Young Writers Society

Home » Forums » Resources » Writing Tips

Any Exceptional Books About Writing?

User avatar
438 Reviews

Gender: Female
Points: 2999
Reviews: 438
Sun May 11, 2008 5:04 pm
JFW1415 says...

I have a book that I love, but I'm too lazy to go find it and tell you about it. Maybe later?

But I love podcasts. Go on iTunes, and type in 'Writing Excuses.' Listen to them, and then you can even check out the suggestions they have. (You know, the whole 'subscribers also liked...' thing.)

They're really amazing. I just downloaded 50 to my iPod, and I plan on listening to them all. Finally, something productive to do on the bus!

And a bonus: they're free!


Edit: I just listened to several podcasts, and I would say that is 'TheWritingCast' my all time favorite (so far.) I love it, and they're pretty short. (Around 10 minutes.) They're really helpful.

Also, the book I was talking about is called: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Novel by Tom Monteleone. It is wonderful, and completely reader-friendly.

User avatar
57 Reviews

Gender: Female
Points: 6757
Reviews: 57
Sat Sep 26, 2009 1:33 am
narniafreak12 says...

Defintitely Seize the Story by Victoria Hanley.

It goes through different tips about writing plus has interviews from author's and they give advice to writers.

User avatar
370 Reviews

Gender: Female
Points: 20503
Reviews: 370
Sun Oct 11, 2009 7:54 am
View Likes
empressoftheuniverse says...

JFW1415 wrote:But I love podcasts. Go on iTunes, and type in 'Writing Excuses.' Listen to them, and then you can even check out the suggestions they have. (You know, the whole 'subscribers also liked...' thing.)

They are fabulous. I also recommend Mur Lafferty's I Should Be Writing ISBW. Free, over 200 episodes, interviews with famous sci-fi, and fantasy authors, and she goes over everything from cons to shyness to the muse to getting an agent... cannot rave enough
This podcast inspired me to write. Check it out on itunes.
Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart.
*Le Bible
Royal Reviews Here!

User avatar

Gender: Female
Points: 1167
Reviews: 1
Thu Nov 12, 2009 4:29 am
View Likes
luverly says...

I love 'Writing Magic' by Gail Carson Levine, it was the first book I ever read about writing and I still use a lot of things I read in that now.

And 'Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life' by Anne Lamott is a good book.

User avatar
27 Reviews

Gender: Male
Points: 4054
Reviews: 27
Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:05 pm
View Likes
Critiq says...

Gotham Writer's Workshop: Writing Fiction

Very excellent book. I've also tried Writing Magic but it is definitely geared towards younger, more mainstream writers.
Spoiler! :
I like people thinking that I have something so scandalous to say that I put it in spoiler tags, and I'm sorry that because of this selfish desire you were roped into reading this for not real lasting value.

User avatar
8 Reviews

Gender: Male
Points: 1782
Reviews: 8
Mon Nov 16, 2009 7:45 pm
View Likes
Rakun says...

In any case, I would strongly suggest Tao of Writing by Ralph L. Wahlstrom if you're looking for motivation/inspiration from a different/new point of view. I like Ralph's Tao of Writing because evokes a connection between the Taoism and the writing itself. On the last pages of the book, there are some interesting exercises.

Don't matter what, just WRITE!

Do you YWS?

User avatar
287 Reviews

Gender: Female
Points: 7596
Reviews: 287
Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:28 pm
View Likes
Moriah Leila says...

Everyday Creative Writing: Panning for Gold in the Kitchen Sink by Michael C. Smith is pretty awesome. It has a ton of writing exercises, and I've gotten inspiration for all sorts of short stories from these exercises. Plus it makes the ordinary so much more exciting. Mundane tasks have become adventures for me, and I look for a story in almost everything I do.
I am not addicted to reading, I can quit as soon as I finish one more chapter.

User avatar
24 Reviews

Gender: Female
Points: 3013
Reviews: 24
Thu Dec 17, 2009 2:24 pm
View Likes
Kelcia says...

I enjoy "Writing Magic" By Gail Carson Lavine, and "Writing for Dummies".
Mutant Plot Bunnies

Is it just me, or are the plot bunnies taking advantage of my ADD?



User avatar
111 Reviews

Gender: Female
Points: 4300
Reviews: 111
Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:31 pm
Ruth says...

There are a lot of "Dummies" books that I'm told are rather good. I'm getting one for Christmas :D

And there's an e-zine by Randy Ingermanson which I get, it's really very good.

Hope it helps
She's alive because she is not dead,
and junk."

User avatar
134 Reviews

Gender: Male
Points: 15966
Reviews: 134
Sun Jan 10, 2010 11:22 am
View Likes
Hippie says...

Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King is good. And I get Randy Ingermanson's e-zine as well. It's good and its free, so there's nothing to lose.
Q: Where do you go to buy shoes?

A: At the shoez canal, lol.

User avatar
1265 Reviews

Gender: Other
Points: 91649
Reviews: 1265
Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:56 am
View Likes
Rosendorn says...

I think I read a feeeeew too many writing books:

Dynamic characters by Nancy Kress. One of the most complete character-building books I have read. Goes how manerisms build a character, and how to, in general, show character traits rather than tell them.

45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt. A very good book to "click" characters into place. It provides motivations, fears, opinions and ways to grow various character moulds. Especially good if your characters are suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder. I found this book helped me get them into place.

Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Kress again. Her character segment isn't as complete as her other book, but the advice on emotion and viewpoint is very nice. I still refer to some of her emotion advice every now and again.

The Writer's Journey by Christopher Vogler. This book basically explains the three-act structure and how each character is supposed to grow during each segment of the story. It can look like a plot book from one angle, and a character book from the other.

Beginnings, Middles & Endings a third book by Kress. This explains more about pacing, and takes a different (and less rigid) view on three-act structure. It also had me laughing!

The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference (no author). A ton of info on myth, as well as historical information. Useful for anybody writing in the Meadeval era.

The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy Volume I Info on world creation, plot construction, race construction, fighting, food, religion, dress, and a host of other stuff. Haven't read this book cover to cover but I keep going back to it for minor details that are so hard to find elsewhere.

And I have to throw in a book that's not about writing, but I consider a must-have:

100,000+ Baby Names by Bruce Lansky. Vital if you want to reach past normal names.
A writer is a world trapped in a person— Victor Hugo

Ink is blood. Paper is bandages. The wounded press books to their heart to know they're not alone.

#TNT powered reviews

User avatar
490 Reviews

Gender: None specified
Points: 23410
Reviews: 490
Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:22 pm
View Likes
Tenyo says...

Grammar for Dummies!

I know the Dummies books have already been mentioned, but this was/is a huge help to me. It taught me all the basics of how words slot together, so that I could spend 90% of my effort working on the ideas in my head, rather than 90% working out how to put them onto a page.
We were born to be amazing.

User avatar

Gender: Female
Points: 300
Reviews: 0
Fri Jun 04, 2010 7:21 pm
View Likes
Alexa says...

I've just finished reading Gotham Writers' Workshop; although I have to admit I've left out the chapter on revision. I will read that whenever it has become necessary.

I've looked into Sol Stein's Stein on Writing quite a few times now, and I have to say I really like it. It's less practical (e.g. there are no writing prompts or exercises) but it's definitely a good read. Stein shares some really interesting tips.

I have Dibell's Plot lying around somewhere, I will probably get to that during my holiday in August!

I have just ordered James V. Smith's Writer's Little Helper. I saw an extract from it somewhere (that nifty graph that you can use to outline your plot) and apparently it's very visual. Since I like to plan everything I do carefully using graphs, maps, tables etc I believe this book could be helpful to me.

I was looking for a cheap copy of Monica Wood's Description, but I couldn't find one. I'll probably order one whenever I have the money, though!
Dreams can be such dangerous things; they smolder on like a fire does,
and sometimes consume us completely. — Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha

User avatar
246 Reviews


Gender: Female
Points: 16495
Reviews: 246
Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:32 am
View Likes
RacheDrache says...

If You Want To Write by Brenda Ueland is my writing bible, so to speak. It might be a bit hippie-dippie for some people, but I found it incredibly inspiring. Most importantly, perhaps, my writing improved halfway through it.

Others have mentioned On Writing by Stephen King. I second or third or fourth that motion.

And this might not be the place, but I have to caution against Bird by Bird by Annie Lammott. A lot of published writers seem to trumpet it, but I don't think it's for our generation. Same stuff you probably already know--make your characters believable, plot sucks, dialogue should be realistic but not too realistic, blah.

User avatar
14 Reviews

Gender: Female
Points: 1735
Reviews: 14
Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:04 pm
View Likes
DissolvedIntoCoffee says...

RachaelElg wrote:
And this might not be the place, but I have to caution against Bird by Bird by Annie Lammott. A lot of published writers seem to trumpet it, but I don't think it's for our generation. Same stuff you probably already know--make your characters believable, plot sucks, dialogue should be realistic but not too realistic, blah.

Ugh, seconded. Can't stand Bird by Bird. It's exactly what you said-- she just spews the obvious. Worse than that, it borders on obsolete. I just couldn't get behind her.

And to that end, I second (third, fourth, fifth) On Writing. I totally worshipped that book for some time.
"We'd live under the sun and talk so fast."

If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.
— Oscar Wilde