Posted by Kristen M. Ploetz in Bookshelf on December 19, 2014
First, a little housekeeping.* A week ago, I wrote this post, Nine Things I Wonder About Other Writers. The reaction was unprecedented, particularly given my usual low readership/commenter-ship. I’m pretty small potatoes and quite honestly am so touched by the response. In fact, I still have not had enough time to respond to some of the comments, for which I apologize. I have been volunteering at my daughter’s school quite a bit this week, and last night was sidelined with a crushing migraine. I promise to respond to each comment on that blog post in due course.
That post then lead to others answering the same questions on their own blogs, and I strongly encourage all of you to read those and their respective comments. So far, FIFTEEN (!) other writers/bloggers have each written a post: Nina Badzin, Lindsey Mead (A Design So Vast), Lara Anderson (Joy, Lovely Joy), Justine Uhlenbrock (Heirloom Mothering), Andrea Jarrell, Stacey Loscalzo, Tricia Mirchandani (Raising Humans), Rivki Silver (Life in the Married Lane), Rudri Bhatt Patel (Being Rudri), Sarah Brentyn (Lemon Shark), Rebecca Klempner, Angelique Marcom, Dana Schwartz, Evelyn A. Lauer, and Zsofia McMullin (Hunglish Girl). If there are others I missed, please leave a comment and I’ll add you here too.
All of the responses, wherever they might appear, have been very insightful, helpful, and, if nothing else, make certain doubts and/or hesitations (of mine) feel normal. This is why I recommend reading those other posts and the comments to my original post.
BUT! I thought it might be helpful, to aggregate the recommended “must have/must read” writing craft books mentioned in all the various posts/comments in one spot (as of 12/22/14), so that is what this post is meant to do. As a reminder, I specifically asked people to leave off books by Anne Lamott, Lee Gutkind, Dani Shapiro, and Natalie Goldberg (because I have those). I am presently time-pressed, so I’m going to skip hyperlinks at the moment, figuring that we all know where that certain jungle of a book buying website can be found, or at least our local bookseller or library.
On Writing, Stephen King (by FAR the most recommended)
Steering the Craft, Ursula Leguin (for fiction)
How Fiction Works, James Wood
From Where You Dream, Robert Olen Butler (for fiction)
Burning Down the House, Charles Baxter (for fiction)
On Writing Well, William Zinsser
Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, by Burroway & Stuckey-French eds.
The Getaway Car, Anne Patchett
The Art of the Personal Essay, Philip Lopate
The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets, Ted Kooser
Cheryl Strayed’s “Write Like A Motherf*cker“ (in her Dear Sugar column on The Rumpus)
Becoming A Writer, Dorothea Brande
The War of Art, Stephen Pressfield
Writing Begins With the Breath, Laraine Herring
What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers, Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter
Writing Motherhood, Lisa Garrigues
***(EDITED 12/22/14 to add additional blog posts and books, and 1/5/15 to add more blog posts)***
If there are other must have/must read writing craft books that you think warrant inclusion, leave the title/author in a comment and I’ll add them to the list.
*Another bit of housekeeping: (1) A few folks (I think because of either Nina’s or Lindsey’s mention of my post on their Facebook pages) have requested to become friends with me on Facebook. I do have a personal FB account, but I keep it very private and limited to just my closest family and friends, so if you try to connect via that one, I am not likely to accept, sorry. I do this more for my family’s privacy than mine. But I do have a “Kristen Ploetz, Writer” page that you can search for on there and “like,” and I hope that you do. (2) I’ve recently switched my Instagram account (@littlelodestar) to private. It won’t affect existing followers, but anyone else new I will have to approve first. I’m doing this to cut down on the spam I was receiving, but also because I like to know who’s looking of photos of my personal life, that I’m more or less happy to share, but within reason. (For instance, I was getting a few private accounts following me that wouldn’t reciprocate. Sorry. Dealbreaker. That kind of one-sidedness creeps me out.)
Thanks for your understanding.
Copyright (c) 2014 Kristen M. Ploetz