21 Great Books for Working Writers

A Listmania! list by Robert L. Yehling (Los Angeles, CA)
(REAL NAME)   
The list author says: "In my 30+ years as an author, writing teacher, editor and coach to hundreds of authors, I have found these 21 books (I couldn't find one from this list to remove) to be indispensable aids to providing the insight, inspiration and tools that all working writers need to attain excellence in their work – and, for those who seek it, publication. These books are like a matrix, touching upon all aspects of the writing experience – and providing plenty of examples and exercises along the way."
The Write Time
1.  The Write Time by Robert Yehling
The list author says:
  "The most diverse set of experience-driven writing exercises in print. For writers of all abilities, all genres. Author birthdays, quotes from writers and much more."
$16.14   Used & New from: $0.01
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life
2.  Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life by Natalie Goldberg
The list author says:
  "A great inside look at the writing experience, with plenty of insight on how to develop writer's mind"
$14.40   Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Shambhala Library)
3.  Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Shambhala Library) by Natalie Goldberg
The list author says:
  "A classic of inner and outer writing, written to produce fast results – from you. Been in my library for 15 years."
$13.77   Used & New from: $4.70
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (345 customer reviews)

Writing Realistic Dialogue and Flash Fiction
4.  Writing Realistic Dialogue and Flash Fiction by Harvey Stanbrough
The list author says:
  "Why does some dialogue feel like you're in the conversation, and some sounds wooden, made up? This book gives plenty of sage advice on writing dialogue that speaks from your characters, giving us insight, tone, voice, color – just like real life. Which is the point."
Used & New from: $4.59
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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PUNCTUATION FOR WRITERS: An Instructive Reference Text for Writers of Fiction, Essays & Poetry
5.  PUNCTUATION FOR WRITERS: An Instructive Reference Text for Writers of Fiction, Essays & Poetry by Harvey Stanbrough
The list author says:
  "In my opinion, this is the best book on punctuation and grammar for writers since Strunk & White's Elements of Style. In fact, PFW is the 21st century version -- which means, it belongs on every writer's desk."
Used & New from: $10.50
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft
6.  On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
The list author says:
  "What better source to tap for the innermost secrets of writing than an author who has explored as much more of his mind and soul – good, bad and ugly – as any writer who's ever lived – and run it out in the form of a remarkable diversity of memorable books? This book is a gem."
$10.27   Used & New from: $7.61
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,945 customer reviews) | 11 customer discussions

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
7.  Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
The list author says:
  "What I like about Bird by Bird, besides the fact it was written by one of the sweetest and most unassuming authors, is that Anne Lamott interweaves real life with the writing life every step of the way. Bird by Bird's vignettes and simple exercises crack open doors of discovery and ability, every time I pick it up."
$12.71   Used & New from: $4.00
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (789 customer reviews)

The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers
8.  The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers by John Gardner
The list author says:
  "Before his death in the early 1980s, John Gardner was widely proclaimed to be the best writer teaching at the college level – or the best college professor writing literary fiction.You get the point. This is, in my estimation, the best presentation of fiction writing ever published. This book has the keys to the kingdom."
$12.18   Used & New from: $0.07
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)

On Becoming a Novelist
9.  On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner
The list author says:
  "Should be a companion piece to "The Art of Fiction." Shows the process of taking research, life experience, imagination and the first sentence of a story, and rolling them out into a novel – and transforming from a person writing stories to a novelist in the process."
$11.03   Used & New from: $2.99
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

A Natural History of the Senses
10.  A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
The list author says:
  "We write with our senses, and this book is an absolute celebration of the senses and their mighty powers, a veritable feast of the mind. It also deepens the connection between the reader and physical world, which aids writers in describing inner and outer life as processes of nature – and the senses."
$13.67   Used & New from: $0.01
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

Color: A Natural History of the Palette
11.  Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay
The list author says:
  "Colors are not only adjectives to describe the specific hues of objects,but also metaphors for many areas a writer explores – feelings, emotions, moods, the arts, characters, motives, lands and places. This book is a wonderful travel adventure – and a great history of the colors that create beauty in the world."
$12.64   Used & New from: $4.54
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)

Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story
12.  Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story by Christina Baldwin
The list author says:
  "I grabbed this book because I loved the title, and because I feel it provides missing-link level information for memoirists. Then I felt myself transforming as a writer with every passing page. Christina focuses on story, but here you have it: the way to weave experience, research, dreaming, daydreaming, imagination and self-exploration into stories that people won't put down."
$11.28   Used & New from: $5.97
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest
13.  Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest by Susan Seddon Boulet
The list author says:
  "This book is on the list because it brings in every writer's greatest daily aide – the journal. A journal should be a chemistry lab for writers, and this book provides ways to plumb more deeply into our spiritual side, our essential selves, what makes us tick – and what prompts us to put pen to paper."
$13.37   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

Writers Dreaming
14.  Writers Dreaming by Naomi Epel
The list author says:
  "A fairly hard-to-find book these days, "Writers Dreaming" features interviews with authors on their dreaming process – and how they formulated ideas based on dreams. It also shows how narrative and fiction writing closely resembles the dream in shape, form and the ability to run off in many directions – then get to the point. A gem."
Used & New from: $10.00
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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On Being A Writer
15.  On Being A Writer by Bill Strickland
The list author says:
  "This book was a Writer's Digest Book Club release in the late 1980s. It's as relevant now as it was then. One of the best anthologies of working writers ever assembled, because the authors opened up all the way and released their secrets and strategies for turning ideas into stories – and changing worlds in the process."
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4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art
16.  The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art by Joyce Carol Oates
The list author says:
  "Joyce Carol Oates is one of my favorite authors. Her 1999 novel, "Blonde," has to be the greatest immersion of author into central character we've seen in the last 50 years. Joyce is incredibly prolific and exceptional, and this book shows how it all works together in her daily life. Her scholarship is also excellent throughout."
$10.64   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know
17.  The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know by E. D. Hirsch Jr.
The list author says:
  "A reference book for all writers' desks, this details the elements of culture that, if on our fingertips (or at least our bookshelves), gives us a handle on what moves people, what generates creativity, and what deepens life experience. All of these are vital for writing memoir, fiction and narrative non-fiction."
$22.70   Used & New from: $6.48
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

The Chicago Manual of Style
18.  The Chicago Manual of Style by University of Chicago Press Staff
The list author says:
  "This is the style book the vast majority of book and magazine publishers utilize – so buy it and get to know it. Another style book worth purchasing: The Associated Press Style Book."
Used & New from: $0.89
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (190 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

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1001 Ways to Market Your Books (1001 Ways to Market Your Books: For Authors and Publishers)
19.  1001 Ways to Market Your Books (1001 Ways to Market Your Books: For Authors and Publishers) by John Kremer
The list author says:
  "In today's world of self-publishing and the necessity of authors creating their own platforms, I would be remiss in not including this book. It has served authors very well for many years. You will find many great marketing ideas for your books in here – guaranteed."
Used & New from: $11.60
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews) | 2 customer discussions

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Be the Media
20.  Be the Media by David Mathison
The list author says:
  "Quite simply, the most important publishing and marketing book of our time. The author shows ALL the ways a book can be published now, and how to connect all the dots so that you create a platform and market presence that sells your words. I can't say enough about this book: I became a digital publisher because of it."
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5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present
21.  The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Phillip Lopate
The list author says:
  "The undisputed anthology classic for personal essay writers and memoirists, this collection shows, through example, the many ways a writer may convert his or her personal experiences, revelations or observations into compelling essays that find their audiences."
$17.01   Used & New from: $2.74
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Customer Discussions about products in this list
Discussion Replies Latest Post
Is this book ok for an 11 year old girl? 0 17 days ago
Getting sales 3 Apr 5, 2013
The Professional Narration. worth it? 0 Feb 26, 2013
Query Help 0 Aug 21, 2012
"Based on" Question 0 Feb 11, 2012
Why is the Kindle edition more than paperback?!?!? 7 Jan 13, 2012
Malformatting on Kindle edition LOC 1562 2 Dec 31, 2011
On Writing (A Memoir of the Craft) 1 Sep 25, 2011
I have the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy for Children... 0 Apr 30, 2010
Listmania list of best books about writing 1 Jan 29, 2010
Book Marketing 0 Apr 7, 2006
Welcome to the Chicago Manual of Style forum 0 Nov 9, 2005
 
   

About this Listmania!

 

Author

Robert L. Yehling (Los Angeles, CA)
(REAL NAME)   
Qualifications: Award-winning author, writing coach, book editor, writing teacher
Last updated: 7/1/10
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