Top 8 Books About Writing

self-editing-for-fiction-writers1Need some extra writing advice? Love highlighting and taking notes? These are some of the resources I recommend the most. Enjoy!

Self Editing For Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

This is one of THE most important things writers can teach themselves. Put this one at the top of your list if you are revising right now.

On Writing by Stephen King

Everyone knows (or should know!) this one. It’s the best guide out there, unsurprisingly, from one of the best in the biz. You’ve probably already taken some of this book in; there are quotes are everywhere on Twitter and Tumblr.

Writing The Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (& workbook)

This book is so good for learning how to take your work from ‘good’ to ‘great.’ Who doesn’t want that? Written from the perspective of a literary agent, too.

The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

Need help with descriptors? Finding it tiresome to think of ways to describe characters uniquely? This is the book for you. It’s your guide to writing character expression.

Passion for Narrative by Jack Hodgins

If there is a ‘rulebook’ out there for fiction writing, I think this is it. Packed with the most information on general fiction writing that I’ve ever seen.

The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman

Written by a literary agent, this book is a great guide for developing your plot.

The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson

Want to better understand story structure? This one’s for you.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott 

Talk about style and voice. This book will change the way you think about writing. One of my all-time faves. Push this to the top of your list.

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

13 thoughts on “Top 8 Books About Writing

  1. I loved ‘On Writing.’ What great advice.
    ‘Writing the Breakout Novel’ + Workbook are on my shelf, right next to ‘Bird by Bird.’ I plan to review both before is start to query agents.


  2. I loved my copy of On Writing, but then I lent it to one of my writing students. Alas and alack, it’s never been back.


  3. Great list! I recently read On Writing and was surprised by how much I liked it. My current favorite is Still Writing by Dani Shapiro.

    I am editing my novel now and feeling a bit lost, so thanks for recommending Self Editing! I’ll check it out for sure.


  4. What great company The Emotion Thesaurus is in! The only one of these I’m not familiar with is Passion for Narrative. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for including us!


  5. I teamed with four other editors to expand in a huge way what Rennie and Brown did with their short book. If writers want to really get into the flaws of fiction writing and see 60+ before and after passages, The 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing is a more in-depth (and much more current) resource. Hope you all check into it.


  6. Reblogged this on Historical Fiction Addicts and commented:
    If you don’t have a few of these books on your shelf, dear writer, then I strongly suggest you do. I have three of the eight and plan to go out and get a couple more that Carly suggested. Let me know how you find the book suggestions.


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