The Definitive

Litopia Writers’ Reading List 2024

Peter Cox, founder of Litopia

I asked our members a simple question.

Which books have had the most profound impact on your development as a writer?

Here’s what they told me. A glorious cornucopia of more than forty definitive titles that ought to be on your reading list.

And note: if you buy them all (why not?) it will still be cheaper than taking one average-priced commercial writing course.

We’ve all enjoyed putting this list together, and we hope you get as much out of it as we have.

Peter Cox

71+b-pLLvNL._SL1429_

The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman And Becca Puglisi

Our Summary

A great one to dip in and out of if you find yourself repeating yourself in terms of showing-not-telling emotions. Gives lots of examples.

What I learned From It

Ideas to avoid repetition and alternative ways to say the same things if emotional reactions are repeated through the story.

Claire G

Buy UK

Buy US

51cVKn-RmIS._SL1000_

Techniques Of The Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain

Our Summary

First published in 1965, Swain's book is a no-nonsense, broad-brush instruction manual for beginners that shows you how to construct a commercial story.

What I learned From It

The basic shape of commercial fiction (and how unchanging that shape has been for more than half a century). Every other writing manual I've ever read has felt like a retelling or offshoot of this book.

Rich.

Buy UK

Buy US

71w8YtbEqrL._SL1500_

Writing Historical Fiction by Emma Darwin

Our Summary

A beginners' guide to writing historical fiction which draws on the material in her coaching sessions and lectures: characters, plot structure, research, using your senses to recreate the past and psychic distance. There are plenty of examples and exercises.

What I learned From It

I still dip into this book if I'm stuck in my writing or need some inspiration. It's practical rather than theoretical which works for me.

Liz Brown

Buy UK

Buy US