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6 Great Books for Fiction Writers

Updated on October 28, 2014

What Can Books Teach You About Writing?

Whether writing can really be 'taught' or not, there are definitely plenty of writing-related skills which can be taught, ranging from creativity tricks to cramming as much writing time as possible into a single day.

Here's five great books which will help fiction writers read better, plot better, write better (and faster!), and edit better.

Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.)
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.)

Good writers enjoy good books. Great writers know how to find all the best details in books. Reading Like a Writer focuses on reading to find all those details which make a book great, in order to better work such details into your own writing.

Tarot for Writers
Tarot for Writers

Tarot is frequently portrayed as being used for nothing more than seeing the future – which has given it a bit of a bad reputation among people who disbelieve in fortune-telling entirely or think any such things involve evil spirits – but Tarot can have many other uses. Tarot for Writers uses it as a creativity deck, useful for developing characters or outlining plots. It's a logical use: The Major Arcana follows the Fool's Journey, the Court Cards perfectly represent a wide variety of personality types, and even the pips can bring up some interesting turning points. Tarot for Writers includes several spreads useful for story development, enough information on the individual cards to help even someone who's never read them before, and plenty of useful writing prompts.

No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days
No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

Written for those working through National Novel Writing Month, NP?NP! includes a brief history of NaNoWriMo, some quick-start novel-writing advice, and a week-by-week game plan to keep you going throughout the month. Any resulting novel isn't likely to be the greatest thing since Hemingway, but it will help you get a novel out of your head and into your word processor in a month. How many would-be novelists simply plan to write a novel 'someday', or give up halfway through because they spend too much time listening to their inner editor? NP?NP! encourages us to write the novel, write it now, and worry about making it good later.

The Productive Writer: Tips & Tools to Help You Write More, Stress Less & Create Success
The Productive Writer: Tips & Tools to Help You Write More, Stress Less & Create Success

So you've decided to write a novel in a month. Or to just write a novel, period. Now… how do you cram in enough writing time for it? 'The Productive Writer' is a writer-specific time management book. This book will help with everything from finding time to write to setting goals for your query letters.

The Elements of Style (4th Edition)
The Elements of Style (4th Edition)

The recommendation made by Chris Baty in NP?NP! is to grab a book you like and flip through it every time you just need to know something relating to writing style, such as whether or not to italicise internal monologue. While this may be more fun than a standard grammar book, it's not always the most efficient way to do things, especially if you don't have relevant passages memorised and their pages at hand. A well-organised style book might be dry reading, but you'll find what you need more quickly. The Elements of Style is a classic, organised enough to be easy to find what you need but short enough to read the whole thing as a quick brush-up before starting a new writing project.

Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore
Manuscript Makeover: Revision Techniques No Fiction Writer Can Afford to Ignore

This one's for when your novel is finished and you need to turn the first draft into a great novel. Manuscript Makeover shows how to perfect your story and make it stand out from other novels. With advice on everything from overall style to individual characters, this is a great book for when the actual writing is over and you need to move on to editing.


When do YOU Edit?

Some writers prefer to get the whole story out before they edit anything. Others backtrack and edit frequently while writing. Where do you stand?

See results

What kind of books do you reach for when you want to pick up some new writing tips?

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    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago


      I came back today and pinned this, the other night when I read this I had Pinterest turned off or I would have done it then.


    • ShashiRosa profile imageAUTHOR

      Keelan Rosa 

      4 years ago

      @TheExaminer-1 …It honestly never occurred to me it might not be considered a 'fiction-writing' book.

      But then again, my high school had an entire required class in Elements of Style, where we had to write good Strunk-and-White-acceptable essays on various works of fiction (which themselves followed or broke the rules depending on the feelings the authors were trying to evoke). The EoS teacher also taught Lit of Evil, in which he once claimed Stephen King re-reads EoS every year. Between those two classes, I think I got a bit preconditioned in potential uses of EoS.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 

      4 years ago

      Welcome to HubPages ShashiRosa! I liked your Hub very much and I found it useful and interesting. I have "Elements of Style" but I did not know that it was a book to help with writing fiction. Thanks.

      I voted this up and shared it.



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