Writing, Writing tips

15 Writing Guides You Absolutely Need

When starting out writing a short story, a poem, a novel, anything for that matter, it is helpful to have guidance. Taking a creative writing class or attending a writer’s Meetup in your area is certainly helpful. If you are looking for some help at an affordable cost, a book is just the answer. These books are some of the most helpful writing guides that you’ll find!

Take A Look and See the 15 Writing Guides You Absolutely Need

writing guides

Save The Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder

Save the Cat is just one of many ironclad rules for making your ideas more marketable and your script more satisfying. This includes:

  • The four elements of every winning logline.
  • The seven immutable laws of screenplay physics.
  • The 10 genres that every movie ever made can be categorized by ― and why they’re important to your script.
  • Why your “hero” must serve your reader.
  • The 15 Beats Creating the “Perfect Beast.”
  • How to use the Board to map 40 scenes with conflict and emotional change.
  • How to get back on track with proven rules for script repair.

The Elements of Style by William Strunk

The Elements of Style is widely considered America’s most beloved grammar book. This is the most trusted writer’s guide to English-this is the book that generations of writers have relied upon for timeless advice on grammar, diction, syntax, sentence construction, and other writing essentials. Strunk begins with the basic rules of usage, offering accessible explanations of correct punctuation and grammar. The Elements of Style is some kind of examples’ collection of all kinds of styles of writing very different works. The greatest book of its kind, this volume is a must for any student, teacher, and writer.

The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises by James Scott Bell

Successfully starting and finishing a publishable novel is often like fighting a series of battles. You not only have to work hard to shape memorable characters, develop gripping plots, and craft dazzling dialogue, but you also have to fight against self-doubts and fears. And then there’s the challenge of learning to navigate the ever-changing publishing industry. You’ll find tactics and strategies for idea generation and development, character building, plotting, drafting, querying and submitting, dealing with rejection, coping with unrealistic expectations, and much more.

Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

Becoming a Writer recaptures the excitement of Dorothea Brande’s creative writing classroom of the 1920s. Decades before brain research “discovered” the role of the right and left brain in all human endeavor, Dorothea Brande was teaching students how to see again, how to hold their minds still, and how to call forth the inner writer.

You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins

In You Are a Writer, Jeff Goins shares his own story of self-doubt and what it took for him to become a professional writer. He gives you practical steps to improve your writing, get published in magazines, and build a platform that puts you in charge. This book is about what it takes to be a writer in the 21st Century. You will learn the importance of passion and discipline and how to show up every day to do the work.

Make a Scene: Crafting a Powerful Story One Scene at a Time by Jordan Rosenfeld

In Make a Scene, author Jordan E. Rosenfeld takes you through the fundamentals of strong scene construction and explains how other essential fiction-writing techniques. You’ll learn how to: craft an opening scene that hooks readers and foreshadows supporting scenes, develop various scene types – from the suspenseful to the dramatic to the contemplative – that are distinct and layered, and tailor character and plot around specific scene types to better convey the nuances of your storyline.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, this special edition of Stephen King’s critically lauded, million-copy bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work.

Elements of Fiction Writing: Conflict and Suspense by James Scott Bell

Ramp up the tension and keep your readers hooked! Inside you’ll find everything you need to know to spice up your story, move your plot forward, and keep your readers turning pages. Expert thriller author and writing instructor James Scott Bell shows you how to craft scenes, create characters, and develop storylines that harness conflict and suspense to carry your story from the first word to the last. Learn from examples of successful novels and movies as you transform your work from ho-hum to high-tension.

Writing to Learn: How to Write–And Think–Clearly about Any Subject at All by William Zinsser

This is an essential book for everyone who wants to write clearly about any subject and use writing as a means of learning.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print by Renni Browne & Dave King

Hundreds of books have been written on the art of writing. Here, at last, is a book by two professional editors to teach writers the techniques of the editing trade that turn promising manuscripts into published novels. In this book, Browne and King teach you, the writer, how to apply the editing techniques they have developed to your own manuscript, in order to bring your manuscript to its fullest potential. Chapters on dialogue, exposition, interior monologue and other techniques take you through the same processes an expert fiction editor would go through to perfect your manuscript. Each point is illustrated with examples, many drawn from the hundreds of books Browne and King have edited.

Novelist’s Essential Guide to Crafting Scenes by Raymond Obstfeld

In Novelist’s Essential Guide to Crafting Scenes, Raymond Obstfeld leads you through the creation process. He examines all the elements that go into making scenes successful, cohesive, and compelling. Tackling topics like finding a scene’s “hot spot,” identifying its dominating purpose, and avoiding a cliched ending, Obstfeld provides essential reading for novice and, novelists alike. Using examples from film, short stories, and best-selling fiction, he documents why and how scenes work. Every page of Novelist’s Essential Guide to Crafting Scenes opens a new window of opportunity for writers. It offers valuable insight, articulate advice, and expert examples.

Writer’s Market: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published by Robert Lee Brewer

Want to get published and paid for your writing? Let the latest Writer’s Market guide you through the process. With thousands of publishing opportunities for writers, Writer’s Market has listings for:

  • Book publishers
  • Consumer and trade magazines
  • Contests and awards
  • and literary agents

These listings feature contact and submission information to help writers get their work published. Plus, you get to see the pay-rate chart and book publisher subject index!

Word Painting: A Guide to Write More Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan

Let Rebecca McClanahan’ writing guide gives you thoughtful instruction and engaging exercises. You’ll learn to develop your senses and powers of observation to uncover the evocative words that portray your mind’s images. McClanahan includes dozens of descriptive passages written by master poets and authors to illuminate the process.

Your First Novel: A Published Author and a Top Agent Share the Keys to Achieving Your Dream by Ann Rittenberg & Laura Whitcomb

In Your First Novel, novelist Laura Whitcomb and seasoned literary agent Ann Rittenberg team up to provide you with the skills you need to write your dream novel. This writing guide discusses the savvy business know-how to get it published. In this all-in-one resource, you’ll discover essential novel-writing techniques. Like, how to best structure your research so that you can save time later. Or, what to consider when developing your cast of characters. Additionally, you’ll learn what makes an agent instantly reject a manuscript. Better yet, read what happens if you get multiple offers! Plus, learn about the publishing process from firsthand accounts.


Duotrope is a subscription-based service for writers and artists that offers an extensive, searchable database of current fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and visual art markets, a calendar of upcoming deadlines, a personal submission tracker, and useful statistics compiled from the millions of data points we’ve gathered on the publishers and agents we list. (via their website)

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