Books on Writing

Reading books on writing is an unfortunate hobby of mine. To read any old book or sit down and write something would be too direct a course of action. A true meta artist must, as you are now, read someone writing about reading books on writing.

Books on writing fill up four to five bookcases at your local Barnes & Noble, but the good ones, the ones everyone references, should scarcely fill your bedstand. These are:

You have read of on this list.

Not listed here, but important in its own way, is Ring Lardner’s send-down of the genre, which captures most of what you’ll learn from these books in 5 short pages. It is full of such advice as:

A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor.

— Ring Lardner, How to Write Short Stories (with samples)

If you’d like to go deeper, King’s On Writing is the bees-knees.