21 Best Books on Writing

  • Making a good script great is more than just a matter of putting a good idea on paper. It requires the working and reworking of that idea. This book takes you through the whole screenwriting process-from initial concept through final rewrite-providing specific methods that will help you craft tighter, stronger, and more saleable scripts. While retaining the invaluable insights that placed its first two editions among the all-time most popular screenwriting books, this expanded, revised, and updated third edition adds rich and important new material on dialogue, cinematic images, and point of view, as well as an interview with screenwriter Paul Haggis. If you are writing your first script, this book will help develop your skills for telling a compelling and dramatic story. If you are a veteran screenwriter, it will help you articulate the skills you know intuitively. And if you are currently stuck on a rewrite, this book will help you analyse and solve your script's problems and get it back on track.

    This book is truly great. I picked it up hoping it would help me fix a screenplay, and it ended up helping me figure out how to fix some problems with a novel, too. Amazing advice on story structure for anyone and everyone! https://t.co/XJuMPSLAlU

  • FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE WAR OF ART ...There's a mantra that real writers know that wannabe writers don't. And the secret phrase is this: NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*TRecognizing that painful truth is the first step in the writer's transformation from amateur to professional. "When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, you develop empathy. You acquire the skill that is indispensable to all artists and entrepreneurs--the ability to switch back and forth in your imagination from your own point of view as writer/painter/seller to the point of view of your reader/gallery-goer/customer. You learn to ask yourself with every sentence and every phrase: Is this interesting? Is it fun or challenging or inventive? Am I giving the reader enough? Is she bored? Is she following where I want to lead her?"

    6 books (current list; one is a re-read) 6 tags: @kevinakwok @patrick_oshag @ashfontana @AliBHamed @briannekimmel @juliadewahl https://t.co/CzFayfRDby https://t.co/yUl1q96RL4

  • The compelling, groundbreaking guide to creative writing that reveals how the brain responds to storytelling Stories shape who we are. They drive us to act out our dreams and ambitions and mold our beliefs. Storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human. So, how do master storytellers compel us? In The Science of Storytelling, award-winning writer and acclaimed teacher of creative writing Will Storr applies dazzling psychological research and cutting-edge neuroscience to our myths and archetypes to show how we can write better stories, revealing, among other things, how storytellers--and also our brains--create worlds by being attuned to moments of unexpected change. Will Storr's superbly chosen examples range from Harry Potter to Jane Austen to Alice Walker, Greek drama to Russian novels to Native American folk tales, King Lear to Breaking Bad to children's stories. With sections such as "The Dramatic Question," "Creating a World," and "Plot, Endings, and Meaning," as well as a practical, step-by-step appendix dedicated to "The Sacred Flaw Approach," The Science of Storytelling reveals just what makes stories work, placing it alongside such creative writing classics as John Yorke's Into the Woods: A Five-Act Journey into Story and Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing. Enlightening and empowering, The Science of Storytelling is destined to become an invaluable resource for writers of all stripes, whether novelist, screenwriter, playwright, or writer of creative or traditional nonfiction.

    6 books (current list; one is a re-read) 6 tags: @kevinakwok @patrick_oshag @ashfontana @AliBHamed @briannekimmel @juliadewahl https://t.co/CzFayfRDby https://t.co/yUl1q96RL4

  • FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE WAR OF ART ...There's a mantra that real writers know that wannabe writers don't. And the secret phrase is this: NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*TRecognizing that painful truth is the first step in the writer's transformation from amateur to professional. "When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, you develop empathy. You acquire the skill that is indispensable to all artists and entrepreneurs--the ability to switch back and forth in your imagination from your own point of view as writer/painter/seller to the point of view of your reader/gallery-goer/customer. You learn to ask yourself with every sentence and every phrase: Is this interesting? Is it fun or challenging or inventive? Am I giving the reader enough? Is she bored? Is she following where I want to lead her?"

    @CindyBiSV @ganeumann Unbeatable: https://t.co/4nhCpRz1Ii

  • Track Changes

    Matthew G. Kirschenbaum

    Writing in the digital age has been as messy as the inky rags in Gutenberg’s shop or the molten lead of a Linotype machine. Matthew Kirschenbaum examines how creative authorship came to coexist with the computer revolution. Who were the early adopters, and what made others anxious? Was word processing just a better typewriter, or something more?

    @RJMcGirr On word processors, I really enjoyed this book. https://t.co/PiOK5DWnFu

  • FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER THE ETYMOLOGICON. 'An informative but highly entertaining journey through the figures of rhetoric ... Mark Forsyth wears his considerable knowledge lightly. He also writes beautifully.' David Marsh, Guardian. Mark Forsyth presents the secret of writing unforgettable phrases, uncovering the techniques that have made immortal such lines as 'To be or not to be' and 'Bond. James Bond.' In his inimitably entertaining and witty style, he takes apart famous quotations and shows how you too can write like Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde or John Lennon. Crammed with tricks to make the most humdrum sentiments seem poetic or wise, The Elements of Eloquencereveals how writers through the ages have turned humble words into literary gold - and how you can do the same.

    @BatistLeman I recommend "Elements of Eloquence." But if you want to dramatically improve your writing, you should start by building a note-taking system and a repeatable process for creating and expressing interesting ideas. https://t.co/zX6fpiYGTc

  • The author offers a feminine perspective on writing in a collection of essays that examines her development as a poet and bestselling novelist, and includes references to the works of Virgil, Isak Dinesen, and Robertson Davies.

    This reminds me both of Sandor Weores's essay on how writers are and Margaret Atwood's Negotiating with the Dead where she tries to figure out what is one way in which all writers are the same and concludes: lonely childhood, time spent alone, thinking, books (cf world building) https://t.co/Wp2xvNsaf6

  • Bird by Bird

    Anne Lamott

    A step-by-step guide to writing and managing the writer's life covers each portion of a written project, addresses such concerns as writer's block and getting published, and offers awareness and survival tips. Reprint. Tour.

    @substitute @BBolander Honestly, reading @ANNELAMOTT’s Bird by Bird is the only thing keeping me going. If anyone else is in a novel slump lemme know I will legit buy you this book right now (that includes you @BBolander!!)

  • "Learn how to have great conversations through your site or app. Meet your business goals while satisfying your site visitors' needs. Learn how to create useful and usable content from the master - Ginny Redish. Ginny's easy-to-read style will teach you how to plan, organize, write, design, and test your content"--

    @EuroUXWriters @YaelBenDavid @Microcopy_UX @elainetall Just to chime in: Ginny Redish's Letting Go of the Words is one of the three books I *always* recommend. (Be sure to get the 2nd edition.) https://t.co/EJdcXePLWG

  • The Writers Journey

    Christopher Vogler

    This updated and revised third edition provides new insights and observations from Vogler's ongoing work on mythology's influence on stories, movies, and man himself. The previous two editons of this book have sold over 180,000 units, making this book a 'classic' for screenwriters, writers, and novelists

    Book 16 Lesson: Stories are orientation devices, making us more aware of our identities and responsibilities to the world. They act on us by disorienting us into a state of suggestibility with frequent reversals of circumstance. https://t.co/2w13NJ6xIS

  • "Expressing painful emotions is hard--yet it can actually improve our mental and physical health. Distinguished psychologist James W. Pennebaker has spent decades studying what happens when people take just a few minutes to write about deeply felt personal experiences or problems. This lucid, compassionate book has introduced tens of thousands of readers to an easy to use self help technique that has been proven to heal old emotional wounds, promote a sense of well being, decrease stress, improve relationships, and boost the immune system. Updated with findings from hundreds of new studies, the significantly revised second edition now contains practical exercises to help readers try out expressive writing. It features extensive new information on specific health benefits, as well as when the approach may not be helpful"--

    @mbmalabu Some reading that might encourage you: https://t.co/oQVx3DIcVa https://t.co/wDEt8VAts2 https://t.co/JSoZs4AaNI

  • The Writers Journey

    Christopher Vogler

    This updated and revised third edition provides new insights and observations from Vogler's ongoing work on mythology's influence on stories, movies, and man himself. The previous two editons of this book have sold over 180,000 units, making this book a 'classic' for screenwriters, writers, and novelists

    Bringing a paperback of The Writer's Journey https://t.co/QXXKN0AWKc

  • "Expressing painful emotions is hard--yet it can actually improve our mental and physical health. Distinguished psychologist James W. Pennebaker has spent decades studying what happens when people take just a few minutes to write about deeply felt personal experiences or problems. This lucid, compassionate book has introduced tens of thousands of readers to an easy to use self help technique that has been proven to heal old emotional wounds, promote a sense of well being, decrease stress, improve relationships, and boost the immune system. Updated with findings from hundreds of new studies, the significantly revised second edition now contains practical exercises to help readers try out expressive writing. It features extensive new information on specific health benefits, as well as when the approach may not be helpful"--

    @arizerg It's basically therapy, trying to surface how I feel about things and why. I've found that it reinforces/helps achieve the benefits of meditation See also: https://t.co/oQVx3DIcVa https://t.co/wDEt8VAts2 https://t.co/jFRiY4ESdB

  • The Writers Journey

    Christopher Vogler

    This updated and revised third edition provides new insights and observations from Vogler's ongoing work on mythology's influence on stories, movies, and man himself. The previous two editons of this book have sold over 180,000 units, making this book a 'classic' for screenwriters, writers, and novelists

    Really enjoying this book on mythic structures in storytelling. Reading it is like a writing workshop and a therapy session all in one https://t.co/YwOrOmmptI

  • Whether you're composing a letter, writing a school thesis, or starting a novel, The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing offers expert advice on how to think more creatively, how to conjure up ideas from scratch, and how to express those ideas clearly and elegantly. No matter where you find yourself in the writing process - from the daunting blank page to the rough draft that needs shaping to the small but important questions of punctuation - you'll find what you need in this one handy, all-inclusive volume.

    1 month until The Making of a Manager’s release! Today we're launching a few bonuses for folks who pre-ordered: Chapter One “What is Management?" + My Essential Management Reading List + "Guide to Writing your own Manager's 'User Manual.'" Details here: https://t.co/gGjBR7FlWp

  • Emphasizing reader expectations, this composition text provides an insightful guide to writing clearly and effectively. Reflecting on the author's decades of experience as an international writing consultant, writer, and instructor, The Sense of Structure teaches writing from the perspective of readers. This text demonstrates that readers have relatively fixed expectations of where certain words or grammatical constructions will appear in a unit of discourse. By bringing these intuitive reading processes to conscious thought, this text provides students with tools for understanding how readers interact with the structure of writing, from punctuation marks to sentences to paragraphs, and how meaning and purpose are communicated through structure.

    @visakanv +100 my favorite writing book (maybe the only writing book i've ever seriously learned from) works primarily by teaching you what's going on in your mind as you read a passage https://t.co/sdf2fvlcaR

  • FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE WAR OF ART ...There's a mantra that real writers know that wannabe writers don't. And the secret phrase is this: NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*TRecognizing that painful truth is the first step in the writer's transformation from amateur to professional. "When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, you develop empathy. You acquire the skill that is indispensable to all artists and entrepreneurs--the ability to switch back and forth in your imagination from your own point of view as writer/painter/seller to the point of view of your reader/gallery-goer/customer. You learn to ask yourself with every sentence and every phrase: Is this interesting? Is it fun or challenging or inventive? Am I giving the reader enough? Is she bored? Is she following where I want to lead her?"

    @DanielsAshby @dollarsanddata @patrick_oshag My favorite: https://t.co/Z0Xolk1Jlv

  • Bird by Bird

    Anne Lamott

    A step-by-step guide to writing and managing the writer's life covers each portion of a written project, addresses such concerns as writer's block and getting published, and offers awareness and survival tips. Reprint. Tour.

    This is a great book on becoming a better writer: https://t.co/3Fhxgr9N3O

  • Sy Montgomery, New York Times best-selling author and recipient of numerous awards, edits this year's volume of the finest science and nature writing. New York Times best-selling author of How to Be a Good Creature, The Soul of an Octopus, The Good Good Pig, and more, Sy Montgomery, selects the year's top science and nature writing from writers who balance research with humanity, and, in the process, uncover riveting stories of discovery across the disciplines.

    Links to a bunch of great longer articles from 2017 on topics in science and technology. Reminds me of an online version of a book series I used to read every year called "The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013". You stumble across topics you wouldn't otherwise see. https://t.co/USjCjOqnvm

  • On Writing

    Stephen King

    “Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

    Reading @StephenKing's On Writing and really liking it.

  • "Learn how to have great conversations through your site or app. Meet your business goals while satisfying your site visitors' needs. Learn how to create useful and usable content from the master - Ginny Redish. Ginny's easy-to-read style will teach you how to plan, organize, write, design, and test your content"--

    @marsinthestars If you have anything to do with writing or editing online, you've got to have "Letting Go of the Words" by Ginny Redish.