General Writing

There are so many general writing books out there. Here are some of the better ones I have read.

71ZXuhSXKsL._SL1500_Writing in Overdrive

Want to write fast but fear the derision surrounding it?

Fear not – Jim Denning is here to put you at ease. In this brilliant, inspiring book he covers why you should write your first draft fast, as well as giving examples of many of the great authors who did just that. He gives you tips and tricks to get those words onto paper, as fast as you possibly can.

I recommend this book to any author whom is serious about the business of writing.




The Book on Writing – The Ultimate Guide to Writing Well

Paula, often hailed as one of America’s foremost writing coaches, is an author, editor, and communications consultant. She has conducted writing workshops for hundreds of media, government, academic, and business groups across the United States, Canada, and Europe. She has also been a writing consultant for the Associated Press, the Drehscheibe Institute in Bonn, and the European Stars & Stripes in Germany.

This is a book that I will be re-reading for many years to come. Partly because there is so much useful information packed into its ages, and partly because some of it was way beyond my level of understanding. I’m hoping as I mature as an author I will be able to glean the extra hidden gems out of her words.

This book covers more than just grammar as she also goes through writing mechanics and storytelling devices. There is, however, an invaluable chapter on ‘Using the Right Word’, in which she goes through words whose meanings are constantly confused.

I don’t think I am doing this book justice in my description so please, do yourself a favour and buy it. Mine lives to the left of my computer.


519Hxd4M-ALStein on Writing

Sol Stein edited and published some of the outstanding writers of the 20th century, including James Baldwin, David Frost, Jack Higgins, Elia Kazan, Dylan Thomas, Lionel Trilling, W. H. Auden, Jacques Barzun, and three heads of state. He is a prize-winning playwright produced on Broadway, an anthologized poet, the author of nine novels, plus nonfiction books, screenplays, and TV dramas. His novel The Magician sold over one million copies.

Stein on Writing is an easy to read and understand book, written by a master writer and editor. He covers, amongst other things: writing good dialogue, conflict and suspense, creating fascinating characters, basics of plotting, first sentences and paragraphs, point of view, pace, liposuctioning the flab out of your book, love scenes and how to use your six senses.

This book has something for every writer, no matter what their experience level.


I am a huge James Scott Bell fan. His writing books look at writing from a different angle than other general writing books. If you have read so many writing books that they all start to sound the same, give James Scott Bell a go. His words make a refreshing change.


81EOMCabNFL._SL1500_Conflict and Suspense

I initially bought this book on Kindle but I loved it so much I now own the print version as well. Conflict and suspense is not just for mystery or thrillers. Its for all fiction books. Conflict and suspense is what keeps readers turning the pages and can be as simple as a need to know if Josie ever got the letter from her ex-lover that was lost in the mail. On the other end of the scale there is mayhem and murder which keep the readers riveted to the pages of your book.

James Scott Bell takes you through the different types of conflict, how to put conflict in dialogue, how to create suspense, and the different types of suspense you can utilise. He gives you examples and exercises.

This would have to be my favorite writing book so, of course, I highly recommend it.


71mVur7rqzL._SL1500_Plot and Structure

This is another corker of a book by James Scott Bell. It offers techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish.

It deals with: structure, beginnings, middles and endings, character arcs, how to develop plot ideas, plotting systems, revision, plot patterns and problems and tips and tools for plot and structure. He also looks at developing your back cover copy.




51KlV5Phf9LHow to Write a Damn Good Novel

James N. Frey is an internationally acclaimed creative writing teacher and workshop leader.  A damn good reason to read his book is that many participants of his workshops have gone on to publish with major New York houses and receive solid advances (as high as $2 million) and much critical acclaim.

This book is perfect for both beginners and professional writers who need a crash course in the basics of storytelling. Its topics include: creating sizzling characters, developing a compelling premise, telling a riveting story, bringing your story to a climax, resolving the conflict and establishing appropriate viewpoint.



91FNmcaelbL._SL1500_The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglusi have cleverly constructed a tool which examines the internal and external signs caused by the different emotions. I find this invaluable for helping with ‘showing not telling’ while writing, and I keep it in my favorite writing book pile next to my computer.

Well to be totally honest, I bought the kindle version which is fantastic, because you can easily navigate to the emotion you are interested in without having to flick through an entire book. All I can say is buy this if you are serious about producing good content in your novels.

Comments are closed.