be looking for. I think this book will help anyone be a better writer, editor, or reader. I've never enjoyed a book aimed at writer's more than this one. I also suggest getting the paperback of this one because it's very nice to be able to highlight it and put colorful sticky notes all over it with notes to remember. Sometimes when I am looking for help on one book, I see something that will help another, and it is nice to put a post-it there to remind myself.

3. The Elements of Style by William Strunk

 This book is also a great book for help with editing and remembering specific rules.  

4. Successful Self-Publishing by Joanna Penn

 This book is free, so there's no excuse not to pick it up now. It's a very short and helpful read. Even if you aren't interested in self-publishing, I would suggest that you read it anyway. If you're already in the self-pub world, you have no doubt heard of Joanna Penn. Give her podcast a listen as well, her voice is so easy to listen to and she is a non-stop fountain of knowledge. I went through her back list and listened to almost every podcast. Again, I haven't read much of her fiction because it's sort of Thriller stuff but I really enjoyed her book and the interviews on her podcast are always very useful.

5. Write. Publish. Repeat. by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant

I bought this book because I also spent a lot of time listening to their Self Publishing Podcast. What I really got out of this book was the permission to just write whatever you want to and to keep writing without stopping to edit. Also this is still helpful if you aren't planning to self publish because it tackles a lot of tips on how to write your e-book. I started using Scrivener after reading this and it changed my life. I have now taken to writing in "speed blocks" where I set a timer for 20, 40, or 120 minutes and then just sit down and try to write as much as possible. This means that I am able to motivate myself to write and beat the clock even on days when I don't feel like writing.

I hope that you pick up a few of these books and enjoy them. This isn't the most "original" list but these are all books that really have helped me to be a better writer. Have a good day :) Eliza Stopps is the Author of the Leslie Kim Serials available on Amazon, Kobo, and Kobo Plus. She has been publishing poetry for years, but just recently decided to dive into the world of Self Publishing. You can usually find her on Twitter @ElizaStopps making terrified observations about spiders, the best options for chocolate covered snacks, and her daily word count goals. If you want to find out more, visit her blog: or search for her directly on Amazon.

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