I studied computer science. I’m not native English. Not the best setup when diving into writing. So where the heck did I learn how to write books?
I’m planning to dedicate more detailed posts to the following sources, but I thought you would appreciate an overview. So here I go:
- Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee – The first book I read about writing. Even though it’s about writing screenplays, I think it contains invaluable advice for making your stories better. It’s also full of examples, which makes it a very interesting read.
- Writing Excuses by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tyler and Dan Wells – This is a podcast full of writing gems, with a focus on fantasy and science-fiction. Chapters are about 15-20 minutes long and are very insightful.
- Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tyler and Dan Wells – The book of a short-story project that the guys from Writing Excuses ran in their podcast. They started brainstorming ideas and then worked through several edits. You get to read their conversations and see how their stories changed from version to version. A real revelation.
- Write About Dragons by Brandon Sanderson – These are recordings of writing lessons taught by Brandon at BYU. Incredibly insightful.
- David Farland – Basically any of his books about writing. He’s running a newsletter with writing tips that you should subscribe to. David is also active on Twitter and very approachable.
Not on this list is NaNoWriMo, because it didn’t teach me anything about writing itself, but about myself. It showed me how productive I can be and what a rush writing can be. I recommend you give it a try. It’s a huge boost to motivation and helps you push through a very unique experience.
Are you missing anything on the list? Do you have a secret source of writing advice? I’d love to hear from you. Just post in the comments or drop me an email.