A Guide to Books About Writing

Books about writing are fantastic. Though they don’t tell you absolutely everything you need to know about writing or the process, they can actually be pretty useful. That being said, books about writing are subjective. Not everyone will find every writing book useful, and that’s okay. However, you never know if it will be useful unless you try it. So, we have compiled a list of writing books that we think you might find useful (and don’t be afraid to try them)!

On Writing by Stephen King

On Writing is arguably the writing book that is recommended the most. Though this list isn’t in order from ‘best writing book’ to ‘worst’, it’s a given that On Writing would be at the top. There’s a reason everybody recommends it, it is pretty great. On Writing is part memoir and part writing advice. King recounts memories from his childhood and pairs them with writing antidotes. As King moves on to talk about his own writing career, he discusses how formative his writing has been to his own life. On Writing gives writing advice in a way that’s easily digestible. However, King doesn’t try and protect your feelings. His writing tips and stories are blunt and might tell you exactly what you need to hear. There’s a reason this book is so heavily recommended by those who have read it.

Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey by Chuck Wendig

Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey is not for the faint of heart. In this novel, Chuck Wendig has compiled a list of blog posts he has written at his blog terribleminds. These blog posts are blunt and pretty vulgar. However, at the core they hold some great writing advice. If you are looking for unconventional advice and have a dark sense of humor, Confessions of a Freelance Penmonkey is for you. Wendig gives advice on nearly every part of the writing industry. From drafting to publishing to marketing, Wendig has your back.

Writing Irresistible Kidlit: The Ultimate Guide for Crafting Fiction for Young Adults and Middle Grade Readers by Mary Kole

This is the first YA/MG oriented book on this list, and it is fantastic. Mary Kole uses her extensive background in publishing to give writers of Young Adult and Middle Grade books the perfect writing advice. Her guide gives information on the market, the different parts of writing a successful YA/MG novel, and writing as a career. However, the best part about Writing Irresistible Kidlit is how easy to read it is. This book doesn’t read like a normal guide; you just want to keep reading it. If you are writing a Young Adult or Middle Grade novel, or even thinking about writing one, you should pick up Mary Kole’s guide.

Before writing this post, I put out a call on twitter to ask for any other writing advice books that people have found helpful. Though I haven’t read these and can’t give a personal opinion about how effective they can be, they come highly recommended from Teen Eyes followers, so you should probably check them out. Someone on twitter also recommended that you read On Writing by Stephen King (see, I told you that everyone should read it!).

Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft Into a Published Book by Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson

Go Teen Writers is written by two published authors and is directed at teen writers (though I’m sure it can be useful to all ages). Go Teen Writers takes you on a step-by-step bases through how to publish your novel, starting at the very first draft.

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer

I hadn’t heard of this guide before, but after taking a look at it, it seems fantastic. VanderMeer offers a guide to writing in a drastically unconventional way- through pictures. Wonderbook also includes essay from some of the most famous names in fantasy writing.

Have you read and loved any books about writing that aren’t listed here? Have you read any of these? If so, what did you think? 

– Z.S.