Books for Writers
Writing: The Craft
Berg, Elizabeth. Escaping into the Open. As enjoyable
to read as her fiction.
Bernays, Anne, and Painter, Pamela. What If? Writing Exercises
for Fiction Writers. In the mood to strengthen your skills
in the basics? This is the book for you.
Browne, Renni, King, Dave. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.
There is no writing without editing. A great resource.
Burroway, Janet. Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft.
This one’s pricey, since it’s a textbook, but this is
the Bible of fiction writing.
Card, Orson Scott. How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy.
If you are interested in this genre, this little book is a classic,
first published in 1991 and recently reissued in paperback.
Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down the Bones. Quirky and
conversational, more validation than writing text.
Hacker, Diana. Rules for Writers: A concise handbook.
If, like me, you have this comma problem, this book is for you.
The focus here is not on fiction, but the rules apply to all genres
of writing. Not just grammar, but punctuation, style, and composition.
King, Stephen. On Writing. How you feel about this one
may be predicated on how you feel about King as a writer. Somewhat
autobiographical. I haven’t read much King, but I liked the
Klein, Cheryl, Second Sight: An Editor's Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing Books for Children and Young Adults. I have heard Ms. Klein speak before, and have read many of her essays on writing. This editor of the Harry Potter books is very, very wise. Especially note the Quartet chapters: character, plot, voice and theme.
Kress, Nancy. Beginnings, Middles, and Ends (Elements of Fiction
Writing.) If you can nail the beginnings, middles, and ends,
you’re in business!
Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird. Some instructions on writing
and life. Think you’re alone in this crazy business? A hilarious
guide to the writing life.
LeGuin, Ursula. Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions
on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew.
Think genre writers are not masters of the craft? Think again. Best
known for her science fiction and fantasy writing, Ursula LeGuin
has written novels, stories, poetry, children’s books, and
essays. This accessible little book addresses major aspects of fiction
Maass, Donald. Writing the Breakout Novel. In order to
succeed in today’s competitive fiction market, it’s
necessary to take your novel to the next level. Maass shows you
Strunk, William, White, E.B. The Elements of Style. Bewildered
by the edits that come back on your work? Here are elementary rules
of usage, composition, and form. This is a classic, and should be
on every writer’s shelf.
Winokur, Jon. Advice to Writers: A Compendium of Quotes, Anecdotes,
and Writerly Wisdom from a Dazzling Array of Literary Lights.
Famous writers share their advice on agents, colleagues, critics,
discouragement, drink, money, and occupational hazards, among other
things. Somehow this book makes me feel like I’m rubbing shoulders
with the great.
Wood, Monica. The Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspirations for Writing.
I just love having this book around. It makes me smile.
Zinsser, William. On Writing Well. Good guide for nonfiction,
but all writers can benefit.
Book Publishing and Promotion
Raab, Susan Salzman. An Author’s Guide to Children’s
Book Promotion. Columnist Susan Raab has long been a resource
for authors who would like to give their books a boost.
Shepard, Aaron. The Business of Writing for Children.
New to the business of writing for children? Aaron’s book
will help. A small book that is very targeted.
Underdown, Harold. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing
Children’s Books, second edition. OK, I know you’re
not an idiot. The book is great. What would children’s writers
do without Harold Underdown?
Other Resources I Use Frequently
- The Internet. What did we do without it? It’s always a
place to start when I’m researching medieval armor or castle
architecture or herbs used in healing.
- Dictionary: I have a huge dictionary on a shelf behind my desk.
I roll back there often.
- A book of mythology. It’s important to know about the
classic tales and magical creatures of all nations when you’re
making up new stuff or recycling the old.