Useful Reading

Useful Reading

Creative Writing Course Books with Writing Exercises

Bell, Julia and Paul Magrs (Eds) The Creative Writing Coursebook

Brande, Dorothea On Becoming a Writer – 1934. A classic on automatic writing.

Cowan, Andrew The Art of Writing Fiction

Cox, Ailsa Writing Short Stories


Reflections on Writing and Other Good Books

Atwood, Margaret On Writers and Writing

Boylan, Clare (ed.), The Agony and the Ego: The Art and Strategy of Fiction Writing Explored.

Forster, E.M. Aspects of the Novel Fascinating lecture series delivered at Cambridge in 1927. Round and flat characters are discussed here.

Gardner, John On Becoming a Novelist. Wonderful reading. The novel as ‘vivid and continuous dream’.

King, Stephen On Writing. Highly readable. Plot is seen as a fossil that needs to be excavated.

Lodge, David The Art of Fiction. Brilliant collection of literary newspaper columns to dip into.

Mullan, John How Novels Work. Very useful reading.

O’Connor, Flannery Mystery and Manners

Orwell, George Why I Write      

Prose, Francine Reading Like a Writer

Smith, Ali Artful

Wood, James How Fiction Works. Insightful stuff.

Woolf, Virginia A Writer’s Diary

Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook 2017 (Bloomsbury) Comes out yearly. List of agents and publishers as well as lots of advice from different authors on genre writing, getting started, getting published, etc.


Punctuation and Grammar Guides

Oxford Everyday Grammar

Rediscover Grammar and Making Sense of Grammar, David Crystal

The Penguin Guide to Punctuation. It matters!


Emma Darwin’s This Itch of Writing tool kit. Excellent explanations of the nuts and bolts of the craft with plenty of examples. For instance, the article on showing and telling will really help you get to grips with this. There’s a great reading list.

Christopher Fielden’s Short Story Competition List. Regularly updated and seems comprehensive.

Writing Exercises. Random plot and character prompt generator to help break writing blocks. If you like being given random first lines and situations, this will be fun.

Are there are a limited number of plots? Many writers and critics have thought so. Changing Minds gives a list of the different theories with brief summaries.