The following how-to-write books have been absolutely instrumental in my quest to learn the craft of fiction:
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (Anne Lamott): this is a fabulous book, a must read for anyone who endeavors to write. For me, it simply took some of the fright of writing.
- Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (8th Edition) (Janet Burroway and Elizabeth Stuckey-French): no offense to God, but this is my bible. I refer to it often, I honestly could not survive without it!
- The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers (John Gardner): A fantastic resource to use along side Writing Fiction.
- The Elements of Style (4th Edition) – (William Strunk and E.B. White): According to Stephen King, in On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft, every aspiring writer should read this book. I totally agree, this book is a must have (you can carry it in your pocket)!
- An American Rhetoric – (William Whyte Watt): This is an amazing guide to “Good Writing and Correct English” – it is hard to find, even harder to find at a decent price – try Better World Books, I scooped a copy up there for less than $20!
- Solutions for Writers: Practical Craft Techniques for Fiction and Non-fiction: Though I also included this in the section for revision, I also think it is a fantastic read before you dive into your novel. The guy is simply straight forward with his advice, and his proven track record makes it worth following. I am serious, this book is awesome!
Creative writing prompts can be extremely useful, just like warming up for a jog it is important to get your mind in the right form before you plunge ahead into your story. I have even based a few chapters in my book off of a few prompts, you just never know where your pen will take you!
- Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life – Natalie Goldberg: Easy to find and work through, and some of the exercises were actually quite enjoyable!
- What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers (3rd Edition) – Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter: The older editions are easy to find used, and much cheaper. Very effective exercises and lessons.
- The Writer’s Idea Book – Jack Heffron: The reviews do not lie, with over 400 prompts Jack takes your creative energy for a ride and provides an amazing platform for dealing with dreaded writers block.
- The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction – Brian Kiteley: An uncommon approach to writing prompts that should be on your shelf (also by Brian, 4 A.M. Breakthrough: Unconventional Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction).
- Writer’s Digest – a large collection of writing prompts (with word limits and the ability to post your response).
- Creative Writing Prompts – scroll over a number and a prompt appears! What you see is what you get, if you are looking for a prompt this is not a bad place to start (it is not instructive by any means).
Do you have any other sources for creative writing prompts?