Whether you’re a long-time or a newbie writer, you would have to agree: writing is hard. Even if it comes naturally to you, there are still days when your mind is a blank. And that’s when you need advice from the experts. Here is a list of highly recommended books on writing, culled from different writing websites.

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

You’ve probably come across this book in one or more writing classes. And it still is a very useful reference for all aspiring writers, with such useful gems as eight “elementary rules of usage,” ten “elementary principles of composition,” “a few matters of form,” a list of forty-nine “words and expressions commonly misused,” and a list of fifty-seven “words often misspelled.”

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

If non-fiction is the style that you want to pursue, then William Zinsser is just the man to listen to. The book provides concise tips, points out common flaws and how to solve them, and even gives concrete examples of how to write “crisp non-fiction”.

On Writing by Stephen King

Who better to give advice than one of the most prolific fiction writers of the modern age? This is not really a writing manual, but almost a memoir of how he got started and how he struggled in the literary world. He also gives insight into the technical aspects of writing – “developing plot and characters and facing the blank page”

Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver

This is a more of a how-to manual on writing fiction, including tips on plot, characterization and “getting started” writing exercises. This is best for those who are experiencing that age-old problem of writer’s block.

Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark

It’s short, but sweet. And if you’re an aspiring journalist, that is exactly how you should write. This book urges writers  “to imagine the act of writing less as a special talent and more as a purposeful craft.” A great companion piece to The Elements of Style.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on the Writing Life by Anne Lamott

This is the number one on a lot of best books on writing lists. Although it is more inspirational than practical, you can take a lot of wisdom and insight if you truly want to improve your craft.

The Making of a Christian Bestseller: An Insider’s Guide to Christian Publishing by Ann Byle

Now if you plan to go into the Christian Publishing industry, this is the definitive guide for you, with profiles and interviews with more than 40 well-known authors, editors, agents, and other publishing professionals, that can hopefully inspire you in your writing career.


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  1. Rico says:

    Of the books listed here, I’ve only read the first two. Elements of Style is a must-read in most high schools, but they really don’t help the writer. They help editors, though.

    Stephen King’s memoir is very funny, but I know some writers who had the opposite effect when they read this. They felt they have to have a life as adventurous as King’s to be able to write.

    I’ll certainly check out the rest on this list. Thanks for posting.

    Having said that, the books that really helped me write are:
    Writing down the bones, by Natalie Goldberg (… and it’s sequels)
    The right to write, by Julia Cameron

    And here’s an unsolicited advice for newbie writers: Read! Read a lot! Read especially book in the genre you want to write in. Read, read, read!

    • omflit says:

      Thank you so much for your comment and recommendations. I’m sure this will be helpful to the aspiring writers who will read this. And we agree, READ A LOT is a big key towards becoming a great writer

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