This Saturday´s Guardian had an insert on How to Write Fiction, the first of a series of seven booklets on writing. It´s interesting that the editors think enough of their readers are aspiring writers to warrant publishing these. Are there really that many out there?
The booklet itself is pretty basic for anyone who has been at this game for any length of time, but it´s all solid advice and worth reading again. There are sections on genre, style, characters, setting, and more. Most importantly, the various contributors dispel many myths about writing and tell you what you need to succeed: hard work, honest self-appraisal, and persistence, persistence, persistence. My favorite quote is "inspiration is just a posh word for ideas." Very true. The public tends to romanticize the act of writing , and many writers feed into this because it makes them look cool, but generally we just sit in front of a computer all day like millions of office workers.
I´m not sure if this booklet is still available, but if you´re just starting down this crazy road, try to find it, and be sure not to miss the later installments on poetry, comedy, plays & screenplays, memoir & biography, journalism, and books for children.