Authors’ Most Helpful “How to” Book List About Writing

Do you need a book list of great books for writers?

A+ Book List for Writers
A+ Book List for Writers

Hi, Annabelle Author, I’m overwhelmed. I’m looking for a book list of GREAT books to improve my writing.

Hey, Irma Indie, what books have you seen so far?

Annabelle, I went to I found 15,122 results about how to improve my writing. 

Jeez, that helps!

That’s what I thought.  Which ONE should I order first?

Award-winning authors share their book list

Pamela R. Winnick, an award-winning author moderates The Craft of Writing Fiction (no promotions). She asked this provocative question of a LinkedIn writer’s group. 

“Have you been helped by any writing “how-to” books? If so, which?”

Here is the book list generated from author-members’ responses.  I added additional suggestions from authors on Facebook and WordPress. I wanted to keep that list handy for myself! 

Always Write is an Amazon affiliated blog.

Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller John Truby
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life Anne Lamott
Building Better Plots Robert Kernen
Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) Brooks Landon
Collection of Readings for Writers Harry Shaw
Elements of Fiction Writing Characters and Viewpoint: Proven Advice and Timeless Techniques for Creating Compelling Characters by an Award Winning Author Orson Scott Card
Elements of Fiction Writing: Conflict and Suspense James Scott Bell
Fiction Writer’s Handbook Hallie Burnett and Whit Burnett
from the Inside…Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you! Susan May Warren
How Not to Write a Novel: Confessions of a Midlist Author David Armstrong
How to Write Dazzling Dialogue: The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript James Scott Bell
How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery and the Rollercoaster of Suspense Carolyn Wheat
How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy Orson Scott Card
If You Want to Write Brenda Ueland
Make Your Words Work: Proven Techniques for Effective Writing-For Fiction and Non-Fiction Gary Provost
Maybe You Should Write a Book Ralph Daigh
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Non-Fiction William Zinsser
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft Stephen King
Playwriting Seminars 2.0: A Handbook on the Art and Craft of Dramatic Writing with an Introduction to Screenwriting Richard Toscan
Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master Martha Alderson
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.) Francine Prose
Revision and Self-Editing for Publication: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft into a Novel That Sells James Scott Bell
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers How to Edit Yourself Into Print Brown and King
Story: Style, Structure, Substance and the Princip of Screenwriting Robert McKee
Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story K. M. Weiland
Style: Ten lessons in clarity & grace Joseph M Williams
The Art & Craft Of Writing Christian Fiction: The Complete Guide to Finding Your Story, Honing Your Skills, &… Jeff Gerke
The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers John Gardner
The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises James Scott Bell
The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear Ralph Keyes
The Elements of Style William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
The First Five Pages: The Writer’s Guide for Staying Out of the Rejection Pile Noah Lukeman
The Midnight Disease, The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block and the Creative Brain Alice Weaver Flaherty
The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers Christopher Vogler
Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence Lisa Cron
Write Great Fiction: Characters, Emotion, and Viewpoint Nancy Kress
Write Like the Masters: Emulating the Best of Hemingway, Faulkner, Salinger, and Others William Cane
Write Tight: Say Exactly What You Mean with Precision and Power William Brohaugh
Writing and Selling Jack Woodford
Writing Creative Nonfiction (The Great Courses) Tilar J. Mazzeo
Writing Down the Bones, Freeing the Writer Within Natalie Goldberg
Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (9th Edition) Janet Burroway,Elizabeth Stuckey-French
Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook Donald Maass
Your First Novel: An Author and Agent Team Share the Keys to Achieving Your Dream Ann Rittenberg and Laura Whitcomb

My Picks from the Book List

One of the best is Anne Lamott’s

Questions for Authors

Which books do you have in your library?

How many of these have you read?

Related Book List Articles




Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. For thirty-five years, I lived in the most beautiful area in Central Valley of California in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains minutes from the Sequoia National Park. As a child I moved from Indiana to Oregon. With my first husband I moved from Oregon to Colorado to California. Every time we moved, it hurt so much to leave friends. I never wanted to move again. After Mark passed, I married again. I told Vince that I could never budge from my roots in California. He said he loved the high desert. I don't think he ever thought he would realize his dream. In November, 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

11 thoughts on “Authors’ Most Helpful “How to” Book List About Writing”

  1. Great list. Mine would be:

    Writing down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
    On Writing by Stephen King
    Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande (old but still relevant)


    1. I have read On Writing by Stephen King. That’s my fav. I’m going to have to order the other two and read them. My neighbor just published a book, and I read it last night and this morning. I was so impressed. It was her first, and I would never have guessed she was a newby author. I still have lots more to learn and master before my fiction is worth reading. 🙂 I get lost in my own writing! 🙂


  2. Hi!
    I have Zinsser, Strunk, Maass, and Lukeman. Also the following:

    Brohaugh. Write Tight.
    Bell. The Art of War for Writers.
    Williams. Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace.
    Gerke. The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction.
    Warre/Hauck. From the Inside, Out: Discover, Create, and Publish the Novel in You!
    Daigh. Maybe You Should Write a Book.
    Woodford. Writing and Selling.
    Cane. Write Like the Masters.
    Burroway. Writing Fiction
    Mazzeo. Writing Creative Nonfiction
    Landon. Building Great Sentences.

    And a dear ol’ little thing called: A Colleciton of Readings for Writers

    I don’t care for King, much, and LaMott, not at all. :-\


          1. I read Burroway’s about every 2 years, and found Cane’s very helpful. Also I read Daigh’s now and then. It was the first writer book I ever read, and it made me believe in the idea. 🙂


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