5 More Favorite Writing Craft Books – The Classics

Last post I featured 5 favorite writing craft books, some old and some quite new. Today I have a pile of classics. Once again, you can order from my Bookshop store through my affiliate link (I do benefit from orders through this link).

Here are five of the best:

  1. Story, by Robert McKee.

Why I love it: Comprehensive, often out-of-the-box, this book is probably on every writer’s bookshelf for the best of reasons. It contains so much information and analyzes so many aspects of storytelling that you could study it for a year.

Caveats: Story began life through the aspects of screenwriting, so sometimes McKee’s advice doesn’t seem quite pertinent to novelists. Nevertheless, highly recommended.

  1. The Writer’s Journey, by Christopher Vogler

Why I love it: If you’ve read Campbell’s classic The Hero’s Journey you already know the archetypes and mythic structures. But Vogler applies Campbell’s sometimes erudite musings to practical applications with great examples.

Caveats: Some authors get so caught up in the archetypes and mythos that they lose sight of their story. Apply this, but not too firmly.

  1. On Writing Well, by William Zinsser

Why I love it: This is an English teacher talking. Plus, my copy belonged to my mom before I inherited it, and her margin notes run through the book. That’s a classic, and nostalgic.

Caveats: Who doesn’t want to write well? Seriously, this book is for nonfiction writers, yet it contains such basic good writing principles that you should check it out.

cover of Stephen King book
  1. On Writing, by Stephen King

Why I love it: It’s Stephen King. He’s as wise about writing as he is about the creepier aspects of life.

Caveats: None.

  1. From Where You Dream, by Robert Olen Butler

Why I love it: Butler takes dreaming to another level, encouraging writers to tap the subconscious. That’s important.

Caveats: Not a lot of meaty advice, but just read King’s book for that.

Bonus Book: Save The Cat, by Blake Snyder. I’ve recently rediscovered this gem – yes, it’s written from a screenwriter’s perspective, but it’s so darn fun to read. And I love his follow-up and the templates he provides (as with Vogler, don’t get too carried away making your stories fit a model.)

There are tons of others out there, and I’ll cover them from time to time. I always like to hear your favs!!

2 Responses to “5 More Favorite Writing Craft Books – The Classics”

    • Janet

      Excellent choice!!! I love that book. I’ll add it to my Bookshop!

      And it’s so interesting that her book led you there – she turned my head upside down as a teacher. Gave me the idea for my critical thesis.