Books on Writing

It seems obvious that a helpful tool in learning to write books, is to read books that offer helpful advice. Presented here is a list of books that I’ve found helpful/inspiring/motivating in the quest to be a better storyteller. Plus some that will (hopefully) give you a kick in the butt to start writing, if necessary.


Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print

Renni Browne & Dave King

My last semester of college, I interned with a tiny local publisher. While I learned a lot that summer, the most valuable take-away was the information in this book, which I’ve kept with me ever since. Read it after you’ve gone through at least one draft to utilize the exercises at the end of each chapter.

Get it from: Your local indie     Barnes & Noble     Amazon


Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Anne Lamott

This has become a go-to book for when I’m frustrated with writing and need some inspiration. I need only read a few pages before I’m dashing back to the computer with some brilliant idea or even just motivation to continue.

Get it from: Your local indie     Barnes & Noble     Amazon


On Writing

Stephen King

Part memoir, part writing guide. The undisputed master of horror shows his genius, and inspires mine. Definitely a must for writers in this game for life. (I have to say, this new edition has an ugly cover. Go back to one of the previous covers, Scribner. Please.)

Get it from: Your local indie     Barnes & Noble     Amazon


Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English

Patricia O’Connor

The most comprehensive, clear, and helpful grammar book I’ve ever read. The examples actually make sense to me—and they’re funny. Even if you’re fairly well versed in grammar, this is worth the read, if only to refresh those niggling grammar landmines. But, if you’re also like me, there are some of those stubborn grammar rules that had never made sense before.

Get it from: Your local indie     Barnes & Noble     Amazon


How to Read Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them

Francine Prose

In addition to inspiring me to read—and love—books I’d never even heard of, Ms. Prose grants insight into how a writer can suck the marrow from the stories he reads, and then incorporate those lessons into his own work.

Get it from: Your local indie     Barnes & Noble     Amazon


Book in a Month: The Fool-proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days

Victoria Lynn Schmidt

While I don’t exactly agree with the hyperbole of the subtitle, there is some good information in here. You can do as I did and pick out the sections that help and ignore what doesn’t work for you. It could also be a great help in preparing for the next NaNoWriMo.

Get it from: Your local indie     Barnes & Noble     Amazon