Writing Retreat Reading Material

What are your favorite books on writing?

I’ve been slowly doing some blog housekeeping, and one post I came across recently was a list of 37 favorite books on writing, culled from both my own list at the time (2011) and readers’ comments. Help me to update the list by adding your own favorites in the comments, below, and I’ll add them—and those mentioned in the “37” post comments—to a new list. Can we reach 50?

DIY Summer Writing Retreat graphicThis post is part of the DIY Summer Writing Retreat blog series, with daily posts Monday through Friday. Subscribe to receive full-length new posts in your inbox or catch them on my Facebook page.

8 thoughts on “Writing Retreat Reading Material

  1. Great list — several that I have read and concur on, plus several I will have to add to my “to be read” list.

    Was surprised you didn’t have William Zinzsser on your list. I highly recommend any of his books, but especially “On Writing Well” (it has been reprinted multiple times). He has other good ones — “Writing about your life” concentrates on memoir and “Writing to Learn” was also good. I’d have to pull out my copy of Stephen King’s “On Writing” (another favorite of mine — love those little darlings), but I think King alludes to Zinzsser book in his opening.

    A little more obscure perhaps, but another favorite of mine is James V. Smith’s “Writer’s little helper” it is the only place I found an actual explanation (and targets) for the readability statistics that WORD will give you. A friend recommended it and I have in turn given copies to several of my peeps.

    • Thanks, Nancy! Good additions. Zinsser’s book isn’t only I turn to very often for some reason, but I agree that I’m surprised no one else had mentioned it before.

  2. Mine are “Immediate Fiction” by Jerry Cleaver. And “Scene and Structure” by Jack M. Bickham. Both gems.

  3. I have to go with Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird”. I am especially struck by all the passages about everything she does to NOT have to write – lol. It’s a reflection of my life and lack of discipline!

  4. Great topic. So many books. Can’t list only a few. But recently I LOVE Ursula Le Guin’s “Words Are My Matter” & Donald Maas’s “The Emotional Craft of Fiction”. Of course, Stephen King’s classic “On Writing”.

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