Friday, 22 July 2011

Brilliant 'How To' Books.

Brilliant How to Books
During my writing adventures I have been grateful for those usually famous authors who have shared their knowledge of craft to help other would-be thriller writers.
In the beginning I read them for their insightful advice on developing all the usual writerly skills – this in the days before writers blogs took off. And it wasn’t as if I was ignorant about writing, I studied for a creative writing degree at University and went on numerous writing courses/conferences etc where I not only learnt from lectures but could also talk to those who had done it successfully.
But always I came back to my books. After all that is the bedrock of our profession – books. I have amassed quite a collection of writing books over the years – some good, some not so good. But the interesting thing for me is that they still provide me with inspiration! Whenever I feel a bit down – usually after a rejection or a fit of self doubt - I pull out one of my favourites and re-read. it always lifts me and fills me once again with a sense of enthusiasm.
I also turn to my books when I am struggling with a particular issue like the setting, characters or editing and revising. In the planning stages of a book my approach has been different with each project, (taking advice from my how to books) but the plus side is I now know what works best for me. 
So here’s some of my gems:
My all time favourite:
Stephen Kings ‘On Writing’
‘How to Write a Damn Good Novel’  James N Frey.
‘The Key’, James N Frey.
‘How to Write a Damn good Thriller’, James N Frey.
‘How to Write Tales of Horror, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction’ J.N Williamson.
‘Hooked’, Les Edgerton.
‘Lessons From a Lifetime of Writing’, David Morrell.
‘Writing the Breakout Novel’, Donald Maas.
‘Stein On Writing’, Sol Stein.
‘How Fiction Works’ Oakley Hall.
‘The Techniques of the Selling Writer’, Dwight Swain
And for a light-hearted read:
‘Wannabe a Writer’, Jane Wenham Jones.

So who are you favourite ‘how to’ authors?
For samples of my own writing: 


  1. On Writing by King is also my favourite. And I have read Wannabe a Writer but will be looking into the other ones. Thanks.

  2. You're very welcome, Elpi! Happy reading!

  3. How To Write A Million by Dibell, Scott, Card and Turco. Title sounds trashy, but great down-to-earth advice. Love the Natalie Goldberg books. Sarah Harrison's book How To Write a Blockbuster and Story by Robert McKee. Also love Jane W-J's Wannabe book and Stephen King's On Writing.

  4. Pat - Thanks for the recommendations! There are a couple here that I did not know of.

  5. hello Pat, glad to see you are back and I hope all ok, I've now officially accepted your fabby Blog award and Blogged about it. Thank you so much for awarding it to me! x