Books to inspire your writing
At some point in any writer’s life—whether you are starting out or need a dose of inspiration—a craft book on writing can be useful and helpful. A so-called “craft book” is sort of a writing class and writing companion gathered between two covers. There are several such books on my bookshelf that I turn to time and again, and some that I keep within reach right on my desk. They are great to keep you going … along with a bottomless coffee pot.
Writing can be lonely, and in an era obsessed with “social media” in which we’re expected to fill every waking moment with emails, text messages, tweets and Facebook updates, you can’t help but wonder if there’s something wrong with wanting to be left alone to write something that’s a bit more involved and less instantaneous. On the pages of these books you’ll be reassured that you aren’t the only one trying to put words on paper (or on the screen). Someone has done this before you, and done it well, and they’re willing to share what they’ve learned.
I thought that I would share some of my favorite craft books and how—and why—they have been helpful to me.
Favorite craft books on writing:
Here's a new craft book to boost your creativity and get you writing this year.
This wonderful book is a compilation of the magicalwords.net blog kept by several accomplished fantasy writers, including Faith Hunter, David B. Coe, Misty Massey, A.J. Hartley and C.E. Murphy. Though geared toward fantasy writing, it’s chock full of practical tips from working writers dealing with everything from getting unstuck, to making a living, to rewrites, to marketing, to coming up with ideas. You can easily visit the blog online, but the book (available in print and as a digital book for your Kindle or Nook) is a resource you will turn to again and again.
I came across this book several years ago and it remains one of my perennial favorites. Don’t be scared off by the commercial nature of the title, because this is actually a very practical book that shares first-hand accounts of how several well-known authors struggled with concepts or rewrites until they had a good (and sometimes bestselling) manuscript. Examples of good writing, characterization, etc., are pulled right from the pages of popular recent novels and you will be introduced to some writers you might not have known about, but whose work sells well for a reason.
Known for his historical novels, Pressfield’s short and rather “new age” books will get you inspired to step off your creative project, whether it’s writing or getting in shape or launching a business. He writes from the experience of someone who struggled for many years before finding success through hard work. I keep this one on my desk.
You can probably guess from the title that this book is all about polishing your manuscript. Have you got a good hook? Here are practical tips on keeping your manuscript in front of editors and readers.
I would call this book a “classic” and useful to anyone doing just about any kind of writing for work or school. There is a lot of sound, traditional advice in this book. Best of all, it’s available on the shelves of your local library.
Those are ones I keep on my shelf. Here are a few other craft books available from the library.
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
- A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write by Victoria Hanley
- Beginnings, Middles, and Ends by Nancy Kress
- Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction by Jack Hunt
More great craft books for writers:
Although intended for screenwriting, this book offers valuable lessons in story structure to fiction writers.
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The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery: From Empty Page to Finished Mystery in Just 52 Weekends--A Dynamic Step-by-Step Program$13.99
This is a book that the Sage found helpful when working fulltime and writing on evenings and weekends. Week by week, the book provides action steps for those who only have a few hours a week to write.
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Popular podcaster Joanna Penn writes fiction and nonfiction. Here, she focuses on the process that has helped her bring books from the idea phase to published.
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Everyone has a life journey to share and this time-tested book has become a classic for those writing to share their personal story.
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The best-selling author exciting Biblical thrillers shares his insights into writing.
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The Sage has often found this book to be helpful to dip into for motivation and a reminder to keep your eyes on the prize as a writer. This book never goes out of style.
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Aside from plot, writing with emotion helps to engage an audience. Here, the well-known agent shares examples from popular novels for how to use emotion.
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Another title for those squeezing in writing time on nights and weekends, this book provides an actionable guide or schedule for finding the time to write.
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