Skip to content


Recommended Writing Books

Here are some of the writing books we have found to be most helpful in our writing group and in our own study of the craft.

How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One by Stanley Fish is an enthusiastic analysis of effective sentences of all sorts. The chapters on first and last sentences are particularly useful.

The Art of Fiction. Notes on the Craft for Young Writers. John Gardner. Excellent general handbook, packed with advice, examples and exercises.

A Passion for Narrative. Jack Hodgins. Another excellent general guide with useful examples, exercises and recommended readings.

Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success. K. M. Weiland. Great outlining guide including recommendations on outlining software and other resources. Weiland also posts tips for writers on her website.

Self-Editing For Fiction Writers Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print. Renni Browne and Dave King. Great examples of “big picture” editing. Descriptions of specific pieces the authors edited, identifying problem areas, recommendations they made, and how the stories changed as a result. With useful exercises and checklists.

Elements of Fiction Writing-Beginnings, Middles & Ends. Nancy Kress. Effective solutions for potential problems at each stage of your story. Good suggestions for plot, structure, pacing, zooming in, pulling out and more.

The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. A very useful list of emotions and ways to express them non-verbally.

How Not to Write a Novel: 200 Classic Mistakes and How to Avoid Them–A Misstep-by-Misstep Guide. Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman.  An entertaining selection of terrible, laughable excerpts organized around themes of plot, character and style that teaches writers what NOT to do.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: