Here is a list of my recommended resources for writers who wish to improve their craft. Included here are guides on grammar, syntax, and fiction writing. I consider these important manuals on the essentials of writing. Some of them even delve into the various aspects of the writing life.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Packaged as a memoir, this book is actually an indispensable writing guide. Master storyteller Stephen King offers excellent writing advice to writers in any genre—probably the most famous of which is “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
The lesson here is that good writing is possible only if you 1) allow other writing to influence you, and 2) put in the time to write. This book includes other such nuggets of wisdom, which is why I highly recommend it.
This is like two books in one: a writing guide and a marketing guide. Although the writing advice is very good, I tend to recommend this book to writers seeking advice on how to get started in promoting their work.
On the marketing side, this book includes valuable advice on what to do and what not to do. Without a functional platform, it’s difficult for writers to publish and promote their work, but there’s certainly ineffective (and even harmful) ways to go about it. This book will give you the fundamentals.
The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White
The great thing about this book is that it’s both thin and packed full of practical advice. The streamlined quality helps explain why it has remained one of the most popular writing guides for more than 100 years.
This guide is less about how fiction works and more about the rudimentary aspects of how the English language works, whether through grammar or syntax. This is a reference book that belongs on every writer’s shelf, whether you write fiction or non-fiction.
A common recommendation to new fiction writers is to start small. The short story is a form of fiction that allows writers to develop their craft without having to worry about it completely failing. Writing a novel, on the other hand, means a lot more is at stake.
Writing short story after short story allows you to experiment through trial and error, and this book will give you the key elements of what makes a short story work.
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