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Creative writing books?

(16 Posts)
AlbusSeverusPotter Wed 01-Jun-16 22:10:41

Do you think that they're helpful for new writers or a bit of a waste of money?
I'm not sure if it would be useful in getting some guidance about developing characters and plots or if I'd be better attending a writing group.
I'm also thinking that it might just be a way to sort of put off the daunting task of actually writing, and that I should just crack on with it for now.

What's people's opinions on them? Can anyone recommend any particular useful ones?

YvaineStormhold Wed 01-Jun-16 22:12:35

Stephen King On Writing is an excellent read, and contains lots of good advice.

AlbusSeverusPotter Wed 01-Jun-16 23:21:24

Thank you YvaineStormhold, I'll be sure you have a look at it in town tomorrow.

stripyeyes Thu 02-Jun-16 09:57:01

I've got the complete handbook of novel writing which is easy to read and self editing for fiction writers which is a bit more in-depth. smile

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Fri 03-Jun-16 10:05:50

'Creative Writing; a workbook with readings' is the main text for the Open University's second-year creative writing course. I did the course and it was fantastic, but equally you could pick up the book second hand and work through the various exercises yourself.

It's more 'teachy' than most of the other creative writing books I've read - explanations, discussions and exercises.

look inside on Amazon

VioletBam Fri 03-Jun-16 10:07:14

The very best in my opinion is Story by Robert McKee.

It's meant to be for writers of film but I have found it invaluable and I write radio and fiction.

I've been published and performed and I thank Robert McKee for that!

SuperMumNot Fri 03-Jun-16 11:48:38

Some of the Creative Writing books are pretty expensive, so it's worth checking your local library first.
I agree Stephen King On Writing is an excellent read.
I've just read James Wood's 'How Fictions Works' and found it rather dry and intellectual, rather than practical.

I can heartily recommend the FutureLearn (free) 'Start Writing Fiction' www.futurelearn.com/courses/start-writing-fiction course. It runs regularly and although it's not 'marked' by tutors you do get some excellent feedback from fellow students.
I did it last year and it was just the kick up the backside I needed to get started again.

AlbusSeverusPotter Fri 03-Jun-16 14:16:20

Thank you for all these suggestions. I think I'll be off to the library this weekend to look for a few of these to start with and I'll see how I get on with them.

Helmetbymidnight Fri 03-Jun-16 19:35:13

I'd definitely echo support for Stephen King's on Writing - fabulously readable book - as you'd expect from him.

I also enjoyed Natalie Goldberg's Writing down the bones, but beware contains much woo.

ImperialBlether Fri 03-Jun-16 21:16:57

The Seven Basic Plots is one of the best I've read.

I think it's good to immerse yourself in books about writing - they can be really inspiring.

wordassociationfootball Sat 04-Jun-16 15:39:52

I love Save The Cat and Save The Cat Strikes back by Blake Snyder. They work in tandem and are quite chatty but full of absolute gold. The latter book -Strikes Back was written after workshopping the methods/ideas in the first with loads of writers. They take a lot of thinking about but have helped me enormously. I'm a TV scriptwriter and would-be-novelist and structure is my weakness. These help.

ImperialBlether Sat 04-Jun-16 15:52:07

I hadn't thought of a scriptwriting book, wordassociationfootball. I've just been on Amazon and bought Into the Woods - How Stories Work by John Yorke. I need something to read to kick start my next book.

TrionicLettuce Sat 04-Jun-16 15:53:21

I opened this to suggest 'On Writing' but I've been beaten to it, and then some grin

YvaineStormhold Sat 04-Jun-16 19:35:04

How Not To Write A Novel is good, too.

wordassociationfootball Sun 05-Jun-16 07:55:23

Imperial, 'not just a how to but a why-to celebration,' sounds good.

I'd worry that something that erudite might give me the fear and block my easily stifled muse, but I didn't know about it and want to read it so might chance it anyway.

I see you have quietly and with no pomp GOT A TWO BOOK DEAL. Huge congratulations. I'd love to hear all the details, here or by pm.

My afent , quite rightly wanted the first 12 chapters stripped right back. I'd crammed too much in and it took too long to get going. In the midst of that and it's slow going but speeding up. Hope ri sub to pubs in Sept.

stripyeyes Sun 05-Jun-16 08:50:16

Has anyone read anything and got thoughts on km weiland? Stumbled across her website the other day and has loads of (free!) and practical advice regarding structure and character arc.

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