Books on Writing

Whenever I want to learn something new, I look for a books on the subject. In the case of writing, I first started searching the Internet for recommendations. There are several good lists out there. Here is one of them. So far, I finished four books on the subject. Here are my thoughts.

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Whenever I want to learn something new, I look for a books on the subject. In the case of writing, I first started searching the Internet for recommendations. There are several good lists out there. Here is one of them. So far, I finished four books on the subject. Here are my thoughts.

The first book I read on writing was Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamont. It was a wonderful find for a first book: not so much for what it said about how to write, but for its description of the writing experience. Reading about Anne’s trials and doubts about writing brought great comfort to me as I had already dealt with many of the same issues. It made me feel that it was normal for a writer to have these challenges. Her writing advice was also useful. Having read several other books on the subject since, I don’t remember what exactly she said. What I will never forget is the depiction of the writer’s life.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves was another great find. Lynne Truss’ book on grammar is a wonderfully entertaining read for such a dry subject. I already was pretty much up to speed on my grammar, but still found some useful instruction. Even if I knew it all, I would find it to be a great read.

In addition to the many famous fictions books Stephen King has written, he also wrote On Writing . The first part of the book is an autobiography. The second part was about writing itself. While I found some useful information in the latter part, the story of his life as a writer was the best part of the book. It’s worth reading all the way through.

How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One by Stanley Fish made me feel like I was in a creative writing class. I found it quite useful, but a challenge to read. I’m not sure I took it all in. It’s a book I plan to reread.

While a popular book, Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writing Course by Jerry Cleaver wasn’t to my taste. In the introduction he complained about not being able to get any concrete rules about writing in the classes had taken. Now that he is an experienced writer, he tries to remedy the problem with his book. On that point he succeeds. The book gives very practical advice. I guess I’ve gotten to the point where I need something more inspirational and didn’t find the advice of much use. Later in the book, he devotes a lot of space to breaking out of writer’s block or just starting a regular writing routine. Since I have a routine and haven’t had writer’s block yet, I can’t speak to the efficacy of his advice. There was also a section about getting published. I’m not to that point and only skimmed through it.

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Categories: Writing