Recently I’ve been writing a bit more of my own stuff, mostly short stories. When I found these books on my mum’s shelf, I decided to have a look at them to see if they could help me, and, unsurprisingly, they did!
• On Writing by Stephen King
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
This is the first book about writing I’ve ever read (except for Once Upon A Slime by Andy Griffiths, which I loved when I was about 10). I really liked Stephen King’s voice and how the book was part-memoir, part-book about writing. I found the memoir bit very inspiring, particularly when he talked about his childhood – I would love to make a magazine like Stephen King did!
As for the actual writing section, I learnt a lot about writing and, particularly, editing my short stories and how unnecessary information can just distract from the story itself.
My favourite tip from On Writing is that the second draft of a story is your first draft minus 10 per cent.
I would recommend this book for ages 14+ because some of the wording and language may be difficult for younger children and it involves drug use and coarse language.
• Letters To A Young Writer by Colum McCann
Publisher: Bloomsbury (Allen & Unwin)
This was the second writing book that I read and I found it less in-depth but still very good and practical. Much less dense, the book presents the information in short chapters or snippets, so you can dip in and out of it easily.
I liked how each chapter began with a quote from a famous author or figure in literature. I also really liked the aesthetic of the hardback book – it’s nice to look at and feels good to hold. It is the kind of book that would make a nice gift.
My favourite tip from this book was to use your writing like a camera – to describe the surroundings with the colour and clarity of a picture.
I would recommend this book for ages 12+ because, again, some kids may not get their heads around the writing and it does contain some mild coarse language.