Next to my (very tiny) desk, I have a little wheeled cart with drawers. It’s really there to give me some more storage room, but I keep my writing books on top of it, much to my husband’s amusement. You see, we have bookshelves everywhere in our house. We have one in his office, filled with our “scholarly” books–my Latin textbooks and Le Roman de la Rose and Melusine and Chaucer and his books about modern European history and international relations and an entire set of books dedicated to the Mongols. We have two bookshelves in the living room for fiction (mostly fantasy and YA), and one in the upstairs hallway for overflow, where our library books usually live until we return them (right now it’s full of books about WWII airplanes and witchcraft and French refugees in 1780s America and African-American soldiers in WWI (Guess which ones are mine?) . Our townhouse is 750 square feet. There is a bookshelf right outside our bedroom door, less than three feet from my desk.
But I like to have my craft books nearby. There’s something solid and comforting about having their presence right there next to me while
I stare at the wall waste all my time on Twitter write. If you’re on the hunt for great books about writing or books that help with your writing, look no further.
- Bird by Bird, Anne LaMott (goodreads) We read a chapter of this for my Intro to Fiction course in grad school and immediately, I went home and ordered it. Part memoir, part “this is how I write” (a lot of these are like that), it’s so accessible and real and so full of good advice.
- On Writing, Stephen King (goodreads) Stephen King’s wife, Tabitha, fished his first draft of Carrie out of the trash can and convinced him to finish it. CARRIE. This is another part memoir, part textbook that I think every writer should read.
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne & Dave King (goodreads) THIS BOOK. This was one of the first books I bought for myself when I finished the first draft of my first “serious” book. The book that made me think, “Maybe I can do this writing thing.” I learned so much from it, and I like do do a light re-read before I start revisions. Just to refresh myself.
- Elements of Style, Strunk & White (goodreads) Does this need an explanation? I don’t think it needs an explanation. Everyone needs a copy of this. Everyone. This is your writing bible.
- Still Writing, Dani Shapiro (goodreads) I’m sneaking this one in because I’m reading it right now and I can’t get enough of it. I want to copy down entire paragraphs and tape them to the wall over my desk; it’s that good. So maybe go ahead and read it.
Bonus: What People Wore When, Melissa Levanton (goodreads) Okay. This isn’t technically a *writing* book, and it’s not even really all that accurate, but it’s something I picked up back in college when I wrote epic fantasy and let me tell you, it’s fun to flip through. It’s based on all of these Victorian-era drawings of fashion from the Ancient World to the French Revolution.
ALSO — thanks for all of your entries last week! I’ve emailed the winner of my critique giveaway. 🙂