Recommended Creative Writing Books

From inspiration to publication, these indispensable creative writing books and style guides are helpful additions to any writer's library.

52 Projects: Random Acts of Everyday Creativity

Author: Jeffrey Yamaguchi
Publisher: Perigee Trade
Upshot: Have in Your Library
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52 Projects serves as a reminder that a richer, more creative life is possible and provides the prompts and challenges to foster that life now. While 52 Projects doesn't specifically target creative writers, it actually might be more effective than books that specifically offer creative writing exercises.

The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

The Artist's Way
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Author: Julia Cameron
Publisher: Tarchere
Upshot: Have in Your Library
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Though the tone can be a bit New Agey, The Artist's Way is a practical, hands-on program that helps creative writers and artists unpack the reasons for their creative block and overcome them. Seven years ago, I followed Julia Cameron's program as a student. Returning to it now, I found that my impressions had not changed, and that the process still worked. More

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Author: Anne Lamott
Publisher: Knopf
Upshot: Have in Your Library
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Whether you're just starting out or have been writing for years, the funny, astute advice in this classic book on creative writing will help you find inspiration and motivation.

Chicago Manual of Style

Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Upshot: Have in Your Library
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The book no editor would be without. It lays down the law with regard to grammar and punctuation -- at least for the book publishing industry -- and spells out the basics in how a manuscript becomes a book.

A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations

A Manual for Writers
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Author: Kate Turabian
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
Upshot: Have in Your Library
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Every writer must have a style book on his or her bookshelf. Kate Turabian is tried and true, having helped generations of students and writers.

And for something you can access now, see the Short Story Editing Checklist.

Novel and Short Story Writer's Market

Publisher: Writer's Digest Books
Upshot: Have in Your Library
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A truly indispensable directory of journals and magazines for creative writers seeking to publish their work, with contact info, interviews, and articles.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

A Memoir of the Craft
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Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Scribner
Upshot: Have in Your Library
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Tricks of the trade from one of the most prolific contemporary writers -- with a refreshingly down-to-earth approach. More

What Now?

Author: Ann Patchett
Publisher: Harper
Upshot: Read in the Library
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What Now? is a revised version of a commencement address Ann Patchett delivered at her alma mater, Sarah Lawrence. In the book, she addresses her message to anyone facing a life change -- but because so much of her own life lessons are tied to her art, her insights are particularly relevant to writers.

Reading Like a Writer

Author: Francine Prose
Publisher: HarperCollins
Upshot: Have in Your Library
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Prose provides one of the most valuable things a writing teacher can offer: lessons in close reading, from a writer's perspective.

Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times

Editor: John Darnton
Publisher: Times Books
Upshot: Check Out from the Library
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This collection of essays by prominent writers such as Joyce Carol Oates, Barbara Kingsolver, and Rick Bass provides a variety of perspectives on the craft.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Author: Natalie Goldberg
Publisher: Shambhala
Upshot: Have in Your Library
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Along with Bird by Bird, Writing Down the Bones is a classic book on creative writing, but with Zen overtones.