Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You

Zen in the Art of Writing - Ray Bradbury Short version: This is the best writing book I have ever read. Long version: This isn't going to be a very eloquent review. Good books on writing are difficult to find. For several of my classes, professors have assigned books about writing techniques, and all of them have been terrible. Some of them have graphs, others have ways of mapping out character development, but generally these books try to break writing down to its skeletal form and make a biology lesson of it. It ends up being overly technical and discouraging for new writers. Bradbury's book, on the other hand, deals more with how your imagination can work for you. He starts off Zen by stating that you only need two things in writing: "zest and gusto." According to him, once you lose your zest for writing, your stories will fall apart. He insists on writing what you're passionate about, and suggests ways of keeping your passion going. This may seem like common sense, but it's the most helpful advice I've ever received from a How-To writing book.(One piece of advice he offers is to put your nightmares in your stories. He says that if you're writing suspense, what scares you will scare your readers. He gives examples of how he drew on his fears and translated them into his novels. I tried it, and it definitely worked for me.)