If you want to become a better writer, you have to keep writing and studying your craft. Over the years, I've read hundreds of books on writing better and faster and I keep researching for new titles I haven't read yet. Still a favorite go-to for me is Strunk and White, The Elements of Style. It still holds up after nearly 100 years! As mostly a non-fiction writer who focused on entertainment and pop culture, I could not get by without the AP Style Guide.
It takes courage to write honestly and to write well. Bookfox.com is one of the dozens of writing sites I visit regularly to stay engaged.
What I like best about this site is that it a great resource for writers just starting out. Sometimes I forget what that is like since I write for a living. It's been mentioned by some of my favorite media outlets including Publisher's Weekly, Writer's Digest and The Chicago Tribune.
So here's author John Matthew Fox's Top 5 Best Books (including print and Kindle editions) on writing which mirrors many of my own choices, especially On Writing by Stephen King. Here, he explains why each book is necessary, so pay attention. Regardless of your level of writing experience these books will help to improve your craft.
So, add these resourceful titles to your bookshelf today.
1. Best Book for Beginners
"On Writing" by Stephen King
This book is the equivalent of an entire degree in writing. Seriously, my entire undergrad experience in creative writing could have been boiled down into the plainspoken and practical advice that King gives. He's exceptionally clear and only includes the most helpful information. If you are starting out as a writer, this book is vital.
2. Best Book to Help You Overcome Writing Fears
"The Courage to Write" by Ralph Keyes
So many of us fear writing. We love it, we want it, and yet we're scared of it. Keyes encourages us that this is perfectly normal, and shows us all the famous authors who have overcome crippling fears. If you want a bolt of lightning in your fingertips, Keyes will deliver it to you. There is no way you can read this and not feel emboldened to write your book.
3. Best Book to Help You Live the Writing Life
"Making a Literary Life" by Carolyn See
Carolyn See is responsible for my writing habits. She told me to write 1,000 words every day, and I followed this advice religiously. She has a ton of other practical advice too (about money, and about habits) and she literally changed my writing life. Read her. Now.
4. Best Collection of Writing Essays
"The Writer's Notebook" by Assorted Authors (Tin House Books)
Steve Almond talks about sex scenes ("Hard Up for a Hard-on"), Aimee Bender talks about character motivation, and we also get essays about how to write a dynamic scene and choose exactly the right word. Whether you're just starting out or have 3 books under your belt, this book will give you the lowdown on powerful writing skills.
5. Best Book for Advanced Writers
"The Art of Subtext" by Charles Baxter
You don't just want to write books that are good on the surface. You want to write books with layers of meaning, books that entertain the reader on the second read and the third read. Books so deep the reader can't stop thinking about them, and want to discuss them with their book club. Baxter teaches you how to do that.
For more writing tips for beginners as well as advance writers, visit the BoxFox here.