I write and teach others how to write, so I have the pleasure/pain of reading and working with lots of books about writing. Recently, my mom asked me a seemingly simple question: “What books do you recommend to learn about writing?” Alas, my brain circuits fried: there are so many! Where to begin?
However, now that I’ve had some time to properly think about the question, I give you my favorite writing books, in no particular order:
- The Media Writer’s Handbook by George Arnold, 6th Ed. I know it says it’s for “media writers,” but trust me, it’s actually one of the best resources for any writer. Not only is it the most concise grammar reference work I’ve come across, it also has chapters on how to eliminate repetition and jargon, the differences between commonly confused words, and more. Bonus: free online quizzes to test your skills!
- Wired for Story by Lisa Cron. An excellent guide for helping writers recognize what turns readers on and why. This book will absolutely help you focus and empower your work, whatever the genre.
- The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises by James Scott Bell. It’s a classic for a reason; Bell gives incredibly helpful advice for everything from generating ideas to polishing your finished work.
- Bonus title: the best guide for aspiring memoirists out there has to be Fearless Confessions by Sue William Silverman. I have read dozens of “how-to-write-your-memoir” books, and this one stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Feel free to link to this post if you’re dropping hints to Santa! 🙂