June ends with grace and half a year is in the bag. Nairobi is cold. Coffee, warm clothes, and scarves have become a staple in our corner. It’s perfect reading weather. If you’re a writer working on improving your writing skills, here’s a list of books to get you started, or to keep you going. They add great resources to your writing kit and I’ve found I’ve returned to all of them more than once.
1. Gotham Writer’s Workshop: The Practical Guide from New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School
I discovered this book right after high school and it’s been a staple in the library. I’ve lost copies of it and ended up with an ebook. This book is a great start if you’re just beginning. When you don’t know where to start, it will get you through the idea stage, to how to formulate your story, and equip you with tools on how to create characters, decide your POV and dialogue basics. My favorite concept from this book is, ‘Ideas are everywhere. The writer of fiction must learn to search the world for these seeds.’ It’s a great addition to your writing books, and will help you find out how to plant your seeds and help them grow into fiction
2. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller
This book was a referral. My favorite quote from this book is: ‘Good Storytelling…gives the audience the experience of a life…” If you want a more in-depth way of approaching storytelling, this is the perfect book. It discusses story structure, parts of the ‘story world’, and exploration on how to develop that world.
3. On Writing
I absolutely love the idea of looking at writing as a form of telepathy. I love magic and the possibilities it represents. On Writing is a look at how to deal with rejection letters from publishers, how to build your writing toolbox and unearthing the fossils of story that fill your imagination. It’s a very entertaining take on the craft and I find that it helps to return to this book when I’m stuck. The best advice I got from this book is that you need to keep reading. Read everything that you can, to become a better writer, to increase your knowledge on people, places, ideas, concepts…just read, probably more than you write, or just as much.
4. Roget’s Thesaurus of Words for Writers
Now, if you’re like me and English is the third language, hahaha, you’ll know that writing English can be difficult. It has very many words and a gazillion ways to describe things. This thesaurus is a great addition to your library for this purpose. Writers need new words in their writing toolbox so as not to repeat themselves and become boring. We remember what we often practice, so the thesaurus will help you discover new ways to say remember.
5. Show Your Work by Austin Kleon
This last book is about embracing your writing and loving it no matter what level you are in terms of publishing/self-publishing or just sharing your fiction space. I love everything about this book. It explores productivity, how to create and share without allowing fear to cripple you. Mostly because I have a serious productivity weakness that I’ve been working on conquering. The last two years have been full of activities in my personal life that took attention away from writing. It’s not easy getting back. It’s like starting again when you get back to it. You need input, ideas, and concepts in books to help you along. ^_^ This book has been perfect. Words like these, ‘Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you. Make me really happy. I want to say I’m in love with this book and because I love it, I’m sharing and hoping you will love it too.
Writing is a skill to learn and improve. The books above have been a great addition to my reading list. There are more, but these have stood out for me in this month of June.