Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Books to Make You a Better Writer

Yesterday I gave you a list of books to inspire and motivate writers. Today's list contains books (and one website) to help you become a better writer. You might also want to check out the comments from yesterday's post. There are additional recommendations from several blogger friends.

Some of these books are aimed at mystery writers but not all. I particularly recommend the books by Sol Stein and Chris Roerden.

Don’t Murder Your Mystery (2006) – or Don’t Sabotage Your Submission (2008) by Chris Roerden. Bella Rosa Books (Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction Book).

The Elements of Mystery Fiction by William G. Tapply. (2006), Poisoned Pen Press.

The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White. There are newer editions, including an illustrated version, but the one I have is the second edition (1972) Macmillan.

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty (2008) Holt.

Guide to Grammar and Writing. Website sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation.

How to Write a Damn Good Mystery: A Practical Step-by-Step Guide from Inspiration to Finished Manuscript by James N. Frey (2004), St. Martin’s Press. Also How to Write a Damn Good Novel.

How Not to Write a Novel by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman (2008) HarperCollins.

Lessons From a Lifetime of Writing: A Novelist Looks At His Craft by David Morrell (2002) Writers Digest Books.

Murder and Mayhem: A Doctor Answers Medical and Forensic Questions for Mystery Writers by D. P. Lyle, M.D. (2003) Thomas Dunne Books.

Police Procedure & Investigation: A Guide for Writers by Lee Lofland (2007) Writers Digest Books.

Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies by Sol Stein (2005), St. Martin's Press.

I would also like to add two books by agent Donald Maass: Writing the Breakout Novel (2002) and The Fire in Fiction (2009), both from F&W Media.

Do you have other favorites you'd like to recommend?


Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks to everyone for your great suggestions in yesterday's comments!

Anonymous said...

I have a few of those and a few that need a new home on my bookshelf.

Thanks for compiling the list!

Jan Morrison said...

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell,
Write for Your Lives by Joseph Sestito
- the Elizabeth George one on writing mysteries is absoluting facinating but I don't remember the name.
Thank you for this list Patricia!

coffeelvnmom said...

Thanks so much for such a great list!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Pat - I needed/wanted more books to download to my Kindle.

I second Jan, I am reading Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell and am enjoying it.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I've got Roerden's book, Elements of Style, Damn Good Mystery, and Elements of Mystery Fic. Great stuff! I think you've tapped out all the reference books I own now. :)

Mystery Writing is Murder
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

Jemi Fraser said...

Lots of good stuff in this list :)

Anonymous said...

I have a MA in English and teach Grammar and Lit on a collegiate level - - I use Elements of Style regularly. THAT one should be on everyone's shelf, imo. Not just on their shelf, but in their laptop bag. It's GREAT, b/c it gives easy to follow examples.

I'm posting though, b/c I want to thank you for giving the list of mystery writing books. I've had a recent request from a pub along that line . . . and I THINK I'm going to need them.

Thanks, Pat!

Drue Allen
The Cost of Love, 3-17-10

GutsyWriter said...

I both posts and have copied some titles. Thanks to all. The only book I did not see mentioned is "Writing Fiction," by Janet Burroway. This ia a book referred to often during class. Thanks Patricia and all the best in 2010.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Pat, I don't think I've read any of these. Good list!