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08 Feb

Recommended Books on Writing

David Bowman kindly posted a list of books about writing that he would recommend on the Ruby Tuesdays Fiction Group list, and I thought this would be of general interest to members, so am also posting it on the NWS blog. Do you have any other books you’d recommend that aren’t listed here? Add them in the comments, or send me an email and I’ll post it as a separate blog entry.


David’s List

  1. The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them) by Jack M. Bickham.
    Although this is now a 20 year old book, it covers the basics really well – and in small concise chunks – each chapter is usually only 4 or 5 pages long. The title is a bit pretentious but the style is accessible. (Chapter 30 relates to ordinary writing groups – not critique groups).
  2. On Writing by Stephen King Another short book.
    Recommended to me by a friend despite neither of us being actual Stephen King fans. It’s a half and half book – half autobiography and half writing guide. It’s an interesting read and makes several cogent points, especially about scheduling writing time and his pet hatred “adverbs in speech attribution”.
  3. Kate Turner’s 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance by Kate Turner
    I write Romantic Fiction rather than Romance so am very unlikely to ever write for her market – she’s had over 50 titles published by Mills & Boon. Her book, however is a good guide to getting the emotional content of your characterisation right – which applies across many, many genres, not just the “pot boilers” and “bodice rippers”, which is not to knock them. In fact she’s giving an all-day Saturday workshop in Nottingham in May 2012 which I’m going to. If anyone wants the link let me know and I’ll post it.
  4. Finding Author Success by Deborah Riley-Magnus
    This is not a writing book, but is about how an author needs to start thinking about the marketing of the book even as you’re writing it. I don’t mean which publisher or agent or line you’re aiming for – but the eventual target group – the readers who will buy the book. It’s about efficiently building a base and a following-on line so your initial sales on release are maximised. Many publishers these days expect a “marketing plan” alongside the manuscript or synopsis on submission. They’ll look at you on-line too before deciding on your manuscript. (I’m actually mentioned in this book but I don’t get a cut! We’ve bought and provided a copy of this book, free of charge to all our authors).

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