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Six Great Books on Writing

If you’re an aspiring writer, then you’ve likely heard the same advice a million times: Read as much as you can. If you want to become an artisan of the written word, then you should fully submerge yourself in the culture of letters. This means reading newspaper articles, novels, poems, biographies, criticism, and academic studies. […]

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If you’re an aspiring writer, then you’ve likely heard the same advice a million times: Read as much as you can. If you want to become an artisan of the written word, then you should fully submerge yourself in the culture of letters. This means reading newspaper articles, novels, poems, biographies, criticism, and academic studies. It also means reading the occasional book that’s actually about writing to help you perfect your craft.

There are tons of books about writing out there, but some are much better than others. Here are six popular titles to consider.

“On Writing” by Stephen King

Whether you enjoy his brand of fiction or not, you can’t deny that King has become a massive force in the world of commercial fiction. His novels glue readers to the page and insist they keep on reading. His “On Writing,” is the most popular book in its genre, which is of little surprise considering the wisdom it contains.

“The Elements of Style” by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White

If plot and structure constitute the architectural frame of a novel, syntax and grammar represent the nuts and bolts. In order to truly write well, you need to give these grittier aspects their due.

“The Associated Press Stylebook”

This is another great option for anyone looking to learn the accepted stylistic norms of modern writing. It’s not exactly a fun read, but it’s certainly useful.

“Plot and Structure” by James Scott Bell

Far too many writers assume that crafting a story is all about seizing that sudden inspiration from the muse. In this acclaimed book, James Scott Bell shows how writers, like architects, also must consider the structure of their work.

“The Writing Life” by Annie Dillard

This book by a Pulitzer Prize winner goes beyond simple craft advice, teaching writers how they can maintain balance in their lives while pursuing their artistic goals. From revising faulty paragraphs to remaining persistent and diligent, Dillard’s recommendations cover it all.

“The Paris Review Interviews”

For decades, the Paris Review has been among the foremost literary journals in the world. Their author interviews have always been fascinating, and this book combines insights from literary giants like Hemingway, Cortazar, and many more.

Originally published on Michael Wolkind QC’s website.

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