37 of Your Favorite Books on Writing

To celebrate this blog’s 100th post, I want to share with you a list of Favorite Books for Writers that we compiled here last August. The list grew from my original 10 to 37 (read the full comments for more information about the recommendations). Please continue to comment here and add to the list. Who knows? We might reach 100 recommendations to match 100 posts!

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott

Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction, by Charles Baxter

The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear, by Ralph Keyes

Creating Character Emotions: Writing Compelling, Fresh Approaches that Express your Characters’ True Feelings, by Ann Hood

Don’t Murder Your Mystery and Don’t Sabotage Your Submission, both by Chris Roerden

The Elements of Style, by William Strunk and E.B. White

Elements of Writing Fiction: Characters & Viewpoint, by Orson Scott Card

Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True, by Elizabeth Berg

The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art, by Joyce Carol Oates

The Fire in Fiction, by Donald Maass

The First Five Pages, by Noah Lukeman

The Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction, Volume 1: Building Blocks

Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke

The Lie that Tells a Truth, by John Dufresne

The Little Red Writing Book: For Writing Aficionados from all Walks of Life!, by Brandon Royal

Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir, by Natalie Goldberg

On Writing, by Stephen King

One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer’s Art and Craft, by Susan M. Tiberghien

Page after Page: Discover the Confidence & Passion You Need to Start Writing & Keep Writing (no matter what), by Heather Sellers

A Poetry Handbook, by Mary Oliver

Publish Your Nonfiction Book, by Sharlene Martin and Anthony Flacco

The Right to Write, by Julia Cameron

Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need, by Blake Snyder

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne & Dave King

Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life, edited by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schulz

Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life, by Terry Brooks

Steering the Craft, by Ursula K. LeGuin

Starting from Scratch, by Rita Mae Brown

Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel, by Hallie Ephron

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, by Natalie Goldberg

Writing Great Books for Young Adults: Everything You Need to Know, from Crafting the Idea to Landing a Publishing Deal, by Regina Brooks

The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard

Writing Picture Books, by Ann Whitford Paul

Writing Spiritual Books, by Hal Zina Bennett

Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, by Donald Maass

Writing With Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process, by Peter Elbow

9 thoughts on “37 of Your Favorite Books on Writing

  1. I’d have to add two – Sandra Scofield’s The Scene Book and Milwaukee author, Judy Bridges, SHUT UP & Write! Thanks for the great list – I may put it up on my blog too.

    • Pam, thanks for the additions. And, yes, please feel free to share the list! Also, I noticed on a recent blog post that your husband teaches at Marquette. Mine, too! And I’ll be taking a class there this semester. I love those small world moments. 🙂

    • Rebecca, I love how the titles have come from writers who actually use and treasure the books, rather than just a list of what people think should be on such a list. 😉 I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday!

    • Me, too! (both not having read the books and loving the titles) I know that you had mentioned on the previous post about this topic that you hadn’t read The Faith of a Writer. I think you would adore it.

      Maybe we can make the Madison conference idea a reality? 😀

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