Best books on creative writing

We spent several hours researching the topic of creative writing. Going through the best resources we could find on the topic “best books on creative writing”. Aggregating in total almost 300 books that were mentioned as “the best book for creative writing” – from the top sources in writing. To help you get a sense of all this information we have developed a comprehensive list that describes what books are frequently mentioned. We believe it is a good indicator to find the best book on creative writing.

#1 On Writing

  recommended by 42%

One of time magazine’s top 100 non fiction books of all time. 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.

Reasons to read the book

This is the book to learn the reason Mr. King writes daily, and what tips he gives to those who want “to write the next great novel” so that they, too, can be successful. It was hard to put down. As always, his writing style is addictive and makes you want to keep reading.

Reasons not to read the book

This books isn’t really a guide on writing. It’s a rambling autobiography with some small chapters about writing. Most of this book is just a memoir loaded with run on sentences and blue collar slang.

#2 Zen in the Art of Writing

  recommended by 29%

Bradbury, all charged up, drunk on life, joyous with writing, puts together nine past essays on writing and creativity and discharges every ounce of zest and gusto in him.

Reasons to read the book

Bradbury has always been a mystery to me–his ability to write so well so fast while entertaining and making us think–and I’ve wanted to know more about his approach to writing. He is a true American treasure that not enough people know about. His love and enthusiasm for his craft, as expressed in this book, is palpable. 

Reasons not to read the book

The essays are for the most part autobiographical and tend to be repetitive, with several of the anecdotes repeated several times. Even the prose at times becomes a little unintelligible. Looks like someone slapped these essays together to make an easy buck.

#3 Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life 1st Edition

  recommended by 29%

An essential volume for generations of writers young and old, Bird by Bird is a modern classic. This twenty-fifth anniversary edition will continue to spark creative minds for years to come.

Reasons to read the book

Anne Lamott has a passion for writing, for family and for loving her fellow human beings. Despite her own difficulties in life she shares without holding back and this book is a joy to read.

Reasons not to read the book

I didn’t enjoy this book – it does give some good tips on writing but I found the padding around the tips to be tedious. The one big put off though is the overuse of her belief in god which just didn’t sit well with me.

#4 On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

  recommended by 29%

On Writing Well has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in the age of e-mail and the Internet.

Reasons to read the book

This book is one of the finest books ever written on the subject of nonfiction writing. This book is by far the most practical, easy to understand and surprisingly entertaining to read. Reading this book was a journey — it started out great, then dragged on and became unbearable, and then ended on a high note with the most useful information.

Reasons not to read the book

This book fails to adhere to any of its recommendations. This book is absolutely useless. The “advice” contradicts itself on multiple occasions. Had to force myself to finish it! Parts one and two were excellent, but the rest of the book just drones on.

#5 The Elements Of Style

  recommended by 29%

The Elements of Style’ (1918), by William Strunk, Jr., is an American English writing style guide. It is the best-known, most influential prescriptive treatment of English grammar and usage, and often is required reading and usage in U.S. high school and university composition classes. This edition of ‘The Elements of Style’ details eight elementary rules of usage, ten elementary principles of composition, “a few matters of form”, and a list of commonly misused words and expressions.

Reasons to read the book

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition, is the absolute must-have book for anyone aspiring to write any sort of content. I’ve loved this book since I first ran across it more than 30 years ago. Simple, straight to the point, and easy to understand.

Reasons not to read the book

This was a book written in the 1900’s. Instead of defining major definitions and concepts, it just lists a lot of rules. So, it is very hard to learn from. I purchased the ebook The Elements of Style . It has the fourth edition cover, but it’s actually the free Project Gutenberg 1st edition, written solely by William Strunk Jr in 1918.

#6 The Writing Life

  recommended by 25%

In this collection of short essays, Annie Dillard—the author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and An American Childhood—illuminates the dedication, absurdity, and daring that characterize the existence of a writer. A moving account of Dillard’s own experience, The Writing Life offers deep insight into one of the most mysterious professions.

Reasons to read the book

The Writing Life tells you what to expect if you’re going to write books. It teaches you how to see stories with your eyes so that you can transfer them to your medium: the printed page. I’d recommend The Writing Life if you are looking at being a writer, are a writer, may someday be a writer, are married to a writer if you’re at all connected to writing, you’ll enjoy the stories and message of this book.

Reasons not to read the book

This one was insufferable. It’s one metaphor for writing after another. I am a fan of Annie Dillard, but not of this book. A stream of rambling nonsense that has nothing to teach about writing or anything else.

#7 The Forest For The Trees

  recommended by 17%

Quickly established as an essential and enduring companion for aspiring writers when it was first published, Betsy Lerner’s sharp, funny, and insightful guide has been meticulously updated and revised to address the dramatic changes that have reshaped the publishing industry in the decade since.

Reasons to read the book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. What I love about this book is the way Betsy gets right to the heart of all those doubts and fears you have about your writing. Every question answered in such detail and with such care.

Reasons not to read the book

This rather tedious book is long on (the author’s) vanity and short on new or helpful advice. If you are looking for inspiration and advice on writing well this is not the book for you. If you are looking for inspiration and advice on writing well this is not the book for you. 

#8 Plot & Structure

  recommended by 17%

With Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure, you’ll discover the answers to these questions and more. Award-winning author James Scott Bell offers clear, concise information that will help you create a believable and memorable plot, including: Techniques for crafting strong beginnings, middles, and ends, Easy-to-understand plotting diagrams and charts, Brainstorming techniques for original plot ideas, Thought-provoking exercises at the end of each chapter, Story structure models and methods for all genres, Tips and tools for correcting common plot problems.

Reasons to read the book

This is a well-organized, easy-to-read guide to techniques used to develop plots and sound story structure. It provides clear, straight-forward tools and tips, addressing many aspects of the writing process you won’t find in many of them. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the study of plots and storytelling.

Reasons not to read the book

This book contains a lot of the same material from another of his books (“Elements of Fiction Writing – Conflict and Suspense”). Read his other book instead of wasting money on this one, as the other one explains the key components in a more in-depth and cohesive way, and you will learn how to plot and structure a story all the same (or better).

#9 Writing Down The Bones

  recommended by 17%

For more than twenty years Natalie Goldberg has been challenging and cheering on writers with her books and workshops. In her groundbreaking first book, she brings together Zen meditation and writing in a new way. Writing practice, as she calls it, is no different from other forms of Zen practice—”it is backed by two thousand years of studying the mind.” This edition includes a new preface and an interview with the author.

Reasons to read the book

It was interesting to read a book which looks into the motivation for writing rather than the actual mechanics. This is a book you can read and re-read and then dip into. Beautifully written and very helpful. This books makes sense. Natalie is plain speaking and is every writers cheerleader.

Reasons not to read the book

I find it a little irritating that Natalie, like a few other authors who write books on how to improve your writing, taint the book with their personal, religious beliefs like she does in this book. I should have read all the reviews. This book does not teach you how to write. It only talks about the author’s experiences.

#10 The War Of Art

  recommended by 17%

Since 2002, The War of Art has inspired people around the world to defeat “Resistance”; to recognize and knock down dream-blocking barriers and to silence the naysayers within us.Resistance kicks everyone’s butt, and the desire to defeat it is equally as universal. The War of Art identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success. Though it was written for writers, it has been embraced by business entrepreneurs, actors, dancers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, military service members and thousands of others around the world.

Reasons to read the book

This is an absolutely amazing book on self-discipline and creativity. This will book show and define the #1 thing that’s stopping you from bringing out your creative potential. It’s called Resistance and how it behaves and how it beats you.

Reasons not to read the book

This the first time in awhile I couldn’t finish a book. What an awful book. If you happen to have add or adhd, or an anxiety disorder–and if you’re a writer looking for ways to be more productive, you just might–pass this one up. I found the author contradictory in many cases. Also, the format is terribly annoying.

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