Best Writing Books
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It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences
“Great writing isn’t born, it’s built—sentence by sentence. But too many writers—and writing guides—overlook this most important unit. The result? Manuscripts that will never be published and writing careers that will never begin.”
Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read
“Great writing begins with the sentence. Whether it’s two words (“Jesus wept.”) or William Faulkner’s 1,287-word sentence in Absalom! Absalom!, sentences have the power to captivate, entertain, motivate, educate, and, most importantly, delight. Yet, the sentence-oriented approach to writing is too often overlooked in favor of bland economy. Building Great Sentences teaches you to write better sentences by luxuriating in the pleasures of language.”
The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed
“Playful and practical, this is the style book you can't wait to use, a guide that addresses classic questions of English usage with wit and the blackest of humor. Black-and-white illustrations throughout.”
Self-editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print
“Hundreds of books have been written on the art of writing. Here at last is a book by two professional editors to teach writers the techniques of the editing trade that turn promising manuscripts into published novels and short stories.
Renni Browne and Dave King teach you, the writer, how to apply the editing techniques they have developed to your own work. Chapters on dialogue, exposition, point of view, interior monologue, and other techniques take you through the same processes an expert editor would go through to perfect your manuscript. Each point is illustrated with examples, many drawn from the hundreds of books Browne and King have edited.”
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression
One of the biggest struggles for writers is how to convey emotion to readers in a unique and compelling way. When showing our characters’ feelings, we often use the first idea that comes to mind, and they end up smiling, nodding, and frowning too much.
If you need inspiration for creating characters’ emotional responses that are personalized and evocative, this ultimate show-don’t-tell guide for emotion can help.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
“Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.”
The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation
“Garner explains the vagaries of English with absolute precision and utmost clarity. With The Chicago Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Punctuation, he has written the definitive guide for writers who want their prose to be both memorable and correct.
Throughout the book Garner describes standard literary English—the forms that mark writers and speakers as educated users of the language. He also offers historical context for understanding the development of these forms. The section on grammar explains how the canonical parts of speech came to be identified, while the section on syntax covers the nuances of sentence patterns as well as both traditional sentence diagramming and transformational grammar. The usage section provides an unprecedented trove of empirical evidence in the form of Google Ngrams, diagrams that illustrate the changing prevalence of specific terms over decades and even centuries of English literature.”
The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed
“The basic rules governing the use of periods, semicolons, hyphens, commas, and other punctuation marks are illustrated by humorous sentences.”
Sleeping Dogs Don’t Lay: Practical Advice for the Grammatically Challenged
“How many times have we all heard the word viable used in company meetings? Lederer and Dowis show us how "viable," somewhere along the line, was extracted from medical books, where it literally means "capable of living," and placed into the business lexicon, where it means ... well, who knows?
The authors clear up once and for all the confusion between lay and lie and put to rest some common myths about language. The book's finale is a ten-minute writing lesson from which everyone, from rank amateur to seasoned pro, can benefit.”
The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition
“Technologies may change, but the need for clear and accurate communication never goes out of style. That is why for more than one hundred years The Chicago Manual of Style has remained the definitive guide for anyone who works with words.”
The Best Punctuation Book, Period: A comprehensive Guide for Every Writer, Editor, Student, and Businessperson
“This all-in-one reference is a quick and easy way for book, magazine, online, academic, and business writers to look up sticky punctuation questions for all styles including AP (Associated Press), MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and Chicago Manual of Style.”
Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wicked Good Prose
“Today’s writers need more spunk than Strunk: whether it's the Great American e-mail, Madison Avenue advertising, or Grammy Award-winning rap lyrics, memorable writing must jump off the page. Copy veteran Constance Hale is on a mission to make creative communication, both the lyrical and the unlawful, an option for everyone.
With its crisp, witty tone, Sin and Syntax covers grammar’s ground rules while revealing countless unconventional syntax secrets (such as how to use—Gasp!—interjections or when to pepper your prose with slang) that make for sinfully good writing.”
Stein on Writing
“Stein on Writing provides immediately useful advice for all writers of fiction and nonfiction, whether they are newcomers or old hands, students or instructors, amateurs or professionals. As the always clear and direct Stein explains here, "This is not a book of theory. It is a book of usable solutions--how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place." With examples from bestsellers as well as from students' drafts, Stein offers detailed sections on characterization, dialogue, pacing, flashbacks, trimming away flabby wording, the so-called "triage" method of revision, using the techniques of fiction to enliven nonfiction, and more.”