There are books in my past that acted as guideposts. These books both encouraged and directed my writing. There are many books about writing and I am sure I have just scratched the surface.
The Art of Fiction by John Gardner. John was a a prolific teacher and writer. While I don’t care much for some of his writing, his book about the craft is one that I’d recommend to any writer. Why? Because it is not a how to book. He defines levels of literature, discusses truth, basic skills, and writing as a dream. Meaning, writing should be a vivid dream, and so vivid that the reader does not want to wake up. I would purchase this book for the writing exercises alone.
On Writing by Stephen King. This book is part memoir part instruction. Listening to his struggles from poverty to a multimillion dollar best-selling author. It is not a book about getting rich, but more a book about giving everything to your craft. He did make millions, but he worked his fingers to the bone doing it. If you want to know how dedicated a professional writer is, read this book and do what it says.
Bird By Bird -Anne Lamott. This book is mostly memoir. However, the title was given based on a conversation Anne heard between her father and brother. Her brother was given an assignment for school. It was a study of birds and he had to report on several species. He’d waited weeks to complete it and now it was due the next day. His father told him not to think about the large looming task, but to take it bird by bird. Her father was a writer and knew that to write a novel you look for the next word, not the whole book.
What books to you like? What books put you in the writing mood?