People Keep Recommending Writing Books!

Books on writing abound for the novice, mid-ground, and even the seasoned writer. Everywhere I turn, every workshop I attend, weekend course I take, or email from places like Writer’s Digest, my attention turns to another book which will help with my writing. I’m a book person, so wanting to learn more from others’ books is just natural. And I am happy that wonderful, knowledgeable people  have gone before and written about the experience to help me in  my journey.

For today’s post, I give you a few names on my desk waiting for me to get to them. Some are on my iPad2, others more visible because they’re  paper.  Whichever format you prefer, books will most likely help you.

The Writer’s Manifesto by Jeff Goins, short but interesting. His feed shows him to be a down-to-earth, helpful and knowledgeable guy. He’s just had a new baby and I love how he weaves his life experiences into writing tips without being the least bit maudlin.

20 High-Octane Book Writing, Publishing, and Marketing Tips by Judy Cullins. She is adept at using social media to further her business by giving away a lot of helpful books.

Write Away by Elizabeth George. I haven’t finished it yet but from what I’ve read and from her reputation as a successful author, it’s a must. Also she was on Barbara Kyle’s list of craft books from a recent workshop I did with Barbara, another successful author.

The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. Ironically, true to the implication in his title, Lukeman’s first chapter is the best here.

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. My good friend, Sharon Clare, first introduced me to Maass and I have digested his first three chapters to good advantage in planning my second book.

The First 50 Pages by Jeff Gerke.  I had to pick this up in a Victoria bookstore as I hear about the importance of openings so often. As yet, I haven’t actually read it. But soon.

Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. The title is self-explanatory and since I’m trying desperately to break my pantser writing style in the hopes of having a tighter, more compact, and tighter novel, I bought it. For the flight home, I thought, but then I remembered the red-eye from Victoria and just tried to sleep. This one soon, too.

Practical Tips for Writing Popular Fiction by Robyn Carr. Somewhere I read about this book and decided I must have it. Online, I found it, used–I think it may be out of print–and it was waiting here for me when I got home. Don’t you just love having books in the mail? So this is a third title vying for my reading time. Dare I say it? Soon.

For a much longer list of more of the books I’ve accumulated, click on this earlier post.

As always, consider making your own contribution in the comments section. What is your favorite writing how-to book and why?


23 thoughts on “People Keep Recommending Writing Books!

  1. Thanks for the list. I’ve read most of them, but didn’t know about Write Away. I just ordered it on my kindle. I enjoy reading Elizabeth George, so I’m excited to find her book on writing.


  2. When I began my novel, Scalp Mountain, four years ago, I began reading books about writing. It was a joyous experience. I never had more fun and was never more enthralled. Especially good, so I will never forget the book, was “On Becoming a Novelist,” by the late John Gardner. I also had great fun reading books about writers. Although I never believed I could read anything about Ernest Hemingway (what’s there left to say about the man?) I was greatly enriched by reading “Hemingway’s Boat,” by Paul Hendrickson. I learned people often suffer more than we can ever guess. Poor Hemingway.


  3. I’m more an online course or live classroom kind of girl than a how-to book-reader, but First Draft in Fifty Days by Karen S Weisner was very helpful, and I have yet to crack open The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Loved Stephen King’s On Writing.


    • Weisner is new to me but loved Julia Cameron’s and Stephen King’s books. I’ve also come to realize that just reading parts is sometimes okay, too. We must look to our own needs with respect to our writing lives. Thanks for commenting, Sherry.


  4. Yes, I love getting books in the mail! I’ve got a bookshelf of how-to books as well and find them very useful at times, but I have to agree with Sherry. I’ve learned the most from the many talented writers who present monthly with the Toronto Romance Writers. Workshops with Barbara Kyle and Donald Maass are two wonderful ones of the many!


    • And I so have to get to Toronto Romance Writers group. Where is that 36-hour day, anyhow? I like a balance between sessions others present and I just soak up and reading I can control, doing it when, where and how long I want. I’m a bit of a control freak, I fear. Thanks for visiting once more, Sharon.


    • So happy to help. I was a high school English teacher so my love of books comes naturally, as does my proclivity for helping others. I only wish I had known of some of the books, blogs and magazines that are out there to help when I first started writing.


  5. I have a number of books, but never seem to have the time to read them. :0( These sound like good ones. Have you ever read Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss? I have heard a lot about it but haven’t read it. It is evidently about grammar and punctuation.


    • Eats, Shoots and Leaves is often touted but I haven’t read it, probably because I spent a lifetime teaching students about punctuation, word choice, and word placement. I know there is a lot more in this book but I haven’t got to it yet. Personally, the books about the writing business, both writing the books and getting them noticed, grab my attention. Grammar and spelling books, not so much. Not because they don’t seem important, but because that is one area I’ve (dare I say it?) pretty well mastered.
      I am happy that Truss has written her book and that it’s so successful since bad grammar and poor punctuation abound, don’t they, Diane?


      • They do, indeed! Like you, I feel I have mastered punctuation and spelling (and grammar for the most part) well enough that I don’t need a book. I think I was well-taught throughout school on these things. They don’t seem to teach them at all now from what we see today.


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