If you are like me, you are always seeking out the books and teachers who inspire and motivate writers and non-writers alike.
To that end, I polled a bunch of friends, tweeps, and writers from all over and asked them: What writing books do you love? What has done the most for your creativity and career?
What I was looking for were books to fuel a year of creative growth, gaining and honing my skills and perhaps learning a few new tricks. Who doesn’t like new tricks?
So I present this recommended list of writing books. I have read some, some are now on order based on the marvelous writers who swear by them. A sort of Writer’s U at home. A staycation of self-improvement. So if you are game, consider picking one from the list each month and joining in. I’m going to be blogging about one book a month and sharing my own experiences and hope you can join in.
On Writing by Steven King. This is the audio version, because face it, it is Steven King reading Steven King.
How to Write Killer Fiction by Carolyn Wheat. Another book on Liza Palmer’s must read list. As she explained, “Don’t we all want elements of suspense in our novels to make them page turners.” True that!
Bird by Bird by Annie Lamont. This was Megan Crane/Caitlyn Crewes first choice out of the gate, and she’s picked a true classic, one that is on everyone’s list. But have to admit, I have never read it. Time to change that.
Save the Cat by Blake Synder. I love this book. It helps you see fiction through a screenwriter’s focused eye and keeps you on target. Love it!
The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes. Another book on Megan’s list. Another for my TBR.
Writing from the Inside Out by Dennis Pulumbo.
The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell. I adore this book. The perfect pick up and read a short chapter for your daily kick in the pants. JoAnne Ross says it is a perfect book for “quick encouragement.” Can’t we all use that from time to time? Keep this book within reach.
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg. Another one of those books that is always on the top of writer’s lists of inspiring and helpful books.
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
The Writers Journey by Chris Vogler. If you haven’t read this book, make this the first one you pick up. The best book on novel writing out there. And as Christina Dodd said, (and rightly so) “Not boring.”
Reading like a Writer by Francine Prose.
If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland.
Walking on Alligators by Susan Shaughnessy. This book is another one for quick inspiration and daily affirmations and exercises.
The Writing Life by Annie Dilliard.
How to Write Your Best Story by Philip Martin. This and the Annie Dilliard book both came with the recommendation: “Good advice, well written.” What more could you ask for?
Goal Motivation & Conflict by Deb Dixon. I will be honest. This book has never sung to me. But on the other hand, I know so many writers who rave and love it. I mean LOVE it. So I could hardly leave it off.
Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham. The quintessential and essential nuts and bolts book for every writer. Love this book.
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. One of my all-time favorite books–a great nuts and bolts read for honing and making your novel standout.
Are there books that are missing from the list?
((NOTE: There was previously a contest associated with this blog post, but since it it long over, it’s been removed to avoid confusion.))