Welcome to the second installment of the Teen Writer's Toolkit! This week I want to provide a resource of great books and websites on writing for you to check out. What's the best part about this list? All of the books on it are available at the library, and of course the websites you can visit for free, so you don't have to pay a dime for all this writing advice!
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft - Stephen King
I read this book a long time ago, but it's still one of my favourites. For the first half of the book King provides a memoir about how he became a writer and I have to tell you, there's nothing more satissfying than knowing that he too wrote his fair share of crummy stories and got mountains of rejection letters. Nobody gets to be a literary icon overnight, that's for sure.
The second half of his book is all of the advice he has for writers. I must admit I'm not a fan of King's fiction, he's just not my thing, but he is a good writer and his tips are helpful no matter what you're writing. A lot of his advice has stayed with me over the years, so I hope it'll be helpful for you too.
Sarah Selecky's Website
Sarah Selecky is one of my favourite fiction writers. I read her book of short stories This Cake is for the Party a couple of years ago and fell in love. I highly reccomend that young writers check out Selecky's website as it is a wealth of wisdom on the writing life. You can even sign up for the letters she emails out twice a month which are full of writing insights.
Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life - Anne Lamott
I can't believe I didn't know about this writing book until a couple of years ago. I enjoy it a lot because Lamott really does mean it when she says the book is about writing AND life: she gives a lot of good advice about both. We writers seems to like our "writers therapy" or just griping about the writing life and this book appeals to that desire while also being really insightful.
I'll be honest, I haven't poked around into all the nooks and crannies of this literary website, and that's because it's packed with a lot of content. I first found out about it through author Chuck Palahniuk's tweets. The link I've given you will take you to the "Columns" part of the "Magazine" section for Litreactor, which has lots of cool articles for writers. The site does also offer space for writers to workshop their work and take online writing courses, but that content costs money unfortunately.
Zen in the Art of Writing - Ray Bradbury
I'm pretty sure it was my parents that bought me this book. It's a good over-all how-to book for writers. Bradbury covers a wide range of subjects, from finding your voice and developing your style as a writer, to some hints about the publishing world. He does it all with a great deal of passion for his craft and you can't help but love this quote from the book: "That’s the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.” I like the notion of ideas as cats. It takes some work to get them to follow you, because sometimes they'd rather do anything than listen to whatever order you're trying to impose upon them. My last thought on this book: it's by freakin' Ray Bradbury, the guy's a legend so there's some guaranteed good advice in here.