My Favourite Books on Writing

I just did this short piece for my friend's new website - which will go live very soon - more news on that anon. But for now - some of my very favourite books on writing and some quotes - one mine, one by E L Doctorow.

Enjoy! Yours in Writing, Sarah X

PS Some interesting stuff coming up next week blog wise on the most overused things in YA fiction - triggered by a great piece in the latest SCBWI magazine - including irresponsible parents (Jackie Wilson), characters who like 80s/90s music (of the era when the writer was at school - very common all right!), and clumsy characters (a la Bella in Twilight). Are you guilty? Lots more next week . . . stay tuned!


If you want to or do write popular fiction, or kind of fiction really, the best book I’ve ever read on the subject is without doubt On Writing by Stephen King. It’s funny, inspiring and honest.

The best book on getting published is From Pitch to Publication by Carole Blake, an invaluable guide from an agent who really knows her stuff.

And the best book on living a writer’s life is The Right to Write by Julia Cameron Succinct, direct and truthful, a book I come back to over and over again if I’m in need of a little writerly pick me up.

Others I’ve found useful are:

The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner (American - get on Amazon or order in your local bookshop!) A fascinating book described as ‘a riveting safari through the wilds of a writer’s brain.’ Ever wondered what exactly editors think about when faced with a manuscript, then this is the book for you!

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is more memoir than writing guide, but is very entertaining. And finally, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, billed as how to ‘free the writer within’ is another good writerly pick-me-up.

My favourite writing quote is this one:

Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. E L Doctorow

The true secret of writing: bum glue. A good dollop every day, no excuses, no exceptions. It’s the only way you’ll ever finish a book. Bum glue and damn hard work. Sarah Webb (moi!)