Is There a “Best” Book on Writing?
Note: This episode was only released, in video format, on YouTube. There is not currently an audio-only version.
A large number of writers—both professional and aspiring—swear by Stephen King’s memoir ON WRITING as their “writing bible”. In a marketplace increasingly crowded with books on writing advice and story craft, this one gets referenced a LOT. And for good reason (both its content, and sheer ubiquity of availability).
But is it the “best”? I don’t think there’s any such thing. What matters is finding frameworks, advice, and guides that click with your own way of thinking and writing style.
In this video, I explain why I think you should be collecting writing advice, tools, and philosophies from multiple sources. I talk about why you don’t need to find a single perfect guide or guru.
Three Useful Takeaways = One Great Writing Book
Instead, you’ll be looking for three—just three—highly useful and memorable takeaways from each writing manual. Skills and frameworks that work for your mind—whether you’re an obsessive outliner, a seat-of-the pants discovery writer, or somewhere in between.
I also talk about some of the writing books that have been most useful to me. And, a bunch of authors who have appeared on Fictitious weigh in with their favorite guides and manuals, including: Richard Kadrey, Menna Van Praag, Ryan Van Loan, Andrea Stewart, Alina Boyden, Peng Shepherd, Emily B. Martin, and Martha Wells.
Inspired by the Writing Community
This video was inspired by a tweet from writer L.A. Cunningham and the extensive author discussion it generated. View it, and the resulting author conversation, here.
Resources Mentioned in this Video
Below is a list of the books and authors mention in the video, with links to purchase.
- “ON WRITING” by Stephen King: https://amzn.to/37tLhYA
- “2,000 TO 10,000” (2K to 10K) by Rachel Aaron: https://amzn.to/2FQ5TPg
- “5,000 WORDS PER HOUR” by Chris Fox: https://amzn.to/34ikHQe
- “PLOT GARDENING” by Chris Fox: https://amzn.to/3oesdU5
- “WRITING TO SELL” by Scott Meredith: https://amzn.to/34lcjzh
- “SAVE THE CAT WRITES A NOVEL” by Jessica Brody: https://amzn.to/35lgBpS
- “SAVE THE CAT” (original version) by Blake Snyder: https://amzn.to/35lgCtW
- “TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS” by Libbie Hawker: https://amzn.to/37vtobL
- “OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL” by K.M. Weiland: https://amzn.to/2Hgowgc
- “THE KICK-ASS WRITER” by Chuck Wendig: https://amzn.to/3oboLK1
- “STORY” by Robert McKee: https://amzn.to/2TiQERW
Authors Featured in this Video
» Some of these are affiliate links. Using them supports the channel, at no additional cost to you! Whenever possible, though, I encourage you to purchase from your local bookstores.