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The Best Books on Writing to Improve Your Craft

I’ve got something special today, friends. I’ve been bad at blogging lately and I feel bad, so, to make it up to you, you get a collection of my favourite books on writing today!

If you were looking for a book on the craft or just love reading about it, this post is for you.

Some people don’t like sitting down with a theory book–or worse, think they have nothing new to learn–but I love a good book on writing. A book that makes me want to write has done its job!

However, there are so many books on writing it can be hard to choose. That’s why this post is here!

Below are my favourite books on writing. For me to recommend a theory book, it needs to be educational, conversational, and/or funny, preferably all three. I promise you that every book below is at least two out of those three, but most tick every box!

Fair warning: some of these reviews date back awhile. I tell you why you want these books right here in this post, but if you want more details, well… Links to my original reviews are there. Some of them are old. Still completely relevant, but old. You’ve been warned.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of the links in this post, I may earn a small commission. I only recommend products and books I love.

The Best Books on Writing to Improve Your Craft

Save the Cat

The Best Books on Writing to Improve Your Craft | Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder was one of the first books on writing I ever read. I borrowed it from my library, but it was so good I bought it. That was years ago when I plotted my first book, but I still use a modified version of Snyder’s approach today.

It’s a book about screenwriting, but don’t let that put you off. You can easily apply his methods to novels. If you’re a plotter like me, you’ll love this!

Read my review | Buy Save the Cat

The First Five Pages

The Best Books on Writing to Improve Your Craft | The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman

Like Save the Cat, I first borrowed The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman from my library and ended up buying it. It made me want to write and improve. It reignited my excitement when I first came back to Rise of the Sparrows. What more can you ask?

It’s one of those books that has taught me the most about writing and it’s still one of my favourites now.

Read my review | Buy The First Five Pages

On Writing

The Best Books on Writing to Improve Your Craft | On Writing by Stephen King

You might have heard that being a writer is a lonely thing. At times, you’ll feel so inadequate that choosing another profession seems like the best choice for everyone.

But you know what’ll motivate you to get back in that chair? Reading that a legend struggles with the same insecurities from time to time.

King’s book On Writing is uplifting. It’s inspiring. It’ll shove you back into your seat and make you want to write.

And if that’s not enough, King’s got some advice on how to write well too. It’s something you’ll want to reread every once in a while, I guarantee it.

Read my review | Buy On Writing

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

The Best Books on Writing to Improve Your Craft | Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

This is more about editing, perhaps, than about writing, but hear me out. There’s only one thing that can turn a shit first draft into an okay-ish one, and that’s experience.

Experience comes from doing, true, but most of that experience is related to editing. I’ve learned a huge amount from my editor’s notes, and this book gives you that knowledge before your first edit.

It’s no substitute for an editor, but it will help you write tighter first drafts. It will help you through your edits too. A book that helps with both sides of the process is a winner!

Read my review | Buy Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

The Plot Thickens

The Best Books on Writing to Improve Your Craft | The Plot Thickens by Noah Lukeman

At first glance, The Plot Thickens is more about your characters. You know why? Because your characters drive your plot–without them, you’ve got nothing.

If you want to write a strong plot, you need strong characters, and The Plot Thickens teaches you how to harmonise the two.

Also, it’s another book by Noah Lukeman so you know it’s good!

Read my review | Buy The Plot Thickens


The Best Books on Writing to Improve Your Craft | Self-Printed by Catherine Ryan Howard

Sooner or later, you’ll want to publish your book. If you’ve chosen the indie route, it’s a daunting undertaking. Self-Printed by Catherine Ryan Howard is the only reason I wasn’t completely lost when I published my first book.

What I love the most about it is that it’s brutally honest. If you think this will be easy or that your book is God’s gift to the world, she will crush your delusions, and rightfully so.

You need a thick skin in this business, and I love love LOVE how honest she is.

If you want a bible book that teaches you how to self-publish, look no further and you’re welcome.

Read my review | Buy Self-Printed

The Writer’s Guide to Psychology

The Best Books on Writing to Improve Your Craft | The Writer's Guide to Psychology by Carolyn Kaufman

Every writer deals with psychology to some extent, and we owe it to our readers to do our research properly. Mental health issues are so often misrepresented it’s depressing. The least we can do is know what we’re writing about!

This book clears up misconceptions, explains what various mental illnesses are really about, and is a joy to read. There’s even a quiz!

My review is coming. I’ll update this post as soon as I’ve got it πŸ™‚ Until then, know that this should be on every writer’s shelf!

Buy The Writer’s Guide to Psychology

What are your favourite books on writing? Make a tea, get a cookie, and talk to me about books!

You might also like:

The Best Books on Writing to Improve Your Craft | Further Reading: How to Edit Your Book in 8 Steps

The Best Books on Writing to Improve Your Craft | Further Reading: Why I Write my Books in Scrivener

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  1. Thank you for the great resources! I already bought and started reading Self-Editing for Fiction Writers and am loving it. I can’t wait to check out these other books!

    • sarinalangerwriter sarinalangerwriter

      Let me know if you want a personal recommendation! All of the above are brilliant, but if you want to narrow it down to one or two let me know πŸ™‚

    • sarinalangerwriter sarinalangerwriter

      They are, I loved all of them. Let me know if you’d like me to recommend just one or two to narrow it down for you! πŸ™‚

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