Great books about writing

Writing guides and self-editing

These are the books I keep within easy reach. Some are great just to flick through. Others can be read cover to cover.

On Writing, by Stephen King

Part memoir, part writing advice, On Writing is a fantastic read. If you’re a scaredy-cat like me and don’t like horror, don’t worry, there’s nothing scary here, just great advice. You’re sure to pick up tips that will help your own writing.

Point of View, by Sandra Gerth

The full title tells you all you need to know about this book: Point of View: How to use the different POV types, avoid head-hopping, and choose the best point of view for your book. This short guide is the best I’ve seen on the often tricky topic of point of view. Sandra breaks down the different types of point of view that writers can use, and explains the advantages and disadvantages of each one. She gives lots of examples so you can clearly see the differences. And she gives excellent advice on how to avoid head-hopping.

The Magic of Fiction, by Beth Hill

The Magic of Fiction condenses Beth’s gold mine of writing and editing advice into one insightful, easy to read book. It’s full of fantastic advice for improving your novel. Beth tackles the macro and the micro. She shows you how to look at your book as a whole, and how to work out what’s working and what’s not. And she shows you how to examine the details like punctuating dialogue, writing descriptions that jump off the page, and choosing strong words that bring scenes to life.


Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips, by Mignon Fogarty

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips is full of simple, easy to follow grammar and usage advice. She avoids complicated grammatical terminology and instead uses clear, familiar language to explain how to use English effectively. 

This is a great reference book for all writers, from academic, fiction, non-fiction, and business.

You can check out her website, too.


How to Work with an Editor: A Guide for (Nervous) Authors, by Mark Dawson

If you’ve never worked with an editor, then this short read will give you a great idea of what to expect. Mark emphasises the collaborative relationship that editors strive for. We’re here to help you tell your story and bring it to life!