Earlier this week I took a look at five amazing craft books that have inspired my writing considerably. Today, I wanted to look at five more that I adore and think you should definitely take a look at!
1. If You Want to Write, by Brenda Ueland
This is one of those rare books that writers can turn to time and time again in their lives when they get stuck, when they feel like they’re doing mediocre work, when they’re not happy with their writing. I stress this isn’t a book that shows you how to learn to write better descriptions or characters, or reflects on themes and point of view and how to get an agent. It’s a book of inspiration that writers can breeze through anytime they need a kick in the pants to get better in their writing. And it forces them to always, always, always tell the truth.
2. Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury is one of the most popular and important authors of the twentieth century, and this, his one and only non-fiction book, is worthy of study by all who are interested in writing, because he offers sound advice on how to better your writing, produce more writing, always write from a place of truth. Ultimately, this book, like Ueland’s, makes you fall in love with writing all over again. Also, I stress that both Ueland and Bradbury have not written how-to writing books, so much as inspirational writing books. They are books you take nuggets from, not study from front to back to learn how to be a better writer. I found Ueland’s book more inspirational and better organized, but Bradbury’s book is still worthy reading for all aspiring writers.
3. Wonderbook, by Jeff VanderMeer
My friend Shaunta Grimes gave me this book as a birthday gift a few years back, and I absolutely delighted in every page of this thing. Wonderbook is unlike any other craft book on the market. It’s fun, but not frivolous. It’s colorful, but not for kids. This is the perfect kind of craft book on writing you need when you are truly down and don’t believe in yourself. Trust me — ten minutes with this book, and your creative juices will be flowing again!
4. Writing Irresistible Kidlit, by Mary Kole
I know not all of you write middle grade and young adult fiction like me, but I feel like the final two books on this list will be super helpful for you even if you don’t write MG or YA. Writing Irresistible Kidlit is a supremely helpful tool for writers. It goes beyond being a simple how-to by infusing the author’s personality and passion into the text, and instead of writing dry prose only meant to educate, Kole’s frankness throughout the book makes her tips even more useful.
5. Writing Great Books for Young Adults, by Regina Brooks
This is another book aimed at MG and YA writers I turn to from time to time. Brooks’ main focus in this craft book is to discuss the key elements of novel writing, like character and setting and theme. And, like with Writing Irresistible Kidlit, someone writing an adult novel could still get a lot out of this craft book — author Brooks touches on aspects of storytelling in a general sense in every single chapter. I’d highly recommend you check it out!