Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Classic Writing Books

Every writer should own a few classic writing books. As used in this post, classic doesn’t mean old. Instead, it refers to books that many writers have on their bookshelves: books that are also frequently mentioned at writers’ conferences.

Let’s start with two books on general writing techniques.

  • On Writing Well, by William Zinsser is is billed as “the classic guide to writing nonfiction.” But even though it concentrates on nonfiction, Zinsser’s book is really a classic guide to good writing of any type.
  • Stein on Writing, by Sol Stein covers both fiction and nonfiction but, again, is mostly a guide to good writing. Next week’s blog post will discuss books that are specifically aimed at fiction writers.
Then there are the books that talk about the writing life. Both of these were written by women but are frequently recommended by men.

  • Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg; and
  • Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott.

Or maybe you want to read a book that combines both matters and/or was written by an author even the youngest readers of this blog are familiar with. Try On Writing, by Stephen King, which starts as a memoir and ends as a craft book. Those of you who write horror may also want to check out King’s Danse Macabre.

These suggestions barely make a dent in the many good books out there, and we would love to have you leave a comment with your recommendations. Still, for the writer with only a few dollars to spend, these books are a good place to start.

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