This list was sent to me from Online Universities.com from an article, titled, “75 Books Every Writer Should Read.” I have shared a few of the categories with you below:
These books address things like structure, plot, descriptions and other basic elements of any story.
- The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers: You can improve the quality of your writing by adding a mythical quality to them with advice and insight from this book.
- Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler: Whether you agree with the ideas in this book or not, you’ll find it a useful and informative read for writing.
- Word Painting: A Guide to Write More Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan: Get some pointers that will help you make your settings and characters come alive from this book.
- Simple & Direct by Jacques Barzun: Barzun says that his purpose in writing this book was to “resensitize the mind to words” and he does this through a variety of helpful lessons on grammar, word usage and writing that are sure to make your writing better, or at least more thoughtful.
- Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell: This book will help you create plots that will draw readers in and make your work more powerful.
- Elements of Writing Fiction: Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card: Check out this engaging book for a little guidance on creating more believable and fully developed characters.
- Between the Lines by Jessica Morrell: In this book you’ll learn how to craft a cohesive and layered story through the use of suspense, transitions and more.
Improving Your Writing
Use the information in these books to hone your writing skills.
- Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg: This easy-to-read book will offer you some tips on writing as well as often entertaining comparisons and insights on the craft.
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott: Check out this instructional book to get help creating your work from the first drafts to the final publication.
- The 10% Solution by Ken Rand: This book helps guide writers through many of the areas of writing that cause them trouble and keep them frustrated.
- Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French and Ned Stuckey-French: Burroway’s book is one of the most widely read and respected books on writing fiction, and in it writers will find tips on everything from creativity to tone.
- The Artful Edit: On the Practice of Editing Yourself by Susan Bell: There are few things more helpful to improving writing than good editing, and this book is full of tips to help you tackle scaling back and refining your own work.
- Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly by Gail Carson Levine: Are your stories lacking that certain something? Get some tips on finding the missing ingredient from this book.
- Edit Yourself : A Manual for Everyone Who Works With Words by Bruce Clifford Ross-Larson: No matter what kind of writing you do, you’ll find tips on trimming the fat in this book.
- Keys to Great Writing by Stephen Wilbers: This basic guide will help you improve all aspects of your writing with lessons writers at any level can use.
- The Classic Guide to Better Writing: Step-by-Step Techniques and Exercises to Write Simply, Clearly and Correctly by Rudolf Franz Flesch: This guidebook will help you work on organization, grammar, spelling, voice and more.
Writing as a Career
If you’re looking to make a career out of writing, these books can be a big help in getting you there.
- Telling Lies for Fun & Profit: A Manual for Fiction Writers by Lawrence Block: This book offers plenty of advice for those who want to write better and get their work published.
- Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See: Read this book to learn how to look at writing not only as a job, but as a lifestyle.
- Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass: Get some advice from this literary agent on how to create a novel that will help you stand out from the crowd.
- The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner: Learn what editors are looking for when it comes to actually getting your work read and possibly even published from this book.
- The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman: Thousands of novels are submitted to publishers each year, but the vast majority of these will not be published. Learn how you can tweak your writing to give it a fighting chance in this book from literary agent Noah Lukeman.
- The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great by Donald Maass: Learn what makes published authors’ stories so “hot” and what you may be doing that’s making yours, well, not.
- Dare to be a Great Writer: 329 Keys to Powerful Fiction by Leonard Bishop: This book will teach you to write fiction that’s not just good but also sellable.
- Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life by Terry Brooks: Check out this book from author Terry Brooks to get insight into the publishing industry and the process of writing.
- The Marshall Plan Workbook: Writing Your Novel from Start to Finish by Evan Marshall: If you need a little push to get yourself into the swing of writing your novel, then this workbook could be a great motivational tool.
- How To Grow A Novel: The Most Common Mistakes Writers Make and How to Overcome Them by Sol Stein: This book will guide you through the process and the necessary elements of creating an engaging novel.
- How To Be Your Own Literary Agent by Richard Curtis: If you’re not quite ready to make the commitment to a literary agent, you can still ensure you don’t get swindled by reading this book.
- The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Freelance Writer in Six Months or Less by Peter Bowerman: Those hoping to work as freelancers can get advice on finding work and making freelancing a steady paying gig in this book.
You can view the whole list at: http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2010/01/75-books-every-writer-should-read/
Hope this helps you choose your next book to improve your writing skills.