Our Favorite Books on Writing

11 Nov

Today, at Gem State Writers, we’re going to share with you some of our favorite books on our favorite subject, writing. After you’ve read it, we hope you’ll share your favorites by making an entry in the comment box.


Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott


Screenwriting Tricks for Authors by Alexandra Sokoloff


The Hero’s Journey by Christopher Vogler


The Writing Life by Annie Dillard


My favorite treatise on the subject of writing isn’t a book. Although Dr. Brooks Landon, Professor of English and Collegiate Fellow at the University of Iowa, has written a number of books. I’ve learned a great deal listening to a course he teaches entitled Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer’s Craft through The Teaching Company’s Great Courses series.


Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain


Write Faster, Write Better by David Fryxell

[It] has been my bible for helping me apply writing time management to my schedule. Every time I pick it up, I am inspired to write more.


I don’t have one on writing. As awful as it sounds I don’t read them. I’ve taken workshops and classes but I have this odd fear that if I read a book about writing I will then do everything that author says and lose my own voice.


On Writing by Stephen King

I have never read any of King’s fictional books, but I am a big fan of this book. He clearly knows what it takes to make writing fiction work, and his comments meld with my writing philosophy in every way. If every writer would just follow his advice, there would be a lot less bad writing out there.


The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler, and Who Dares Wins, by Bob Mayer

These are two book I would never be without. Vogler lays everything out in a very nice linear fashion. Easy to follow, and apply. Mayer’s book made more of an impact on me personally. Probably because it takes a very military point of view, and I do love a man in uniform.

Don’t forget to tell us your favorite.


Posted by on November 11, 2011 in Idaho


14 responses to “Our Favorite Books on Writing

  1. Liz Flaherty

    November 11, 2011 at 4:01 AM


    • Janis McCurry

      November 11, 2011 at 7:08 AM

      That is a good one. Thanks for sharing, Liz.

  2. blankenshiplouise

    November 11, 2011 at 5:27 AM

    John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction and On Becoming a Novelist

    I had to read the first one many times before I fully digested it. The second one gave me a lot of hope.

    And I second Bird by Bird — loved it.

    • Janis McCurry

      November 11, 2011 at 7:09 AM

      I started Bird by Bird after I went to a speech by Anne Lamott. She was a great, funny speaker. I wasn’t able to get into the book at that time. I’ll search it out and try again. Thanks for the great tip.

  3. Paty Jager

    November 11, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation, and Conflict

  4. JeryLyn Woytas

    November 11, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    From the Genre Writing Series of the Writers Digest. How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. ‘How to spin a dream, a wish, or a speculation into a vivid, convincing tale of human possibilities.’

  5. Patricia Yager Delagrange

    November 11, 2011 at 9:53 AM

    I haven’t read many books on craft and those I have I don’t recall the titles, so they must not have impressed me very much. Like others, though, I have taken my share of classes which I find helpful and I can save the info on my computer and look at it later.
    I’ve read that many people like Stephen King’s book. I used to read him all the time and then quit. Thanks for this post. It’s very helpful.

    • Carley Ash

      November 11, 2011 at 7:27 PM

      Hi Patti:
      I read King’s book on writing and found it very interesting.

  6. Suzie Quint

    November 11, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    Stein on Writing by Sol Stein is my writer’s bible. Worth its weight in gold, even at today’s gold prices.

    • Carley Ash

      November 11, 2011 at 7:27 PM

      That’s great news. I have Stein’s book in my pile of books to read. Thanks, Suzie.

  7. Trace A DeMeyer

    November 11, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    The most effective book I found is “The Artists Way” by Julie Cameron. It has helped me to be a better journalist, blogger and author.

    • Carley Ash

      November 11, 2011 at 7:29 PM

      Thanks, Trace. I’ve seen it at the store. I’ll check it out.

  8. Mary Vine

    November 14, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    I’m going to try to get ahold of Stephen King’s book on writing one of these days.


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