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Top 10 Books Every Writer Should Read

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by Mihaela Schwartz (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and an avid traveler.
Published November 11th 2015
How to Hone Your Writing Skills
For a writer, reading is a basic need, just like breathing, drinking and eating. A writer cannot keep on writing without taking a reading break. In fact, many of them started to dream of becoming a writer only because of their love for the printed words.
If you are interested in further honing your skills, here are some great books on writing that will help you find the inspiration you need when dealing with the famous 'writer's block', or fix any grammar flukes you might have.

books for writers
Books for writers - Shutterstock/Ollyy

1. Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life by Barnaby Conrad, Monte Schulz, editors

A light approach to the rather serious life of a writer, 'Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life' is a compilation of comic strips with corresponding essays, showing how the comic strip applies to the life of a writer. This book takes a humorous approach to writing, while being very insightful at the same time.

2. Creating Unforgettable Characters by Linda Segers

Aimed at fiction writers, Seger's book shares some tips and tricks on how memorable characters are made. On top of your mind, you can already think of some of the most memorable fictional characters in history, and you definitely wonder how some of them seem to be transcendental. In this book, you'll learn how you can write your own memorable heroes.

3. The 38 Most Common Writing Mistakes by Jack M. Bickham

People seem to have one mind when it comes to committing writing mistakes, some of them being repeated over and over again by many writers. In this book, Bickham discusses 38 of these mistakes and offers a solution of how to avoid and eventually fix them. It definitely won't be easy to solve everything in one go, but this book at least provides you with a good starting point.

4. What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers by Anne Bernays

Writer's block is a huge issue many writers face on a regular basis. In 'What If?', Bernays presents a set of writing exercises that will hone the creative mind and help you develop your writing skills. It doesn't have to be consumed in one sitting, but can to be used each time you reach a writing slump.

5. Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

Deemed to be too simplistic by some scholars, 'Elements of Style' continues to trample detractors decades after its first publication. It offers some of the best writing advice the world has seen. Though it focuses more on non-fiction writing, even creative writers can find something useful in it. 'Elements of Style' highly suggests a minimalist form of writing, something many extravagant writers need to consider.

6. The Believer Book of Writers Talking to Writers by Vendela Vida

Some writers sit down to talk about the one thing they have in common: writing. This book contains conversations between Vendela Vida and Jennifer Egan, and Tayari Jones and Chris Abani, to name a few. A compilation of writers talking about writing, published for the consumption of writers, it's something that looks at writing and a writer's life in a different light.

7. The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier: How to Solve the Mysteries of Weak Writing by Bonnie Trenga

Everyone has been a victim of weak writing, but that's no excuse in staying such a victim for too long. In Trenga's 'The Curious Case of the Misplace Modifier', writing mistakes are tackled one by one, delivered with some solutions on how you can avoid and improve. It's not just about misplaced modifiers, just in case you're curious…

8. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

A writer spends a lot of time crying over writing frustration, but Anne Lamott definitely knows how to make light of writing crises. 'Bird by Bird' offers one of the most entertaining and enlightening read on the writing life. From little roadblocks to major headaches caused by writing deadlines, Lamott takes the readers on a step-by-step process and survival guide.

9. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Stephen King may not have won a Pulitzer for his novels, but there's no denying that the man has some wild imagination. He also happens to know how to use his imagination to bring nightmares to people of all ages. In his memoirs, he talks about his early life and what lead him to be a writer. He also dishes a tip or two (or tons of it) on what can make you a better writer.

10. Writers on Writing by The New York Times

A compilation of essays published by The New York Times and edited by John Darton, this book is what every writer in a slump has to read. From essays by some of the greatest writers of this generation, 'Writers on Writing' exposes a world where best-selling authors lament over their own writing. Caliber writers such as Kurt Vonnegut and Elie Weasel share some insights about frustration and the depressing sensation one can experience.
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