Recommended Books For Writers On Writing

There are billions* of lists on the web that list the books that every writer should read.
In an attempt to help me decide which books to buy, here is a pseudo-scientific method.
If a book appears on a list, it gets a point. If it accumulates three (roughly 10%) or more points, it gets on this list.
The book with the most points is the one I’ll buy.

If your favourite book doesn’t appear on this list, don’t blame me, blame the authors of the lists.

* I might have exaggerated.

Title Author Points % Lists
On Writing Stephen King 23 82 Buy on Amazon
Bird by Bird Anne Lamott 17 60 Buy on Amazon
On Writing Well William Zinsser 11 39 Buy on Amazon
Writing Down the Bones Natalie Goldberg 11 39 Buy on Amazon
The Elements of Style William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White 10 35 Buy on Amazon
The War of Art Steven Pressfield 10 35 Buy on Amazon
Plot & Structure James Scott Bell 7 25 Buy on Amazon
The Artist’s Way Julia Cameron 7 25 Buy on Amazon
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers Renni Browne and Dave King 6 21 Buy on Amazon
Story Robert McKee 6 21 Buy on Amazon
The Writing Life Annie Dillard 6 21 Buy on Amazon
Writing the Breakout Novel Donald Maass 6 21 Buy on Amazon
Eats, Shoots & Leaves Lynne Truss 5 17 Buy on Amazon
The Writer’s Journey Christopher Vogler 5 17 Buy on Amazon
Zen in the Art of Writing Ray Bradbury 5 17 Buy on Amazon
How to Write a Damn Good Novel James N. Frey 4 14 Buy on Amazon
Save the Cat! Blake Snyder 4 14 Buy on Amazon
Story Engineering Larry Brooks 4 14 Buy on Amazon
Writing Tools Roy Peter Clark 4 14 Buy on Amazon
On Moral Fiction John Gardner 3 10 Buy on Amazon
Reading Like a Writer Francine Prose 3 10 Buy on Amazon
Story Genius Lisa Cron 3 10 Buy on Amazon
Telling Lies for Fun & Profit Lawrence Block 3 10 Buy on Amazon
The Forest for the Trees Betsy Lerner 3 10 Buy on Amazon
The Situation and the Story Vivian Gornick 3 10 Buy on Amazon

So there we have it. By a long way, Stephen King’s On Writing is the book to have.

References

Here’s a list of 28 sites that list 196 distinct books on writing.
Found by searching for “recommended books writing” and “books for writers” on startpage, duckduckgo, google and bing.
https://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/articles/books-on-writing/
http://www.blurb.com/blog/top-5-books-on-writing/
http://www.flashlightworthybooks.com/10-Great-Books-on-Writing/382
http://www.flashlightworthybooks.com/33-of-the-Best-Books-about-Writing-Fiction/336
https://goinswriter.com/best-writing-books/
https://www.goodreads.com/genres/writing
http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/books-on-writing.html
https://www.janefriedman.com/best-books-on-writing/
https://www.jerryjenkins.com/best-books-on-writing/
http://www.magnoliamedianetwork.com/5-must-read-books-for-writers/
medium.com/startup-grind/10-books-that-will-make-you-a-better-writer-and-why-86d2fa665df0
http://www.onlineuniversities.com/blog/2010/01/75-books-every-writer-should-read/
https://www.pastemagazine.com/blogs/lists/2010/07/the-10-best-books-about-writing.html
http://www.publishingtalk.eu/books-for-writers/10-essential-books-writers/
http://www.signature-reads.com/2017/10/the-27-best-books-on-writing/
https://smartblogger.com/essential-writing-books/
http://www.spacejock.com.au/OtherBooks.html
https://www.standoutbooks.com/top-ten-books-on-writing/
http://storylineblog.com/2010/03/24/the-best-books-on-writing/
https://www.thebalance.com/books-for-beginning-writers-1277286
https://www.thebalance.com/recommended-creative-writing-books-1277277
https://www.thecreativepenn.com/books-for-writers/
https://thewritelife.com/9-of-the-best-books-on-writing/
https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/5-recommended-books-writers/
http://writershelpingwriters.net/recommended-writing-books/
https://writetodone.com/books-for-writers/
https://www.writing.ie/resources/recommended-books-on-writing/
https://www.writingroutines.com/best-books-writing-process/

Good Reads also has lots of user generated lists, but I didn’t include any
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/44184.Best_Books_on_Writing_Fiction
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1714.Best_Books_on_Writing
https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/creative-writing
https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/writers-reference

Free Stuff
http://www.rachelsimon.com/wgcontents.php
https://www.jerryjenkins.com/how-to-write-a-book/

Unused in ranking table – not in useful format e.g. ranked
https://www.pw.org/best-books-for-writers

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