These are the literary sidekicks you can read, faithfully, when your inspiration has done nothing but dry up. These pieces will force perks of inspiration through the spout of your pen.
by Nevill Coghill, Geoffrey Chaucer
Who can turn down a tale of adventure filled with riot worthy laughter and irrational happenings? Not one person, unless they are the dry type, of course. Oh, and do stick with the Norton Anthology edition, it's been annotated, translated and even has the original dialect intact for more ambitious readers. A tale such as the Canterbury Tales will open your eyes to all sorts of characters. From the modest to the down right promiscuous, this sidekick is a promising source for some character inspiration.
by Ernest Hemingway
This is a novel of Mr. Hemingway's that not many have heard of. There's an agonizing and troubling love triangle present, and a sense of unweaving control. Although he discarded it during his lifetime and it was only later finished and published after his death, this may be one of Mr. Hemingway's most marvelous novel feats. There are (at least) two things a dried up writer will benefit from within these pages. Not only are there wonderfully written characters that come from three ends of a spectrum, there is an imagery one can almost see without having to close their eyes. This book could never fail to inspire a beautifully placed plot.
by "Iceberg Slim"
Yes, this is the story of an ex-Pimp sweetly named Iceberg Slim. Any other questions that title fails to answer? The pages of this novel will introduce your writing mind to a world you hopefully have never, and never will, experience personally. With his personally pimpin' experience Slim paints a vivid tale of sexual twists and turns. You may not be inspired to write about the lifestyle, but the style of the book and its unfailing imagery will push your fingers to discover uncovered territories.
by Virginia Woolf
For a writer, a glimpse in to the mind of one central character is fascinating. It is also an invitation to "borrow" some fine qualities to aid in building a character of one's own. The style of Woolf's writing in this novel is also something to admire and mimic in an exercise any writer could appreciate when done.
by Henry James
Henry James is a master of sentence structure. The plot may be a rather traditional one, and may bore at times, but for a writer, this story is study worthy. Reading this will thoroughly frustrate you, but when you've finished... transform a piece of your writing in to something James-like and be prepared to be impressed with a new-found appreciation for the structure of writing.
by William Shakespeare
A true writer knows: there's something quite important to be learned in a play written by William Shakespeare. To be a good writer, you must be a dialogue fiend. You must be aware of every word your character speaks and how it works in conjuncture with each and every other character. For this, William Shakespeare is the best teacher and Othello being the most willful play to learn from.
by Seth Grahame-Smith, Jane Austen
You may look at this title and question it. Do it, I dare you. But then take a step back and look at the gloriousness the publisher — Quirk Classics — has created. They were able to take a classic plot and reinvent it by injecting a current pop culture obsession: zombies. Try it in an old piece of yours when your imagination is running a bit slow, you are bound to at least laugh in to a new, bright idea.
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Sarah Baram
I'm a writer and avid reader. With the books in my possession I am creating an army of collected words and ideas found in the middle of worn book covers. On my blog you'll find two weekly columns and the occasional appearance of my own creative writings.
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