Sometimes life makes it easy to forget how magical the process of writing…and the written word itself really is. Any author knows how frustrating yet rewarding getting a beautiful idea to the page can be. Below are books about fictional people struggling through the process of writing…along with some unique but relatable problems while bringing their writing dreams to fruition.
1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer
In the aftermath of WWII, writer Juliet Aston struggles with her career and life. She stumbles upon a fledgling little book club on Guernsey, a remote British island that was occupied during the war. Through a series of letters between her and the book club members, as well as some other friends we meet in the book, we follow Juliet as she falls in love with this island and the people there and discovers much about herself in the process. Her frustration with not being able to write what she wants and her determination to be true to herself will inspire any writer…and the authors’ sly humor and heartwarming characterization model enviable writing techniques.
2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
This literary classic follows Jo March and her sisters as they grow up during and after the Civil War. Jo defies the female stereotype of her age and struggles to find her place in the world and her identity as a writer. Her journey reveals how important relationships–family, friends, romantic…and even enemies–shape us as writers and give us all something wonderful and important to say.
3. Atonement by Ian McEwan
Briony Tallis, a writer from childhood, reflects on her life as she prepares to publish her final book. We meet her at 13, in pre-WWII England, where a traumatic incident changes her life, and everyone connected with the incident’s lives, forever. She reflects on her version of events and the role her “telling” affected everyone. Through her story and its repercussions, we see the power of a writer, the power of perspective, and the power of words, for good or for ill.
4. The Shining by Stephen King
No list about fictional writers could be complete without this well-known classic, one of Stephen King’s most famous works and the subject of several movie versions. In this atmospheric horror tale, alcoholic, troubled writer Jack Torrence and his family move to a remote hotel for the winter so that he can focus on his writing career. Things go south quickly, as Jack’s alcoholism and the hotel’s malevolent spirit overtake him. The imaginative skill, willing suspension of disbelief, and plot finesse King employs are worth studying, and will leave the writing reader with plenty of goosebumps.
5. Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri
Although Daniel Nayeri’s memoir is nonfiction, he weaves Persian myths throughout his telling of his difficult adolescence, lending his work a magical, fantasy feeling. The plot structure, with its weaving of myth and reality seamlessly and beautifully together, highlights the creative control and freedom writers have. His mastery of imagery opens a world of ideas to the writing reader, and his lovingly told story of his move from Iran to America–written as if he is talking directly to the reader–will make the reader fall in love with the mesmerizing power of the written word.
If you are in a slump, these books can reignite your passion for writing…while entertaining you in the process. Writing is a rewarding though frustrating process at times, and we have tips and support to help you on your writing journey!