I’ll make this simple. I’m a relative newcomer to writing, but have read a good-sized pile of “how-to” writing books: Stephen King, Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg, James Scott Bell, Donald Maas, Larry Brooks, Chris Roerden, Randy Ingermanson, Strunk and White, Nancy Kress, Rennie Browne, to name more than a few that come to mind. “The Writer’s Journey” by Christopher Vogler rises to the top of that list because it gets to the very heart of what makes a great book—great storytelling. The other books either dissect the art of storytelling into smaller bits (Roerden, Bell, et al), or take an oblique approach (Lamott, Goldberg, et al).
But right now, if you put a gun to my head and said, “Choose one writing book to take with you to the desert island,” I’d take “The Writer’s Journey.” If you’ve already read it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t—read it ASAP. I hope to be inspired by Vogler’s words and guidance more and more with each story I write. He’s the real deal. It’s not the easiest book to read, but it is well worth your time and effort.
What is your favorite how-to –write book? What writing books have you read that were disappointing in quality? Which ones surprised you on the plus side?