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Best Craft Writing Books

by Equinox Books
October 22, 2019

We compiled a list of our favorite craft writing books, just in time for #NaNoWriMo

Soon, many writers will be participating in National Novel Writing Month. It’s the popular challenge that takes place in November, encouraging writers to write 50,000 words in 30 days. To aid all of the writers and authors out there, our staff came together to compile a list of some of our favorite books covering the craft of writing. We shared a few reasons why we found them useful in hopes that you can do the same.

 

Image of Stephen King's On WritingA fan favorite among craft books, as always, was Stephen King’s On Writing. In our office, Stephen can do no wrong, but this book really does a service to writers everywhere who are looking to sharpen their skills across the board. From inspiration for stories, to the very art of writing itself, King covers it all in this memoir. Of course, in our list of favorite craft writing books, we didn’t neglect the classics either. The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, can help not only the beginner but continue to aid the veteran writer. A good reminder that no one is ever beyond the basics.

We’ve also sprinkled in a variety of other favorite craft writing books. Good Prose by Kidder and Todd is helpful in that you hear the advice from both the writer and the editor. While it focuses on non-fiction writing, the advice and strategies from a writer and his editor help to consider the entire process of writing and editing with the dual-perspective. And we have other suggestions to help you with your plot, structure, and creativity.

Equinox Books Staff Favorites: Craft Writing

 

Craft Book: The Art of Slow Writing by Louise DeSalvo

The Art of Slow Writing by Louise DeSalvo. It encourages writers to slow down and more fully explore their creativity and story. 

Craft Book: Good Prose by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd.

Good Prose by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd.  Dual advice from a freelance writer, Kidder, and his editor, Todd. They explore creative strategies and offer guidance to anyone from the professional writer to the beginner alike.

Craft Book: The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White.

 

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. A classic. Reviews all those rules you should only break if you have a really good reason. Enough said. 

Craft Book: Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder. On screenwriting, but still applicable. Boils down writing to its essence. Loglines capturing the idea, story beats pumping blood through your plot, the hero serving the concept… For everyone who ever thought about writing something longer than a birthday card.

Craft Book: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry as she candidly reveals that the writing life is not for the faint at heart. Timeless advice on how to make writing work for the rest of your life. Or is it the other way round? 

Craft Book: The Art of Slow Writing by Louise DeSalvo

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard. Beautifully written account on the all-consuming writing life. Know what you get into before you do and learn how to take joy from it.

Craft Book: The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell

The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell. A classic everyone should read. Deconstructs and demystifies the stages of the mythical journey that shape the all-pervasive three-act structure: departure, initiation and return. Follow literary heroes through the ages and across cultures.

Craft Book: The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner

The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner. A survival guide for writers written by an agent turned editor. On making it through the jungle of the publishing journey. On writing by oneself for others. And on staying sane while doing it.

Craft Book: Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. Individual essays on the writing life and creativity. Tells you to read. And watch movies. Helps you recognize what makes a good story.

Craft Books: Plot and Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that Grips Readers from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell

Plot and Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot that Grips Readers from Start to Finish by James Scott Bell. A very entertaining guide to the intersection of plot and structure. Also tackles the difference between literary fiction and popular fiction.

We hope this list of craft writing books is helpful to you in your writing process. No matter what stage you’re at or what piece of the story you struggle with, there’s a wealth of knowledge in the writing community from those who have done it successfully and those willing to share their failures and how you can learn from them.

 

If you found this helpful, you might like our last blog post walking you through the 12 elements of an unputdownable book.