My Top 12 Favorite Writing Books by Beth Barany
My top 12 favorite writing books, in no particular order…
I admit. It’s a somewhat random list, and not all the books are only about writing, but are actually about creativity — that which underpins all our work.
We are all the sum of our parts and our teachers. And I consider these authors and their books my teachers. I am the writer I am today because of them, and all my hard work, of course. 😉
My Top 12
Short, direct, to-the-point. When the going gets tough I think about his definition of resistance and how it’s directly proportional to the challenge I face. The harder the challenge the more resistance. When I realize that opposing force as a force of nature, I relax and get to work.
Her advice to start small, write in a small frame, helps me focus on what’s in front of me.
I read this book at 20 years old and was a yearning quivering newbie writer who didn’t know anything. This book helped me write anything and everything in a journal I carried with me everywhere. Still carry it everywhere. And still give myself permission to write anything and everything in there.
I love how Shawn breaks out story structure. So many lightbulbs went off reading this book. It’s simple and complex and so helpful when I want to analyze what’s not working in my stories. I use it for planning too and appreciate the scaffolding it offers.
Some golden nuggets in this book, especially the “consciousness sandwich” which I’ve adapted to help me write description mixed with dialogue and inner thought.
Without this book I would have never written my first novel. No, you won’t ever get to read it, but I felt such a thrill and sense of pride finishing it. Then I knew I could write another one and another…
First published in 1938, this practical book by a lifelong write reminds me to stay grounded and take walks.
I admit — I haven’t finished this book because I did a fabulous exercise in it and was off and writing. But I think about her lesson of just writing what you observe — no more, no less — and use that as a starting point when I’m stuck. I will finish it, eventually.
Her discipline! I bow in awe. If I can still show up in my writing studio with half her focus and discipline, I’m doing all right.
He cracked open the inner workings of what is creativity for all of us, showing that it’s something we all have and also something that we can cultivate and become excellent at. And it’s still hard to define.
A wonderful story structure book for “writing stories of feminine creative, spiritual and sexual awakening.” Yep, that’s the subtitle. This book has been so helpful in understanding the beats to these interior stories of transformation.
Oh boy. This book opened my eyes to a story structure I’ve had all around me since I was a wee thought in my mother’s belly. Fairy tales and folk tales, myths and legends are all structured this way. When I discovered this book, my brain exploded and then I could finally write my fantasy adventure series, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, my first novel, an award-winning epic tale about a young woman who thought she was done being a hero, but so wasn’t.
What are your favorite writing books (and/or creativity books)?
Share in the comments below.
PS. Yes, all these books are on my shelf. 🙂
ABOUT BETH BARANY
Beth Barany is creativity coach for writers, a teacher, workshop facilitator, and speaker, who helps fiction writers experience clarity, so that they can write and polish their novels, and proudly publish them to the delight of their readers.
Owner of the Barany School of Fiction, an online training hub, Beth takes great interest in how humans learn, create, and grow, and includes all her students’ life experiences, including the ancestors, into the moment.
*Questions? Just drop Beth a line here.
*Start your writer’s adventure with the Free 5-Day Writer Discovery course here: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/your-writer-discovery-mini-course/.