No matter what type of writer you are, these books should be able to help you in some possible way! It isn’t necessary to own all of these books because depending on your needs one book might suit you better than the others. You might already have these books, heard of them or even decided against them. Whatever your opinion, this is what I thought of them:
Write a novel and get it published
By Nigel Watts and Stephen May
This book is probably one of my favourites. Why? Well, it gives a good coherent explanation to the most common questions we might face whilst writing. It will give insights (short paragraphs explaining ways to do what they’ve just explained). Plus, they usually give examples after the explanations. The book covers all type of things such as tone, viewpoint, characters, perception, style, etc. At the end of each chapter it will have a page with: “Things to try out”, and will usually have around 3 suggestions for you to try out after reading the chapter. It will also include “10 Things to remember”, which is usually a summary of what you’ve been told in the chapter.
In my opinion, this book comes in handy at any given point. It isn’t one of those books that is a step by step book to writing a novel. It just briefly explains certain important things about writing, which is great even after you’ve finished writing your work, because you can go back to it later and see what you’re doing wrong (or just simply to get some sort of advice, at the end of the day, there is no right or wrong in writing!).
Basically what this book does is guide you through things you might not be so sure about, or answer questions that you were dubious about.
The Writer’s guide to Good Style
By Katherine Lapworth
This book is probably a must have when you’re at the editing process! This book doesn’t talk about character development or scenery or tone, it just focuses on the writing itself… The grammar, the syntax, the structure and all that hateful stuff we all wish didn’t exist. This book works exactly as the one above as they’re from the same publisher, so they both give insights, examples and “10 things to try or to remember” at the end of the chapter. a great thing about this book is that it also talks about layout, such as the margins and column widths, fonts, headings and subheadings and all that stuff that we sometimes aren’t that sure of and the internet just seems to have 250 answers to one simple question.
If you’re looking for an exceptionally great book on self-editing, you might want to try this one out:
If you’re planning on self-publishing, you ought to try this book out to edit your final draft. Though, I should say, that this book cannot do the work of an editor, so if you are planning on self-publishing, please find a good editor before you publish your work!
The writer’s little helper
By James V. Smith, JR
This is probably another favourite of mine! It’s a small and very cute book, but it turns out to be an incredibly tough guy. (Don’t judge a book by its cover, right?). What I love about this book is that it’s written in a VERY simple way, mostly bullet points or very short sentences. It isn’t one of those books full of lengthy paragraphs explaining the same thing over and over again until your head explodes. (Five paragraphs to explain why you should use a dot instead of a comma, e.g).
This book will explain something in 2-3 lines, then give examples such as advantages and disadvantages, a couple of examples and that’s it. That might not be enough for everyone, but it’s written so well and the explanations- even though short- are so precise and well explained, you truly won’t need further explanation.
Writers’ & Artists’ Guide to How to Write
By Harry Bingham
This is… okay. In my opinion, it isn’t one of the best, but that’s just my opinion. There is nothing wrong with it, Harry Bingham is great, and his book Getting Published, is probably one of the best I own (which reminds me), you should check that book out;
Back to the point, this other book to me is just too long, the explanations are long… everything in this book is long. It gives examples from extracts of other books which is quite nice, but the problem is that this book to explain something such as The third person, it only does it through extracts of other novels, and that doesn’t work for me. For example, this is the explanation of Individuality in the third person from the book:
Third-person narration offers certain sorts of flexibility in abundance, but it’s limited in one crucial respect. A third-party narrator needs, mostly, to merge into the background. You don’t want the force of the narration to distract from the story being told. (Up to here, great, but then he starts explaining this through an extract) Imagine, for example, how One Night at Chatheau Marmont would read if told in a voice as loudly distinctive as Bridget Jones’s:
A waiter, the cutest guy, adorable brown curls and long soppy sideburns arrived at the table. Leo, Mr Big Shot, did his whole chest-beating thing and ordered for the entire group. Typical. He didn’t even think of consulting Brooke or Julian who- duh!- were meant to be the starts, right? Still, Big Shot knew how to order and…
I get that this is good and he clearly know what he’s talking about, but for me, this really doesn’t help me in any sort of way. Of course, that might not be the case for you!
Novel Writing- 16 stets to success
By Evan Marshall
I was recommended this book by an author at university. I never really got into it that much, more than anything, because it’s sort of a guide to follow whilst your writing a book. By the time I bought it, my book was finished, so it wasn’t really useful in that sense. It basically goes step by step on writing a book, so it will start off with coming up with an idea, characters, etc, then move on to the planning, the writing and all that. It’s a great book for those who are starting off or have never written a novel before and want a sort of guide to follow, but for those who already know how to write a book or have already written one, then it isn’t of much use.
The road to somewhere a creative writing companion
By Robert Graham
This is a book that was on my reading list at university. It’s extremely popular at universities. It’s an interesting read, but it doesn’t focus on the step by step, it’s more of as the title explains, a companion. It discusses all kinds of writing styles, techniques and encourages you to play around with different writing styles. It’s full of useful information and therefore, it’s worth buying just for that, but, it might not be what you are particularly searching for. If you need editing tips, or a step by step guide, then this won’t be for you. If you want a sort of book about the journey of writing, what it’s like to be a writer and all that kind of stuff, then yes, this is the right one for you!