Resources for Writers

Books on Writing

The Art of Fiction, John Gardner:  “Whatever the genre may be, fiction does its work by creating a dream in the reader’s mind.”

Steering the Craft, Ursula  K  Le Guinn:  pithy observations, examples  and great exercises. “The sound of language is where it all begins and what it all comes back to.”

Mystery and Manners, Flannery O’Connor:  “You ought to be able to discover something from your stories. If you don’t,  then probably no one else will.”
Thing Feigned or Imagined, Fred Stenson: “However you orchestrate your fictional text, you will confront the need  for something that makes the story move and urges the reader to move with it.” Thoughtful, direct, great examples.

The Agony and the Ego, ed. Claire Boylan:  original essays by writers such as John McGahern, Deborah Moggach and John Banville, among others.  Includes Fay Weldon  editing  herself with reproductions of the original text. A wonderful book, but  out of  print,  so snap it up if you find and second hand copy.

The Paris Review Interviews (several volumes): masters and mistresses of the craft reveal all, including a page of draft work showing editorial changes.

On Writing, Steven King:  writerly advice blended with autobiography. Very accessible.  “Let me urge that you take your story through at least two drafts; the one you do with the study door closed and the one you do with it open.”

Writing Fiction, A Guide to Narrative Craft., Janet Burroway:  A course book  that includes an anthology of contemporary short fiction,  useful discussion topics and exercises. Everything you need is in here, though it is expensive, and somewhat verbose.

The Writing Life, Annie Dillard:  “The line of words fingers your own heart.  It invades arteries, and enters the heart on a flood of breath; it presses the moving rims of thick valves; it palpates the dark muscle strong as horses, feeling for something, it knows not what.”
Self -Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Brown and Dave King.  Basic, practical advice on how to make your prose more compelling.

Self -Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Brown and Dave King:  basic, practical advice on how to make your prose more compelling.


The Writers’ Union of Canada

The Federation of BC Writers