My book recommendations for the craft of writing that I have found absolutely essential. Perhaps you will too. —J. M. Carlton

Top 5 Craft Books for Aspiring Fiction Novelists

(in a particular order)

  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King
  • Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach to Fiction and The Writing Life, Elizabeth George 
  • On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, William Zinsser
  • The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, Christopher Vogler
  • The Elements of Style, William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

10 More Books Writers Should Probably Read

(in no particular order)

  • The Paris Review Interviews Volumes 1-4
  • Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport
  • Writing the Blockbuster Novel, Albert Zuckerman
  • Hamlet’s BlackBerry: A Practical Philosophy for Building a Good Life in the Digital Age, William Powers
  • The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield
  • The Forest for the Trees, Betsy Lerner
  • A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway
  • The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, Twyla Tharp
  • Distinction, Pierre Bourdieu
  • Method Writing, Jack Grapes
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