Can writing be taught? No! Yes!
There’s both art and craft involved with writing. Perhaps the art can’t be taught, but craft can be. Even an artist needs to understand the tools they’re working with, to understand color theory, how to create perspective, what brush is the best for the job.
Books on writing offer tools for our writers toolkit. We may need some now, and different ones later on. If something is not working for you, why not try a new technique?
Here are some books on writing that I’ve found useful:
The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler – It takes ideas from the writings of Joseph Campbell on mythological archetypes (the Hero’s Journey) and applies it to story structure and character studies.
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass – A no nonsense, passion filled, at times funny, look at what makes a novel a best seller from the perspective of a long time agent. It’s well written and includes plenty of examples.
On Writing by Stephen King – Half memoir, half ruminations on writing. If you want to see what shaped King as a writer, you should read this book. It’s a fascinating read, with some good advice for any writer on the basics of writing, and what makes a good writer.
Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell – I haven’t read this one yet, but I’ve heard Bell speak about writing in person, and he’s a very good teacher.
But, there’s no magical formula that will guarantee that a good book. In the end, we all need to figure out what process works best for us. I think the art comes in when you piece things together the way only you can.
Do you think writing be taught?