Cinda Williams Chima

Back to Links and Resources for Writers

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 book.

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 writing.

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 how.

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.