Top 20 books for writers

Another gem to share from my Women Writers, Women’s books group on Facebook. Someone asked for book recommendations for budding authors, the responses piled in, as you would expect, but one awesome member compiled the responses into an easy reference list (thanks Wendy):

The top 20 books for would-be authors

(you can find them all on my Goodreads shelf)

  1. Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
  2. The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
  3. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  4. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  5. Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose
  6. Write Away by Elizabeth George
  7. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne & King
  8. How Not to Write a Novel by Sandra Newman
  9. Becoming a Writer by Dorthea Brande
  10. Write to be Published by Nicola Morgan
  11. Snoopy’s Guide to the Writing Life by Barnaby Conrad and Monte Schulz
  12. Never too late: your roadmap to reinvention by Claire Cook
  13. The Writer’s Little Helper by James V. Smith, Jr.
  14. Stephen King- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
  15. The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass
  16. Plot versus Character by Jeff Gerke
  17. Harry Bingham’s books
  18. Monkeys with Typewriters by Scarlett Thomas
  19. Editor-Proof your Writing by Don McNair
  20. The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman

As a bonus I’d also like to highly recommend the following, I’ve used these books a lot recently and want to give them a shout out:

  1. K. M. Weiland‘s books – Outlining your novel, and Structuring your novel and their associated workbooks
  2. The Positive Trait Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus and The Emotion Thesaurus, by Rebecca Puglisis and Angela Ackerman

I find when I get stuck, I can flick through these books and they help trigger a new way of looking at the story, a scene or character that sparks me off again.


Do you have a must-read guide for writing or a particular book you constantly find yourself referring back to? Tell me about it and I’ll add it to the list.


Tracey Ambrose
"Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment." Ralph Waldo Emerson


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