While there's an idea that writing is an innate skill, visited on exceptional human beings by a divine muse, the truth is that it involves a lot of practice and hard work. Below, you'll find all our book recommendations relating to writing and how to write. They range from books that shed insight on how leading authors think about their own writing process, often including practical tips (e.g. Stephen King recommends not using adverbs unless you really have to) to textbook-like books that you can use to improve your basic grammar and punctuation. Reference books are also important, as it's useful to decide on one authority that you turn to as your style guide. Rules can be subjective and vary significantly between, say, American and British English.
One recently published book that tries to spell out what makes the writing of the great Russian short story writers so compelling is A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by the Booker Prize-winning novelist George Saunders. The book is based on a class he teaches to aspiring writers at Syracuse University. Like many of the inspiring books on these lists, it's hard not to want to try your hand at writing a story of your own after reading it.
From their egos and anxieties to the way they work, writers have more in common than we might think. The journalist and editor takes us inside the writing process and reveals who gives the best advice for aspiring authors
The professor of creative writing at UEA says Joseph Conrad got it right when he said that the sitting down is all. He chooses five books to help aspiring writers.
What makes for great comic writing? Is it possible to say? The author and former Simpsons writer gives us his personal choice of five pitch-perfect examples
Best-selling author says the elements you need to write a perfect thriller are a brilliant central character, some link to reality, and an inanimate object around which the human story revolves.
The author and creative writing teacher tells us where to go for tips on finding your voice, grabbing the reader’s attention and getting published
According to Graber, poetry demands that readers and thinkers slow down; just as a poem emerges through careful attention, it demands and recreates that kind of attention within the reader
The Hollywood screenwriting guru picks the best five books on writing a blockbusting screenplay. Aristotle knew what he was doing. It’s all about the story. Less is more. One word is better than lots of words. Simple really.
Garner's Modern English Usage
by Bryan A. Garner
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
Spunk & Bite: A Writer's Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style
by Arthur Plotnik
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation
by Jane Straus
The Copyeditor's Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications
by Amy Einsohn
In the age of the internet, we are all writers. Correct grammar and punctuation are key to making a good impression. Grammar geek Mark Nichol, a writer at Daily Writing Tips, picks five of the best grammar and punctuation books, and tells us why bad grammar leads to anarchy.
Most grammar books say ‘do this, and that’s that.’ But who says? How do they know? Real rules are grounded in the facts of actual standard usage. Here are five grammar books that show their work, telling you not only what to do but why, and how they know. Accept nothing less.