RSS Feed

Books for Writers

August 24, 2014 by Diane

Gone Fishing

I’m taking a break from blogging. But I’m sneaking onto my site for twenty minutes to leave you with this: a list of my favorite writing books. Enjoy!

If you’re just starting your writing journey:

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

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

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

And my favorite…

Finding Your Writer’s Voice: A Guide to Creative Fiction by Thaisa Frank and Dorothy Wall

Got writer’s block? Try these:

Writing Open the Mind: Tapping the Subconscious to Free the Writing and the Writer by Andy Couturier

The War of Art: Break Through The Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

Books for novelists:

Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writing Course by Jerry Cleaver

The Mind of Your Story: Discover What Drives Your Fiction by Lisa Lenard-Cook

The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great by Donald Maass

Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell

From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction by Robert Olen Butler

The TV Writer’s Workbook: A Creative Approach to Television Scripts by Ellen Sandler (What? A book on writing for TV? Yep…great tips on generating ideas, developing a story, theme, plot, and writing a synopsis.)

For freelance writers:

The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Commercial Freelancer in Six Months or Less by Peter Bowerman

Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids by Christina Katz (You don’t have to be a mama to benefit from this book.)

Reference books:

Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words: A Writer’s Guide to Getting it Right by Bill Bryson

The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier: How to Solve the Mystery of Weak Writing by Bonnie Trenga

And last but not least, a book for anyone who wants to self-publish:

The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living by Peter Bowerman

But wait…there’s more! In case you missed it the first time, here’s my take on writing  The Great American Novel


  1. Ellie says:

    What an excellent list of books! Thanks for posting this. 😀

    I have to second that recommendation for The Fire in Fiction. That’s one of the most useful books I’ve ever read.

  2. Great list, thanks for sharing. Many I haven’t read yet. Bird by Bird and Stephen King’s On Writing are fixtures on my nightstand. (Some love King and some hate him, but his success is tough to argue and this book is damn good.)

    Thanks again-

  3. Paula says:

    Very good list. I’m not a novelist, it will be a long time before I give up the day job(s) again, and I probably do not need to be better fed, but I’m still interested in checking out the books for freelancers. For idea generation and craetive practice, I have found Lynda Barry’s What it Is very helpful ( and Julia Cameron’s books both useful and problematic ( Have a lovely blogcation, and we look forward to the return of you and your squirrels. 😉

    • Diane says:

      Thanks for the tips! I haven’t read Lynda Barry’s What it Is. Looks like a good one! I was writing morning pages regularly when I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I have her other books, but haven’t dived into them yet. Ah well, someday…

  4. Some of these are old favorites but some are brand new to me. I’ll begin putting in requests at the library today! I would add (as I’ve mentioned) On Writing – King
    The Elements of Style Strunk and White
    Write. Publish. Repeat – Sean Platt and Johnny Truant.

    • Diane says:

      Oh goodie! A new title for me to check out. I haven’t heard of Write. Publish. Repeat. Yes, The Elements of Style is a definite must-have. Thanks for adding your picks!

  5. bronxboy55 says:

    Great collection, Diane. Natalie Goldberg is at the top of my list, too.

  6. Surely you must have caught enough fish by now to support yourself and a small tribe of aboriginal mountain people!

    Come back come back!

  7. Sarah says:

    Your first two on the list are my favorites. ❤️ I have a few others I love but those two…brilliant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *