11 Best Books for Aspiring Writers and Authors

So you want to write a novel. There’s a book (or ten thousand) for that. Some are bland, dull and formulaic. The people on this list are not those. Most are memoir and essay collections sneaking in craft advice through the back door: there’s literary criticism and personal narratives and careful reading, and along the way that theories of tone and wall the art of sinking in as if by osmosis. But even the theoretically simple craft books here do more than serve up packed plot structures; they are fun to learn because they are useful. They use published work as an example — Russian classics, contemporary poetry, gripping crime thrillers — to motivate a better reader. and write. (I have yet to find anything more consistently inspiring than reading books that are so good they make me envious.) Most of them are books that I have referred to during my long solo writing. My own debut novel, or the ones I wish I had. There’s also something about the creative arts of non-fiction and something about dealing with anything that happens after actual manuscript writing. As one might say but should never write: variety is the spice of life.

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