I love books. And I believe that most authors are addicted to reading. So, what could be better than a list of the best books on writing, right?
Well… not much, actually. But how can you find those gems in this overwhelming ocean of writing guides out there? That’s why I decided to make this post which lists some of my favorite books on writing fiction.
1. On Writing by Stephen King
My number one choice. It is the only book written by an author who was able to put himself into success while following his own advice about being patient and hard-working. Of course, that doesn’t mean that his writing rules are always true or for everyone. For example, they don’t work for me at all, but then again I am not a Stephen King and my style is nothing like his. But I still find On Writing very inspiring because it made me understand how much one must learn about their craft if they want to succeed as an author (I think I quoted this book as opposite of laziness on some occasion). There’s even a quote from King himself on the cover: “New writers — you have to crawl before you walk.” And after reading this book, I believe that with all my heart.
2. The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass
One of the first writing books I read and loved. I think the only reason why it didn’t become number one is that it’s not as detailed as King’s book. But even though it doesn’t have so much information, what’s there is just golden. Some parts are a bit outdated for me now, but other than that—this book actually helped me to create this blog and become more knowledgeable about writing fiction in general.
3. Story Engineering by Larry Brooks
Let me start with saying that if you can afford buying all three of these books at once—do it! They compliment each other pretty well and cover most aspects of writing both fiction and non-fiction. But if you don’t want to spend money on multiple books at once, go ahead and buy this one first. That’s what I did and it was totally worth it. Larry Brooks has a very pragmatic approach to writing—something that made me really appreciate the book. I think this must be the only one on my list that’s actually meant for screenwriters, but hey, why not? It works just as well for people who are writing novels too.
4. Stein On Writing by Sol Stein
This book is another great collection of tips divided into categories so you can easily find something relevant to your current work in progress or manuscript. One downside is that this book definitely tries to cover all aspects of fiction writing, so there’s no specific focus here (the opposite of Story Engineering ). The upside, however, is that if you’re willing to invest some time into Stein’s book, you’ll probably learn a lot about a bunch of different areas of fiction.
5. The Art of Character by David Corbett
Corbett’s book is focused on creating believable characters in fiction. It doesn’t contain much “hardcore” advice (if you can call anything related to writing like that), but it has a lot of deep insights into what makes us human. I think these are the types of books that are not written often, but when they are—they get read by many people and influence them for years to come.
6. Save The Cat! by Blake Snyder
This one is great for learning how to create compelling plots, especially if you don’t have any experience with screenwriting or even watched many movies prior reading this book. Even though I agree with most concepts presented there, some ideas really depend on the genre you in—take my word for it.
7. Story Fix by Larry Brooks
This one is my most recent read, but I can already tell it’s an amazing addition to my writing books list. It contains some really helpful tips that I actually haven’t found anywhere else (together with Save The Cat! ). For me, the best part of this book was its “remedies” section at the end of each chapter—it helped me to get a better understanding of what can be wrong with my story and how to fix it.
I have other books on writing that deserve to be mentioned here, but their content is not specific enough or they’re just plain boring for me personally so I didn’t enjoy reading them at all.
So, if you’re still looking for something great to read about writing fiction—check out my list and make your choice! I hope it’ll help you become a better writer too.