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  • Writer's pictureMarni Scofidio

Lifesavers: My Favourite Books on Creative Writing

Updated: Jun 16


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Nail Your Novel by Roz Morris


A pro who knows whereof she speaks and when she speaks, ignore her at your peril. (You want to check out her exquisite fiction, too.)



Like having intimate conversations with the successful writer who is also your best friend. I love the metaphor of writing a novel being like travelling by boat. There is no built path to follow and you have to continually keep yourself on course. Beautiful, poetic, endlessly encouraging. Yes, you can.



This book by the prolific Michael La Ronn led me to an incredibly important epiphany regarding my own writing career, and may help me banish or at least manage the single thing that stops me enjoying the discipline that keeps me alive: fear. Invaluable. One I can see myself returning to again and again.


Taking Reality By Surprise ed. Susan Sellars


An anthology of everything from writing excercises to playing to funny essays by the ever-entertaining Sue Roe, amongst many others.


Writing a Novel by Dorothy Bryant


The original indie author, mentioned and championed by May Sarton in one of her journals. Writing as an organic process. Also interesting from the historical point of view on how much harder writing was using typewriters.



She doesn't give the game away on how she actually writes her brilliant books; but it's incredibly comforting to know that the same bugbears you battle as a writer afflicted your writing heroes, too. A short, informative, and entertaining read; a must for all crime writers.


The Agony and the Ego by Clare Boylan


A classic collection of essays by a cornucopia of working writers. This should still be in print and available as an ebook.



Does what it says on the tin. Honest advice that works.



A quote I carried everywhere with me in my youth:


'Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.' ― Madame Bovary


'You don't know what it is to stay a whole day with your head in your hands trying to squeeze your unfortunate brain so as to find a word... ah, the agonies of style!'


Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke


'…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.'

-- 1903









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