Seven Fab Advice Books for Writers

Category: Writing

One of the best tips for any aspiring writer is to read, read and read some more. It doesn’t matter what you’re reading, the very act of absorbing words will help inform your own process. That said, sometimes something with a little more guidance can be helpful and that’s why we’ve drawn together a few books that are great for getting you started and for getting the engine going again when you’re stalling creatively.


How Novels Work
How Novels Work

by John Mullen


Breaking down a selection of extracts from notable novels (including Monica Ali's Brick Lane, J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace, Don DeLillo's Underworld, Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and more), Mullen gives us a good look at the components that go into making long form fiction work.



Into the Woods
Into the Woods: A Five Act Journey into Story

by John Yorke


Excellent reading for screenwriters (as well as anyone who’s keen to dig into the why’s and why not’s of plot), Yorke takes Shakespeare’s five-act approach to structure and looks at how it plays out over storytelling in all narrative forms – from film to theatre and novels.



Stage Writing
Stage Writing: A Practical Guide

Val Taylor


This classic book is a great choice for anyone who’s either new to playwrighting or who is in need of some prompts to get them back into the groove. It covers really important ground like building relationships with audiences and actors as well as tips for understanding the physical space of the stage.



Forest for the Trees
The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice for Writers

Betsy Learner


Not so much a book about writing as a book that helps you get to grips with the realities of being a writer, this is a funny and precise piece of prose packed with interesting observations from a former editor in New York’s top publishing houses.



Monkeys with Typewriters
Monkeys with Typewriters

Scarlett Thomas


Thomas covers a whole host of different topics in this engaging read. With years of lecturing on creative writing at University of Kent behind her, Thomas takes the reader through everything from narrative mode to the eight basic storylines in a way sure to fire up enthusiasm.  



Making Comics
Making Comics

Scott McCloud


Master of the theory and nuance behind making comics, Scott McCloud’s follow up to the excellent Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics is a fantastic resource that gets right into the nooks and crannies of comic creation, from the broadest principles to the sharpest details.



Creative Writing Coursebook

The Creative Writing Coursebook

Edited by Julia Bell and Paul Magrs


Following the structure of a twelve week creative writing course, this is a chunky and practical book with advice and exercises from 40 different writers. Yes, you read that right, 40. So there’s sure to be a nugget or two in there for everyone.



For more reading inspiration, be sure to check out our book lists.

Title image by congerdesigns, Pixaby