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Books on Writing

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

I've got to admit--me and my wife are feeling a little ragged from all this virus lockdown stuff as you can see in the pic. So exercise is the panacea (and lately Vit D, look it up), but then I just want to mindwash with TV and social media (though I was encouraged to delete all apps after watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix). So what I'm saying, after my big hit on my last post (all I had to do was insert the word Trump to get visits from all over the world), my zest, mojo, spark, enthusiasm, creativity et. al, is at a low ebb.

So here's a filler post: a list of books, in no order whatsoever, on writing culled from "best" lists and from my own reading. Many of the books I haven't read, but are repeated on those "best" lists and I want to read them. I've asterisked the ones I've read and found useful. The list is eclectic and includes creativity stimulants, craft, life, and utility of writing, mostly long fiction. Forthcoming lists may appear on writing apps, websites, and best novels, as adjudicated by me. Speaking of adjudicated, watching Barrett sit in the senate and answer questions is fascinating. She'd make a terrific character in a novel. Is she perfect?

  1. *Steering the Craft: Ursula Le Guin

  2. The Anthology of Really Important Modern Poetry, Kathryn and Ross Petras

  3. The Princess Saves Herself in This One. Amanda Lovelace

  4. *The Poetry of Yehuda Amichai: Translated by Robert Alter

  5. Selected Poems: W.H. Auden

  6. *Selected Poems. Selected Prose: T.S. Eliot

  7. How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry: Edward Hirsch

  8. *On Writing: Stephen King

  9. Three Act Structure:

  10. About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, & Five Interviews: Samuel R. Delany

  11. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century: Stephen Pinker

  12. How to Write Bestselling Fiction: Dean Koontz

  13. The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life: Ann Patchett

  14. Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Let’s Them Go: Les Edgerton

  15. The Writer’s Journey: Christopher Vogler

  16. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: Renni Browne and Dave King

  17. The War of Art: Steven Pressfield

  18. *Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them: Francine Prose

  19. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller: John Truby

  20. The Art of Memoir: Mary Karr

  21. *Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life: Anne Lamott

  22. *Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation: Lynne Truss

  23. *The Elements of Style: William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

  24. *The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface: Donald Maass

  25. *If You Want to Write: Brenda Ueland

  26. It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer’s Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences: June Casagrande

  27. *The Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction: John Dufresne

  28. *Writing Fiction, Barnaby Conrad and the staff of Santa Barbara’s Writing Conference

  29. *On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft: Stephen King

  30. *Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success and Structuring Writing Your Novel: K.M. Weiland

  31. *The Paris Review Interviews, Vols. 1-4: The Paris Review

  32. The Portable MFA in Creative Writing: New York Writers Workshop

  33. Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish: James Scott Bell

  34. Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them: Francine Prose

  35. *The Art and Craft of Writing: Oakley Hall

  36. *Opening Up: J.W. Pennebaker

  37. *Screenplay: Syd Field

  38. *Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies:y Sol Stein

  39. Take Off Your Pants! Outline Your Books For Faster, Better Writing: Libbie Hawker

  40. This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage: Ann Patchett

  41. This Year You Write Your Novel: Walter Mosley

  42. Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction: Benjamin Percy

  43. To Show and To Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction: Phillip Lopateng

  44. *Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within: Natalie Goldberg

  45. *The Writing Life: Annie Dillard

  46. The Writing Life: Writers on How They Think and Work: Marie Arana

  47. *Naked, Drunk, and Writing: Adair Lara

  48. *Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life after Which Everything was Different: Chuck Palahniuk.

  49. The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller: John Truby

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