For Writers

It seems like every person who’s ever written a novel has also written about the experience of writing a novel, but these are the most valuable I’ve come across so far.  If you have any to add, feel free to do just that in the comments section below.

On Writing by Stephen King

Half memoir, half writing advice this book is full of great advice from one of the most successful authors alive today.  The story of how he got his start is fascinating, not to mention the background it gives on his stories, including where he struggled and how he felt.  On top of that you get advice on everything from how long to write each day to editing to sharpen your manuscript.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont

This is a book full great advice on the entire writing process, from brainstorming to publication.  There’s at least one chapter, whose title is not appropriate for the website of YA author, that has stuck with me.  It also offers some hilarious insight into the mild insanity of writing.

Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King

This book targets the kind of punctuation, diction, and grammar mistakes that send up red flags in the heads of editors and agents reading your manuscript.   Great things to keep an eye out for, though the advice shouldn’t be taken to the extreme, and I don’t know that I’d recommend it for anyone who doesn’t already have a completed manuscript because it might drive them insane.

How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

Obviously this one is for people interested in writing science fiction and fantasy, but it’s also got a section on “The Life and Business of Writing,” if you’re interested.  It gives a great crash course in science fiction and fantasy and what they are (and aren’t), and a lot of what’s been done before.  It also gives advice on challenges that are unique to science fiction and fantasy like world creation, and balancing the exposition of the fantasy settings and cultures with character development.  I thought that as someone well-read in science fiction I could skip this one, but I got it for a Christmas present and realized I couldn’t have been more wrong.


§ 11 Responses to For Writers

  • thewriteedge says:

    One of my favorites is _Eats, Shoots, and Leaves_, which offers basic grammar advice in a fun-to-read way. Congratulations on being published next month, by the way! And also on being Freshly Pressed!

    • R. H. Culp says:

      Thank you so much! It feels like a long time coming (the publishing, I never expected to be Freshly Pressed) and it’s only after writing a mountain of short stories that will never again see the light of day. Enjoy the site, and thanks again.

    • Alyssa says:

      I was about to suggest Eats, Shoots, and Leaves as well! Basic grammar, hilarious author. Win win.

      • R. H. Culp says:

        It’s at the top of my reading list… or at least one of my reading lists. I find that I now have lists of reading lists. But rest assured, that that book is at the top of my “Books on Writing” reading list.

  • Mulerwa kaguliro says:

    Thanks,this is really helpful.I just decided to get about realising my dream of being a writer and then broke out into a cold sweat after staring at my computer and realising i didn’t know where the hell to start!!

    • R. H. Culp says:

      I can totally relate. I’m glad you found this helpful. Writing is half of what this blog is about, so feel free to stick around. I don’t have all the answers (or even most of them), but I’d like to provide a place where people struggling with the same kinds of things can come together and learn, vent, and relate. Good luck with your writing!

  • Bird by Bird and On Writing by Stephen King are two of my all-time favorites. Another book that writers should never be without (in my humble opinion) is Strunk & White’s Elements of Style. I tell all my students that it’s a must-have.

    Really like your blog!

  • starauthor says:

    Superb recommendations RH! I found the Self-Editing book transformed my style.
    Just read Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose which is helpful too.
    Your other book lists are great too.

  • Maria Z says:

    Nice list! will surely read … thanks.. 🙂

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