My 5 Favorite Writing Books

The market is flooded with books about writing - fiction writing, nonfiction writing, freelance writing children's book writing, romance writing, etc.  I could go on and on but I won't.

I've bought my share of these books, some more helpful than others. If I had to make a list of my favorites (and I do because that's what I've decided to blog about today) I'd rate these books as my top 5.

1. Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
I read this book for a college writing class many years ago (no I'm not going to say how many) and this is the book that really inspired me to write on a regular basis.  It's the perfect book for a beginning writer.  Goldberg's approach is more personal than academic, but tremendously helpful none the less.

2. Guide to Fiction Writing by Phyllis A. Whitney
Whitney is most well known for her juvenile books and her romantic suspense books.  But she was also a good writing teacher - to me at least.  Natalie Goldberg got me into the habit of writing.  Phyllis Whitney showed me how to take all those scribblings and make a story out of them.  This book was more about structure and organization than inspiration. Following Whitney's suggestions definitely put me another step closer to being ready for publication.

3.  Sally Stuart's Christian Writer's Market Guide
Actually Stuart's guide isn't the only one I use and I don't recommend that it should be the only guide any writer uses.  I think it's a good guide to start with because it contains lots of small markets that are open to working with beginners. It also has information on writing conferences and organizations.

Market guides are expensive and buying two or three every year is out of my budget.  I recommend buying your favorite market guide every year or two and then supplementing a library copy of another market guide when you need to check on a market not listed in that guide.  If your library doesn't have a copy, they can request it through interlibrary loan.

4.  Writing the Christian Romance by Gail Gaymer Martin
This is a solid basic guide for writers who are trying to break into the inspirational romance market, especially if you are aiming at category romance publishers like Steeple Hill or Heartsong Presents.  Martin has written extensively for both of these companies.

5.  From the Inside Out: Discover, Create and Publish the Novel in You by Susan May Warren
This is my latest discovery.  I enjoy Warren's books, so I looked her up on the internet.  It turns out that she and fellow author Rachel Hauck started a blog and then a Ning community called My Book Therapy.  Their Monday night chats are better than any class I've paid for.  I actually take notes!  The book was a recent purchase and I admit I haven't finished it yet, but I have no doubt that it belongs in this list.

There they are - my top five.  If you're a writer, please leave a comment and tell me what's on your list.


  1. I will add the book of writer's devotionals which I compiled. Some of the pieces contributed by well known and new writers are great when you need a quick shot of inspiration. "Words to Write By"--Treble Heart Books, 2008.

  2. Thanks Robin! I will look that up.

  3. Wait. Treble Heart is an epub, right? Are their books up on Amazon or do I need to go directly to their site?

  4. My favorite is "Write is a Verb" by Bill O'Hanlon.

  5. Treble Heart is actually a small press, they do short-run print orders. Have both trade paperback and e-books.

    I would offer to send you guys my copies but a local writer's group bought them all from me : )

    I do think it is also on Amazon.

  6. THanks Robin. I'm glad you were able to sell the books but thank you for thinking of us.

  7. First let me say i love this post...its one of the ones going on my favs list.

    One of the books on writing I swear by is Writing Romance by Vanessa Grant...any edition is great she's got about three versions out and each one is full of tidbits and tips that are vital to writing romance.

  8. First I'd have to say my big, fat Thesaurus. I love that book and it was a present from my dh when I first started writing. Also, Leigh Michaels (HQ author) book on writing romance. I took a class from her and she's super!

  9. Thanks for the suggestions! I love to discover new sources of instruction or inspiration.