Reading to write…

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Reading to write…

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
― Philip Pullman

I write as a fundraiser, as a journalist and as an author, but the principles for all three are the same. Crafting a good story is at the heart of good writing.   Making words work in a way that will cause engagement, emotion, action, or just contemplation is a very powerful thing to accomplish.

So I thought I would share some of books that have inspired and guided me to be a better storyteller, and by doing so, making me a better writer and fundraiser too.

On Writing, by Stephen King  – the bible of any writer, and I would highly recommend for anyone who has to tell stories (hint: all fundraisers).  He may be the King of Horror, but first and foremost he is the King of Storytelling.  His ideas for building your mental toolbox of skills are a gem enough, but there is a treasure trove of advice in here.

The Elements of Eloquence, by Mark Forsyth – a lovely and amusing little book that explores some tricks of the writing trade.  What made Shakespeare’s work so memorable? What made Dickens’s stories so compelling? What makes Sting’s lyrics so rhythmic?  Read this book and find out.

Made to Stick, by Dan and Chip Heath – compulsory reading for anyone who wants to make their words persuasive and powerful.  Their tips for storytelling (or making ideas stick) relate not only to fundraising but writing in general – make it Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotive and a Story.  Please read!!

How to Ask Properly, by George Smith – this may have been written 2 decades ago, but his exploration of how good writing, and clever storytelling transformed fundraising is well worth a read.

Winning the Story Wars, by Jonah Sachs – just brilliant. If you’re a nerd like me, and love the history of words and storytelling, then this clever and fascinating insight into the evolution of mythology to modern messaging is a great bed-time read.

Storytelling can change the world, by Ken Burnett – explores how transformational stories can compel others to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do. Fundraisers read!

Reading like a Writer, by Francine Prose – a brilliant guide for people who love books, and for those who want to write them by revealing the tools and tricks some of the best writers have used.

And a big shout also to the Irish based writing resource which has just about everything you need to know (and plenty you didn’t know you need to know) on writing.

Happy reading ….. and happy storytelling.



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