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Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com • Good Books on Writing : Recommended Resources • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com
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Good Books on Writing

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:49 am
by Tom85
Hello there.

As I already mentioned in my introductory post, I like writing short stories and I seriously want to become a professional writer. Therefore I was looking for some good books on writing and how to write. I did some search online browsing the most common websites for classified adds like http://www.for-sale.co.uk/books-writing. But there are so many books on writing. I can't really decide which one to pick. So does anybody can give some good advice which book(s) I should buy? So far I have a few on my list:

Stephen King – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Anne Lamott – Bird by Bird
Annie Dillard – The Writing Life
William Zinsser – On Writing Well

So which one is a good start?

I'm basically interested in a general overview about techniques and style. So does anybody here has some more or different recommendations, especially with regard to short stories?

Any feedback is highly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Tom.

Re: Good Books on Writing

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:37 am
by Oldtimer
I think you have chosen four good ones. Why don't you read them all? But don't just sit down and read. Write, write, write, every day and practice what those authors are preaching. Good luck.

Re: Good Books on Writing

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 4:09 pm
by cynicalwanderer
I once read an entire 1,000+ page style guide. I forget which guide it was, and I went through it in small doses over a period of about a year, but I feel that by having gone through all of that (admittedly very dry) material from cover to cover, much of the extensive vocabulary and grammatical knowledge that I now have burned into my brain and use in my writing can be traced back to that effort.

Wouldn't recommend a course of action that eccentric to anyone else though. But do at least make time for the famous "The Elements of Style" by Strunk & White - the tiniest, most accessible bible on grammar you'll ever read - and you're sure to learn something you didn't know, and you'll also have a great reference to turn to whenever you're uncertain about the correct usage of a particular comma.

Re: Good Books on Writing

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:18 pm
by Tom85

Re: Good Books on Writing

PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 12:17 am
by williamadams

Re: Good Books on Writing

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:55 pm
by Bobabob
I have read "The Book on Writing" by Paula LaRocque. It was an easy read and held my interest. I gave away my first copy and just bought another. I found it extremely helpful. I re-wrote much of what I had already written.

I just ordered "Outlining Your Novel" by K.M. Weiland. Does anybody have any feedback on it? I won't receive it until the end of next week.

I have a copy of "Elements of Style" but after reading the Book on Writing, i found it rather dry and hard to read.

Re: Good Books on Writing

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:22 pm
by mike m.
[quote="Tom85"]Hello there.

As I already mentioned in my introductory post, I like writing short stories and I seriously want to become a professional writer. Therefore I was looking for some good books on writing and how to write. I did some search online browsing the most common websites for classified adds like http://www.for-sale.co.uk/books-writing. But there are so many books on writing. I can't really decide which one to pick. So does anybody can give some good advice which book(s) I should buy? So far I have a few on my list:

Stephen King – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Anne Lamott – Bird by Bird
Annie Dillard – The Writing Life
William Zinsser – On Writing Well

So which one is a good start?

I'm basically interested in a general overview about techniques and style. So does anybody here has some more or different recommendations, especially with regard to short stories?

Any feedback is highly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Tom.[/quote]
-----------

king tells you nothing about HOW to write at all
it was a fun read but not at all useful

bird by bird is cute but not as useful as others

the snowflake method is excellent

you need a book on how to plot
and likely one about a story in general
also a book on the business of writing if you want to be a pro

WD has a full range of books on every facet of fiction
where do you need help
plotting
characters
dialog
selling

identify your weakness and they have a book to help that aspect

Re: Good Books on Writing

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:23 pm
by mike m.
[quote="Bobabob"]I have read "The Book on Writing" by Paula LaRocque. It was an easy read and held my interest. I gave away my first copy and just bought another. I found it extremely helpful. I re-wrote much of what I had already written.

I just ordered "Outlining Your Novel" by K.M. Weiland. Does anybody have any feedback on it? I won't receive it until the end of next week.

I have a copy of "Elements of Style" but after reading the Book on Writing, i found it rather dry and hard to read.[/quote]

========

weiland would be a useful book

elements of style is for people who know no grammar and want the short course not a textbook
it is a bit dated
my son rewrote it when he was in HS

Re: Good Books on Writing

PostPosted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 7:45 pm
by wdarcy
The best and most helpful book on writing you will ever read is STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE by Steven James. James is a best-selling organic writer, and unlike Stephen King he DOES tell you how to do it. Also on your list should be Steven's TROUBLESHOOTING YOUR NOVEL. I have read both twice and have studied with Steven. He has helped me improve my writing enormously.

--Warren

Re: Good Books on Writing

PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 9:07 am
by Bobabob
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I will look for the Steven James books. I really need help with outlining. I have two other ideas for books, but I feel like I hit a wall on my current story. I'm kind of lost with the plot. I feel I need to fix this dilemma before I can move forward.

Update. I ordered both of those books after reading the beginning of Story Trumps Structure and listening to an excerpt from Checkmate. Should have them both Monday. Thanks.