As a former English major, I’ve had the misfortune pleasure of coming
there’s something thrilling about the way certain writers can take readers behind the curtain of how stories are told. Some authors bring the same verve and deftness to their accounts of the process as they do with their acclaimed fiction and nonfiction; others turn the building blocks of stories into something unpredictable, leading readers to view the telling of stories in a whole new light.
Here’s a look at ten distinct takes on the art of storytelling, from writers with a vast array of experience. Some focus on the craft of fiction, while others grapple with personal stories or the process of turning grand ideas into compelling narratives. Whether you’re looking for advice on your own work-in-progress or simply seeking a greater understanding of literary craft, there’s plenty to ponder in these works.Buy it from Amazon
Philip Pullman’s fiction has been beloved by readers of all ages; his bibliography encompasses a wide range of genres, tones, and settings, and he’s adept at weaving together historical and philosophical elements into compelling stories. In his book Daemon Voices, he explores his own experience with storytelling alongside lessons from literary history, reaching profound conclusions about the nature of narrative.Buy it from Amazon
We’re in the midst of a welcome resurgence of interest in the works of James Baldwin right now–and whether it’s his fiction or nonfiction, there are plenty of gems for readers to discover and revisit. Baldwin was also an astute literary critic, and in works like Nobody Knows My Name, those looking for insightful takes on the art of storytelling will find plenty to mull over.
As a writer and editor, Jeff VanderMeer has both taken readers to bizarre and compelling words of his own creation and helped make the case for authors whose work may be less well-known. In Wonderbook, VanderMeer shares his knowledge of the craft of stories through prose, illustrations, and testimonials from other writers. It’s a writing guide like no other.Buy it from Amazon
For some writers, the art of telling stories and putting narratives on paper is inherently wrapped up in the greater part of one’s everyday life: in other words, the quotidian and the creative are inseparable. Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird is an invaluable guide to navigating those spaces, and discovering how your own larger life can impact the stories you tell.Buy it from Amazon
In her acclaimed fiction, Nalo Hopkinson has blended visions of the distant future with timeless aspects of folklore and mythology, creating powerfully resonant stories that have captivated readers. Her short book Report From Planet Midnight addresses her approach to fiction, as well as summoning up questions regarding representation in the world of genre fiction.