Rachael Thomas on Writing Books

Okay, it’s confession time. I have a serious addiction to how-to books, or to be more specific, books on the craft of writing in general and romance writing in particular.IMG_0082

It’s a collection I’ve been adding to since I bought my first one in 2006. That was Kate Walker’s 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance and even better, it’s signed! I was attending my first writing course, which was Kate’s weekend course in Fishguard, run by Writers’ Holiday. This is one of the books which is my constant companion on my desk as I write. The other is The Emotional Thesaurus and of course, a dictionary.


One of my favourite to read, is Wannabe a Writer? by Jane Wenham-Jones. This brilliant book, telling all you need to know about being a writer, covers everything from the discipline of writing and keeping at it to writers’ bottom. A must read for anyone who hasn’t encountered this book.


As you see from the first photo, my bookshelves are now tightly packed with these books, but I don’t expect it will dissuade me from adding to them in the future.

So what’s the attraction of all these books? Writing is a solitary occupation and it’s great to be able to dip in and out of these books, referencing things that suddenly make me question myself and my writing. Like those moments when suddenly housework becomes amazingly interesting and you’re convinced you can’t write. I’m sure we can all relate to that at some point!

I’d love to know if there are any more serious collectors of these books out there. Also, if you have a favourite book on writing, what is it? I might just want to add it to my groaning shelves!


14 thoughts on “Rachael Thomas on Writing Books

  1. Oh, Rachael, I’m so glad it’s not just me!

    Like you, I love buying these sort of books, and I started reading them long before I started actually writing. In fact, it was Jane Wenham-Jones’ book, “Wannabe a Writer?” that gave me the courage to begin.

    I also have Kate Walker’s book and found it really good. I suspect it’s aimed more at category romance writers but it’s still a brilliant read and really useful. Some other books I have are “Write Your Novel From The Middle” by James Scott Bell, “Rock Your Plot” by Cathy Yardley, “On Writing Romance” by Leigh Michaels, “The Writer’s ABC Checklist” by Lorraine Mace, “Writing For Love” by Chrissie Manby, “To Writers With Love” by Mary Wibberley, and “Little Book of Writing Romance” by Liz Fielding, as well as many others.

    I particularly love Sue Moorcroft’s “Love Writing”. I keep going back to that one. In fact, I may re-read quite a few of these, now that I think about it. I find them very inspiring.

    Great post, Rachael! x

  2. I was like that for a few years!! I read millions of ‘How to Write’ books for ages until I eventually realised it would help if I actually wrote rather than just read books. My favourite though was the American ‘On Writing Romance’ by Leigh Michaels. I did one of her online classes too and it was super. I wouldn’t mind doing it again someday, Lynne

  3. I so enjoyed Jane’s book, I Wanna Be a Writer, I went on one of her courses at Chez Castillon in France. Excellent course, excellent location.

    I think that, no matter how long you’ve been writing, books and courses remind you of stuff it’s easy to lose sight of.

  4. My first book on writing was Jane Wenham-Jones’ Wannabe a Writer and after that I read so many!
    Stephen King’s On Writing was a good one…semi autobiographical which made it that bit different. Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird was fabulous too, but there are just so many to recommend! I think I’ve read around 15 books on writing and I’m still finding others, it’s just a matter of having the time!
    Thanks for sharing, Rachael, I really enjoyed this post.
    Helen R 🙂

  5. Great post, Rachael. I too have Kate Walker’s! One book I particularly enjoyed was ‘How not to write a novel’ by Howard Mittelmark & Sandra Newman. It is about general fiction, not romance, but it’s humorous (beware if you don’t like bad language) and makes you realise all the classic mistakes you’re making but didn’t think you were 🙂

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