Some recommended reads for you to enjoy, to learn from, to share with others. These books have either helped, and continue to help me in my life as a writer, or have provided pure entertainment! I hope they'll be able to help you to.
Eats, Shoots and Leaves
Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss is a classic guide to good punctuation. I first heard of this book whilst at Uni and it was highly recommended then. It's an entertaining, no holds barred look at punctuation. Take a look at a couple of excerpts.
“The rule is: the word 'it's' (with apostrophe) stands for 'it is' or 'it has'. If the word does not stand for 'it is' or 'it has' then what you require is 'its'. This is extremely easy to grasp. Getting your itses mixed up is the greatest solecism in the world of punctuation. No matter that you have a PhD and have read all of Henry James twice. If you still persist in writing, 'Good food at it's best', you deserve to be struck by lightning, hacked up on the spot and buried in an unmarked grave.”
“I apologise if you all know this, but the point is many, many people do not. Why else would they open a large play area for children, hang up a sign saying "Giant Kid's Playground", and then wonder why everyone stays away from it? (Answer: everyone is scared of the Giant Kid.)”
The message of the book? Don't be afraid of being a Grammar Nazi. Punctuation is important and can even save lives. The terrifying-to-grandmothers-everywhere sentence: "Let's eat Grandma.", becomes: "Let's eat, Grandma!", and we all tuck into some ultra delicious food and Grandma is left alive.
Chosen for you by Phoebe Wilby
The 3 A.M. Epiphany
The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction offers more than 200 intriguing writing exercises designed to help you think, write, and revise like never before - without having to wait for creative inspiration. Brian Kiteley, noted author and director of the University of Denver's creative writing program, has crafted and refined these exercises through 15 years of teaching experience.
I found this book in a writing group in Rhode Island that I was privileged to sit in on. I immediately bought myself a copy. I used the exercises to get a better understanding of minor characters and their role in the story. I was impressed with the depth I was able to go into in getting to know my characters, what prompts their actions and even how they will act. A wonderful resource for every writer.
Chosen for you by Stephanie Hammond.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
I just love this book and its title Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and life. Anne Lamott tells the story of how the title came to be: "Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, 'Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'"
So that's how we approach our writing - and the life of the author as well - and Anne Lamott shows us how we must not be discouraged at a mountain of writing tasks. She tells us how to tick them off one by one, bird by bird. I love it. An oldie now, but definitely worth including in your writer's resource shelf.
Chosen for you by Stephanie Hammond.
The Writer's Confidence Boost
This short eBook by Jennifer Blanchard is more than a good read, it's a workbook that you can do over fifteen days, and then fifteen more, and fifteen more after that ... you get the picture!
Jennifer's book is set to help us create the confidence [we] need to be the writer and author [we've] always dreamed of being.
By working through the activities and assignments of each day, you can stop procrastinating, prioritise your life to allow yourself time to write and eventually hit 'publish' on your masterpiece.
Whatever your writing dreams are, you can achieve them, and Jennifer will show you how. She just can't write your masterpiece. That bit's up to you!
Chosen for you by Phoebe Wilby.