“Which books on writing do you recommend?”
I’m asked this question a lot. Given the number of books available, it’s a fair question.
Where to begin?
I teach college composition, so I’m one of those nerdy types who loves to read books on the craft. Some are helpful. Some less so. When you’re shopping for a book on the craft, keep in mind the following two things:
1. Know that Different Books Offer Different Things
- Some offer excellent advice for fiction writers.
- Some offer excellent advice for non-fiction writers.
- Some focus on the nitty-gritty of grammar.
- Some focus on how to write a book proposal.
- Some don’t offer much advice on the actual craft. Instead, they cheer for you, inspiring you to get started or press on.
2. Know What Kind of Writing-Help You Need
To determine the kind of writing-help you need, answer these questions:
What genre do you write in?
- Children’s literature
- Business writing
What stage of the writing process are you in?
- Are you beginning to draft your story?
- Are you getting started with that novel on your heart?
- Have you completed a first draft?
- Do you need help with revising or editing?
- Are you finished with a manuscript?
- Do you need help pitching your project to an agent or publisher?
These will help you clarify what kind of writing-help you need.
If you’re interested in some recommendations, I’ve put together a list of my favorite books on the craft of writing. I’ve also given a short description of each one. So depending on the kind of you help you need, you can decide which book would be most helpful for you.
Will some of the information in these books overlap? Only the most basic (and most important) parts, which are always good to review. Overall, these books on writing cover the range of stages that every writer goes through.
What’s your favorite book
on the craft of writing?