In the modern publishing landscape, writers are juggling a lot of different tasks. One of the things that gets dropped first is studying the craft of writing. Audiobooks can help.
In addition to being a writer, I also work full-time, work part-time, play sports, and have an active social life—so, for the sake of time, most of my reading these days is done via audiobooks. I’ve only recently started listening to audiobooks about writing and wanted to share some of my recent favorites.
Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody
I’ve long been a huge fan of the Save the Cat beat sheet and have adopted it for use in writing my own fiction, so I was excited to see this new book. In addition to adapting the beat sheet to novels, Jessica Brody also discussed the Save the Cat Story Genres to help you identify important elements in your story.
The Art of Death: Writing the Final Story by Edwidge Danticat
This is both a personal account of the author’s mother dying from cancer and an examination of how writers approach death in their fiction, woven together as beautifully as you’d expect from Edwidge Danticat.
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
This is a popular favorite among writers, so if you’ve read it before but it’s been a while, I recommend you revisit it on audio. It’s as much about the emotional life of being a writer as it is instructional.
The Writer’s Process: Getting Your Brain in Gear by Anne Janzer
If you need to tackle procrastination, or issues related to focus, creativity, or productivity, this book is for you. Janzer combines practical advice from successful writers with knowledge from cognitive science to help you understand your own mental processes.
Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron
This book uses brain science to help you learn how to tap into our primal love of stories. And if you like this one, definitely check out Story Genius, which is not available on audio.
Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker
I’m what we call a “pantser,” i.e. someone who writes by the seat of their pants, but I love reading books about plotting to see what I can incorporate into my writing process to hopefully help me write faster and revise less. This book discusses character arcs, plot, pacing, and economy of words.
I’m a bit obsessed with TED Talks, so I was intrigued by this book right off the bat. Whether you’re writing nonfiction or fiction, this is a great book to learn how to make your stories more engaging.
The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling by Charles Johnson
A collection of lessons from this National Book Award winner’s thirty-three years of teaching creative writing.
Damn Fine Story by Chuck Wendig
A conversational take on the art of storytelling from one of my favorite writers, which focuses on making sure your readers care about what happens in your story.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
This is another standard that should be on every modern writer’s bookshelf. It’s part memoir, part instruction from one of the most successful writers of our time.
I know listening to these is a different learning process from reading them, but I think that’s actually a good thing! It gets different brain pathways firing and is a great way to supplement your study of the writing craft.