Probably the question I get asked most by keen young authors is where do I get my ideas, which has a very long answer. The children then drill down into the how of writing, which is why I’m so excited to have just published my Creative Writing Skills workbook. As an author, I spend a lot of time thinking about the technical side of writing, and have a long list of books I recommend to other authors including On Writing by Stephen King (the audio version narrated by himself is amazing), Save the Cat Writes a Novel (the title does make sense, honestly!) and The Emotion Thesaurus (the rest of the series is still on my wish list).
Writing Fiction – a user-friendly guide is a very readable beginners guide, half the length of the hefty On Writing. It sets out some great examples from really well known books (and some films, paralleling Save the Cat in approach) which keeps it highly accessible and I’d recommend it to those getting started in creative writing and looking to hone their skills. Given it’s quite short and covers a lot of ground, I’d also recommend it to GCSE/ A level students to help them understand the tools and techniques used by the authors they are studying.
The twenty-four chapters cover every important matter you need to know about, including: devising a compelling story, creating and developing characters, plotting, ‘plants’, backstory, suspense, dialogue, ‘show’ and ‘tell’, and how to make your novel more real than reality.
Also featuring special guest advice from legendary screenwriter Bob Gale, who wrote the three immortal Back to the Futuremovies (1985, 1989 and 1990), and novelist and screenwriter William Osborne, whose many screen credits include the co-writing of the blockbuster Twins (1988), this highly entertaining book gives you all the advice and practical guidance you need to make your dream of becoming a published fiction writer come true.
James Essinger has been a professional writer since 1988. His non-fiction books include Jacquard’s Web (2004),Ada’s Algorithm(2013), which is to be filmed by Monumental Pictures, and Charles and Ada: the computer’s most passionate partnership (2019).His novels include The Mating Game(2016) and The Ada Lovelace Project(2019).
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