Desert Island Books


Like most writers, I have loads of books on how to do it. Not exactly countless, but many and varied. How to plot it, how to write it, how to edit it, how to market it and how to persuade someone to actually take the xxxx thing on. I expect most writers are the same. They buy when they need inspiration or a pick me up when rejected. Or simply because they cannot resist a book of any description and a how to do it book seems justifiable. Not at all self indulgent, but a necessary part of writing.

Most of mine are read once and sit upon the shelf, but there are some that are beginning to be dishevelled and that is because I love them. I could probably précis the contents of most of these, but I read and re-read and each time seem to learn something new.

The reason for the weird title of this is because I have (nearly) followed the Desert Island Discs theme. This is a BBC programme where celebs select their 8 gramophone records (yes, I did use that word, the programme is positively ancient) with which to be cast away on a desert island. Now this may be lost on the non-British readers, but I am sure from that you can manage to work out why I have selected 8 books.

You probably know these books too. They are not new. They have many whiskers, grey hairs and lines about their familiar faces, but they are old friends and I make no excuse for sharing them here. In no particular order:

  1. Christopher Vogler – The Hero’s Journey
  2. Ronald B. Tobias – 20 Master Plots
  3. Heather Sellers – Chapter after Chapter
  4. Alison Baverstock – Marketing your Book
  5. Noah Lukeman – The First Five Pages
  6. Renni Browne & Dave King – Self Editing for Fiction Writers
  7. Maas – Writing the Breakout Novel
  8. Carole Blake – From Pitch to Publication

Yes I know I could have picked a better order, but this is how they came off the shelf. And I’d like to add two books which are not strictly on writing, but which I find give certain inspiration:

  1. Albert Jack – Pop Goes the Weasel – The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes
  2. Serita Stevens and Anne Bannon – Book of Poisons

The last one causes a bit of consternation if people who don’t know me very well spot it sitting on the bookshelf. I do find it invaluable for interesting symptoms and side effects of poisoning, although it has not yet provided me with the perfect way of doing away with someone without being caught. I will keep reading just in case. And on the Desert Island Discs programme, you also get the Bible and Shakespeare, so that’s brilliant. You also get a luxury and obviously I have to go with the computer, and one book – or in this case because I have switched it all around, one disc. I would like to take Rhapsody in Blue. No, can’t tell you why. Just like it.

So if you were to be cast you away on the Desert Island, what would you choose? 8 books (writing books? OK, have it your own way,10 then, because I cheated), one luxury and a piece of music.

Look forward to hearing your choices.


8 responses to “Desert Island Books

  1. I’ll have to consider my books, but I do love DID. Do you mind if I link to this post on my blog while I consider my own list?

    • Please do – glad to meet you.
      Been to visit your site – think I might smell of dust and old books too. Not sure about the bluebells though. More likely to be olive oil soap (felting) or white spirit (painting)!
      Not read any of Entanglement yet but will be sure to stop by again and do just that.
      Thank you for reading.

  2. To list eight books would require a little time. Worth while thinking about. In the meantime Pat I thought of a minimalist approach and allowed myself just one of each. I would take Faure’s Requiem, a Joe Malone candle and Granny’s Wonderful Chair. Today’s choice. Who know what tomorrow will bring. Virginia

    • Ooh minimalist – that’s clever and very noble. Don’t know if I could limit myself to one book. Now I need to think about it.
      Thank you for reading and for following 🙂

  3. You definitely caught my attention with the first line: Like most writers, I have loads of books on how to do it. — ‘How-To’ is usually the best term for the books of educating oneself.

    Eight books, a luxury, and a piece of music. – Oh, I would have to say, right from the top of my head: Writing Fiction for Dummies, Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies, Showing and Telling, and Dialogue, with another that I cannot remember the name of, plus Robinson Crusoe, and The Swiss Family Robinson. So long as the island has some kind of electricity, my laptop computer, and something more than likely from Beethoven.

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