Off-the-Wall Books for Writers

Creative writers own books on writing. Those books are easy to find, but there are other books that writers can learn from, ones you may not think about and I am here to help.

Games People Play by Eric Berne. It is a basic book about transactional analysis. STOP. Don’t get scared and run away. This book has sold millions and was published back in 1964. The title says it all. People play games; life games, marital games, sexual games, underworld games, and on and on. None of it on video by the way. This is how people interact, the games we play with each other. This is good for writers to develop characters. What type of person is your character? How about the “If it weren’t for you game.” A character who blames other people for holding them back in some way. A writer can learn how the game is played and how the person plays it out and use that trait in developing  a character. An insightful book on human behavior, one that can make a writers characters real.

I will pause here before continuing to scary books for advanced writers.  Spunk and Bite by Arthur Plotnik is not only a fun read, but one whose message is we should forget the classic book on writing style “The Elements of Style” by Strunk and White  because it is wrong, at least for today’s writers. And when you read the book you will agree. Crisp, witty, perceptive, Plotnik makes the profound simple and delightful.

And now for post graduate work.

Berne’s book will work for any creative writer. but if you want something more advanced and you want to write something complex, say along the lines of Dostoyevsky you may want to dive into Denial of Death by Ernest Becker. It won a Pulitzer Prize winner and is in one word-challenging. The book talks about the philosopher Kierkegaard, the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, how we deny death, psychology, religion, and the heroic individual. You can run away now if you like, or you could read Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung. An excellent book for reading about dreams, symbols, deep psychological and cultural meanings. This is a book for those who seek metaphor. So if you have a bent for James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, and the like this book will be helpful.

Or you can pick up any book on mythology and use those cast of characters to draw from, giving them new names and new stories and in doing so, you create a new mythos using previously created symbols and metaphors. And you can bypass those ‘heavy’ books. Aren’t you glad you didn’t run away?

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