Writing is a skill you will constantly perfect, whether you write novels, magazine articles, or corporate memos. Below are some of Ally’s favorite writing- and publishing-related products, organized by type. If one of your favorites is missing from this list, tell us so we can check it out!
A note on “how-tos”: here are a few favorites, including some classics, but the selection is small compared to the thousands of titles out here. That’s because, though reading a primer is a good beginning, we believe that writers learn the most three ways: by reading and analyzing works similar to the kind you wish to produce; by getting regular, objective feedback from others; and, most important of all, by writing and rewriting until your gem shines true. Use these books as a place to start, but remember: there is no substitute for doing!
Narratives On Writing
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
by Stephen King
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
by Anne Lamott
On Writing Well
by William Zinsser
(If you can only get one writing how-to, I recommend this classic.)
Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting
by Robert McKee
(Don’t let the title fool you—this book is a really useful guide to developing plots in novels and short stories, too.)
Narrative Design: Working with Imagination, Craft, and Form
by Madison Smartt Bell
Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular
by Rust Hills
Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir
by William Zinsser
Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art
by Judith Barrington
The Business of Writing
Marketing for Writers: A Practical Workbook, Expanded 2nd Edition by Angela Render (Thunderpaw Publishing, 1/12)
The Publishing Industry
Book Business: Publishing Past, Present, and Future
by Jason Epstein
The Business of Books
by Andre Schiffrin
Grammar and Style Guides
Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English
by Patricia T. O’Conner
The Write Way: The S.P.E.L.L. Guide to Real-Life Writing
by Richard Lederer and Richard Dowis
The Elements of Style
by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
Missing Pieces? Find Out!
- Learn the nine steps every successful book project goes through.
- Find out if you're ready to compete on the (virtual and physical) shelves.
- Identify which pieces you may be missing.
- Get tips on how to check items off your list.