Reviews of Writing Craft Books


“One thing that is always with the writer—

no matter how long he has written or how good he is—

is the continuing process of learning how to write.”  

Flannery O’Connor

I’ve been reading lots of writing craft books for years. For me there’s three methods to learning and polishing your writing skills and developing your talents: read every day, write every day, keep studying the craft. Every novel or short story I write challenges new writing skills because every story is different and a deeper adventure into the world of storytelling.

So, here are links to my current reviews of writing craft books, and, below a list of my recommendations for best books on the craft of writing that I’ve read.

Mystery and Manners, The Nature and Aim of Fiction  by Flannery O’Connor  (review here)

Author in Progress, a No-Holds-Barred Guide to What It Really Takes to Get Published by Therese Walsh, Editor & the Writer Unboxed Community (book review here)

How to Write Short Stories and Use Them to Further Your Writing Career by James Scott Bell (book review here)

Creating Characters, The Complete Guide to Populating Your Fiction, by the Editors of Writer’s Digest
(book review here) 

Dialogue, The Art of Verbal Action for the Page, Stage, and Screen, Robert McKee. (book review here)

The Annotated Dracula by Bram Stoker, Annotations by Mort Castle, Writer’s Digest Books (book review here). The Annotated Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Annotations by K.M. Weiland (book review here).

How to Write Like Chekhov, Edited by Piero Bunello and Lencek (book review here)
Steering the Craft, A 21st-Century Guide to Sailing
     the Sea of Story, Ursula K. Le Guin (book review here)
Writing Wild, Tina Welling (book review here)
Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg (book review here)
Method Writing, Jack Grapes (book review here)
Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury (book review here)
On Writing,  A Memoir, Stephen King (book review here)


My Recommended List of the Best Writing Books I’ve Read.

The Anatomy of Story, 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller, John Truby

Writing Fiction, A Guide to Narrative Craft, by Janet Burroway. All the basics of how to write: the writing process, show vs. tell, characterization, fictional atmosphere and place, story structure and plot, point of view, theme, and revision.

Story, Robert McKee
Story Trumps StructureSteven James
The Fire in Fiction, Donald Maass
The Art of Fiction, John Gardner (I reread this book once a year, it’s that good)
Making Shapely Fiction, Jerome Stern
The Art of Character, David Corbett
Getting into Character, Brandilyn Collins
The Secret Miracle, the Novelist’s Handbook, edited by Daniel Alarcon
Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande
The Faith of a Writer, Life, Craft, Art, Joyce Carole Oates
If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland
Reading like a Writer, Francine Prose
Elements of Style, Strunk & White

Best Editing, Grammar, and Style Books for Writers:

A Writer’s Reference, Diana Hacker  (grammar, 350 pages)

Writing Essentials, Rodrigues and Tuman, Norton Pocket Guide (grammar, 200 pages)

The Little Brown Handbook, Fowler and Aaron (grammar, 900 pages)

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne & Dave King
A Dash of Style, Noah Lukeman
The Grammar Bible, Michael Strumpf & Auriel Douglas
Line by Line, Claire Kehrwald Cook

The Careful Writer, Theodore M. Bernstein
Fowler’s Modern English Usage, Second Edition, Ernest Gowers
Chicago Manual of Style
Words Into Type, Third Edition, Skillin & Gay


Feel free to leave comment or suggestion of a writing craft book.

© 2012 Paula Cappa Reading Fiction Blog