Books on Writing

I have a few favorite books on writing which I’d like to share. Links are to

This is my favorite, which I enjoy reading for itself as well as for what it teaches me: Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew by Ursula K. LeGuin.

This one is best read slowly and digested slowly: About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, & Five Interviews by Samuel R. Delany.

This one is good when your enthusiasm for writing is low; I think it’s also really good for writers who haven’t been writing for a long time: Take Joy: A Writer’s Guide to Loving the Craft by Jane Yolen.

This one is slightly unusual because it combines a history of a writing workshop with more practical discussion of writing: Storyteller: Writing Lessons and More from 27 Years of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop by Kate Wilhelm.

Related posts:
How To Learn To Write.

Pithy Writing Advice.

About Victoria Janssen

Victoria Janssen [she, her] currently writes cozy space opera for Kalikoi. The novella series A Place of Refuge begins with Finding Refuge: Telepathic warrior Talia Avi, genius engineer Miki Boudreaux, and augmented soldier Faigin Balfour fought the fascist Federated Colonies for ten years, following the charismatic dissenter Jon Churchill. Then Jon disappeared, Talia was thought dead, and Miki and Faigin struggled to take Jon’s place and stay alive. When the FC is unexpectedly upended, Talia is reunited with her friends and they are given sanctuary on the enigmatic planet Refuge. The trio of former guerillas strive to recover from lifetimes of trauma, build new lives on a planet with endless horizons, and forge tender new connections with each other.
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7 Responses to Books on Writing

  1. julieandrews says:

    Still working on reading some of those. I didn’t know about the Jane Yolen. I’ll have to look that up.

    Storyteller’s for sale at Small Beer Press’s site for 8$. I highly recommend it.

  2. Victoria Janssen says:

    I lent the Yolen to a friend who was trying to regain her enthusiasm and she said it helped a lot. I put a few bits from it in my blog a while back–they’re tagged under “quotes,” though mixed among other authors.

  3. Sonja says:

    These are all new-to-me reads. I’ll have to check them out! Thanks for the list.

  4. Louisa Edwards says:

    Oooh, I love Ursula LeGuin! Have to check that one out. I sincerely enjoyed Stephen King’s On Writing, if you’re looking for more.

  5. Victoria Janssen says:

    I did read ON WRITING at one point–I remember enjoying the parts where he talked about his process. Even though I’ve never read any of King’s fiction!

    The LeGuin is lovely just to read, even if you don’t do any of the exercises.

  6. Heather says:

    I have not read any of these, though I think the Yolen is in my TBR pile. The most recent writing book I read is WRITING DOWN THE BONES by Natalie Goldberg. LOVED it! The chapters are short enough that you can fit one or five in whenever you have a few minutes, and it can be read in order, or randomly opened to any chapter.

  7. Victoria Janssen says:

    I keep getting recs for the Goldberg–I should get that one next.

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