Books for Writers

I truly love learning about the craft of writing. There’s nothing more exciting than reading an article or book, or listening to a speaker who provides you with a new and different way to look at the world. So, I thought I’d share my very favorite writing books. I’ve organized them by craft and inspiration. I hope you find something here that inspires you as much as I was.

Some of my Favorite Craft Books

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Scene and Structure

Jack Bickham

Scene and sequel are fundamental to understanding the structure of writing fiction. Jack Bickham takes the concept introduced in Dwight Swain’s book and boils it down to the nitty gritty.

The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines

Tami Cowden, Caro LaFever, Sue Viders

A great take on archetypes, particularly paying attention to relationships between the archetypes and how they interact. A must-have.

GMC – Goal, Motivation & Conflict

Debra Dixon

Truly the fundamental building blocks of good fiction are in GMC. Any workshop you take will incorporate these elements in some form. Definitely worth every penny.

screenwriting damn good novel key

Foundations of Screenwriting

Syd Field

The art of storytelling, whether in novels or movies, shares key elements. Syd Field’s book defines principles of dramatic structure and makes them usable to ensure drama in the story.

How to Write a Damn Good Novel

James N. Frey

One of those books you just have to read. There’s real truth here, and practical advice on basic technicques and approaches for writing popular fiction.

The Key

James N. Frey

A great look at mythic structure (drawing from Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth), in Frey’s practical style.

art story techniques

The Art of Fiction

John Gardner

A classic with gems peppered all the way through it. Not just for young writers…for every writer!


Robert McKee

One of my all time favorites. His “Character is Story, Story is Character” quote is something I live and write by.

Techniques of the Selling Writer

Dwight Swain

A book that everyone should have in their library. Scene and sequel is only one concept that Swain masterfully instructs. A can’t-do-without book.


Between the Lines

Jessica Morrell

Probably more valuable for advanced writers seeking to refine their skills. A lot of good technique for taking writing to the next level.


Books for Writers’ Inspiration

discovering secret war

Discovering the Writer Within: 40 Days to More Imaginative Writing

Bruce Ballenger and Barry Lane

Some absolutely wonderful and inspiring exercises. Their ‘List of Five’ is a must have.

Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing

Stephen King

On Writing is good…this is better, though it’s hard to find. There are moments of genuis.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Steven Pressfield

Inspirational, and all about the fight to create. I love this one!

natural tremendous  

The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management

Hyrum W. Smith

A time management book everyone should read because it’s about so much more than managing time. It’s about setting priorities.

Life is Tremendous

Charlie “Tremendous” Jones

Short and sweet and oh-so-wondeful. A lot of real truths here. Including the one I live by – “To be enthusiastic, you have to act enthusiastic!” (My Dad introduced me to this one!)

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