Recommended reading

Here are some of my personal recommendations for books on writing, or those that I have found useful or relevant to my own creative writing. Please let me know if there are any I have missed that you would recommend to fellow writers, in the comments section below!

Top of my list is Reading Like a Writer by the aptly-named Francine Prose. A great starting point for anyone who wants to learn how a novel works. Which brings me neatly to How Novels Work by John Mullan,

Every writer should have a decent dictionary – and I keep not only an English dictionary on my desk, but also an Australian dictionary, a Reverse Dictionary and a thesaurus. Yes, I know I can use the internet but it’s just not the same! I also love flicking through other ‘books of words’ such as Bill Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors, and David Crystal is my go-to for anything grammar-related – also take a look at his Spell It Out for the history of English spelling.

Unsurprisingly, writers love to write about their occupation and to offer advice to others, and I can recommend Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft as a starting point. I particularly enjoy reading about the process a writer has followed when researching and writing a specific novel, and as I have a particular interest in Australian literature I am happy to recommend the novel The Secret River by Kate Grenville, and her account of its creation, In Search of the Secret River.

I hope these recommendations whet your appetite for further reading about the nuts-and-bolts of writing.

In my next ‘recommended reading’ post I’ll talk about novels about writing and writers.