Writing Tips: Books


Since I began writing some years ago, the one thing that has astonished me, is how giving, every writer I have met has been.  It doesn’t seem to matter if it is a writer, at the top of their game, with a bundle of published books on the shelves or someone on the bottom rung of the writing ladder. I’m sure I’m not the only one who pounces on these nuggets of information, shared by these wonderful people, especially when they seem to be especially relevant to my writing at that particular moment in time.  What better place to share with fellow writers than here! Hopefully, with your help, this post will grow and we will all pick up even more helpful tips and advice to push us to the top of that ladder.  To get started, I’ve included books on writing but watch out for future posts I’m currently compiling, on software tools and general tips:

‘The New Author’ by Ruby Barnes
A self-help guide to novel writing, publishing as an independent ebook author and promoting your brand using social networks.




Eats, Shoots & Leaves‘ by Lynne Truss
The zero tolerance approach to punctuation.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves

‘The Five-Minute Writer
‘ by Margret Geraghty
Exercise and inspiration in creative writing in five minutes a day.

On Writing‘ by Stephen King
A memoir of the craft.

Cover of "On Writing: A Memoir of the Cr...





How To Write Damn Good Fiction‘ by James N Frey
Advanced techniques for dramatic storytelling.

How To Write A Thriller‘ by Scott Mariani
This book is designed to help aspiring thriller writers to create exciting, suspenseful novels and to give you the best chance of getting your work published and into the bookshops.

Cover of "How to Write a Thriller"

Write And Get Paid For It‘ by Terry Prone

From Pitch To Publication‘ by Carole Blake
Everything you need to know to get your novel published.

Cover of "From Pitch to Publication: Ever...

‘The Author’s Toolkit’ by Mary Embree
A step-by-step guide to writing and publishing your book.

‘Becoming A Writer’ by Dorothea Brande
As recommended by @maryjoburke1
A reissue of a classic work originally published in 1934 on writing and the creative process, Becoming A Writer recaptures the excitement of Dorothea Brande’s creative-writing classroom of the 1920’s.

‘Elements of Style’ by Strunk and White
– As recommended by @n_appleton
First published in the 1930’s and considered classic and timeless by many. Mentioned as a must by Stephen King in his book ‘On Writing’.

Cover of "The Elements of Style, Fourth E...

How Not To Write A Novel‘ by Sandra Newman & Howard Mittelmark
– As recommended by @gutterbookshop
200 mistakes to avoid at all costs if you ever want to get published.

Write Away‘ by Elizabeth George
– As recommended by @JanetOkane
“Here’s what I tell my students on the first day when I teach one of my creative writing courses: You will be published if you possess three qualities — talent, passion, and discipline.”

Cover of "Write Away: One Novelist's Appr...

Getting The Words Right‘ by Theodore A Rees Cheney
– As recommended by @JanetOkane
39 ways to improve your writing.

Write To Be Published ‘ by Nicola Morgan
– As recommended by @JanetOkane
The Crabbit Old Bat whips you into shape and helps you make a publisher say ‘Yes’.

Writing Fiction‘ by Janet Burroway
– As recommended by @ValerieSirr
A guide to narrative craft.

The Writer’s Handbook Guide to Crime Writing‘ editor Barry Turner
– As recommended by @arlenehunt
With advice from Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Tony Strong and Minette Walters.

The Art of Fiction‘ by John Gardner
– As recommended by @MWheelaghan
Notes on craft for young writers.

I’d love to hear your comments and any recommendations which can be added to this ever-growing list.

About Susan Condon

Irish Writer and Poet. Award winning, published short story writer.

Posted on May 5, 2012, in Writing Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. Margot Kinberg

    Susan – Thank you so much for sharing this treasure trove. You’re absolutely right that it doesn’t matter how seasoned a writer is; one can always use support…


  2. There are so many, but my favorites are the ones (like Stephen Kings) written by people who have actually sold millions of copies. If they have that many readers, then we should all learn from them~


  3. Hi Susan,
    I’ve also been posting some helpful creative writing books books on my blog recently and I think we’re sharing quite a few – great minds think alike ;o). One not on your list and a favourite of mine is John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction. Also, I believe Carole Blake’s advice on “writing a synopsis” is no longer accurate – in the book she recommends writing a long and very detailed synopsis for anyone approaching her agency, but she now says the agency no longer has the time to read such lengthy stuff. Cheers 🙂


  4. cool idea I’ve been considering getting that one by Carole Blake for a while now. But if I was to say just one thing about writing it would be “If in doubt cut!!”


  5. Cheers Susan. I have some but not all on the list, so am off shopping now!



  6. Janet Burroway: ‘Writing Fiction’ 🙂


  7. Hi Susan, this is a really good idea because there are so many books on writing to choose from and it’s easy to part with money for one which maybe isn’t right for you. Apart from warning everyone off books that mention a period of time in their title – you know the sort of thing, ‘Write a Novel in 20 Minutes’ – here are some I swear by.
    Write Away by Elizabeth George. She’s a crime writer but her guidance is applicable to any novel writing.
    Getting the Words Right by Theodore A Rees Cheney. Some detailed information for revising but he also writes about how serendipidity can work in the creative mind.
    Write to be Published by Nicola Morgan. I first came across Nicola on her blog, Help! I need a Publisher! and this is all that advice, and more. Commonsense and inspiring.


  8. Always worth remembering a mention of ‘Artists & Writers Yearbook’ & ‘Children’s Artists & Writers Yearbook’ – not just for lists of agents & publishers but great essays too! Also ‘How Not To Write A Novel’ by Sandra Newman & Howard Mittelmark is superb (& funny!)


    • Thanks – I read ‘How Not To Write A Novel’ a couple of years ago but had forgotten to mention it, will add it to the list. You’re right on the Artists & Writers Yearbooks but will leave in your comments and focus, for the moment on tips on writing. Appreciate your input.


  9. For those of us who need help (or a lot of help) with odd grammar queries, and reminders to cut clutter and write simply, Strunk & White’s Elements of Style is a classic. I re-read the whole thing almost once a year and use it as a reference guide regularly. Couldn’t imagine writing without it.


  10. At long last I read Stephen King’s book On Writing and found it invaluable as a tool. There’s a long way and a short way of learning things, and they all sound like great reads. I’m with Joe and yourself, I think its amazing and encouraging to see how helpful fellow writers are no matter what stage they are at on the success ladder. I guess its hard to forget being a stuggling writer, and probably always a good thing to remember!


  11. Susan, congratulations on drawing attention to a worthy subject. I couldn’t agree more with your views on the generosity of fellow authors – they really are a selfless, generous bunch. I wouldn’t like to throw in some recommendations for fear of missing the obvious, but I would suggest that there are also some great regular writer blog postings that should be followed.


  1. Pingback: How to Get Started as a Writer « Jeannine Vegh

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