Saturday, August 4, 2012

Vote for Your Favorite Writing Book

Dear readers and writers,

I've collected writing books for years.  Some have lived on my shelves for a while, then gone to the library for their book sale.  Others have been used over and over and as far as I know may stay with me forever.  I'm curious if you have the same favorites I do.

I wanted to run a poll but I've tried the Poll gadget on Blogger from three different web browsers and it won't work.  I get a message asking me to correct my nonexistent errors, or it won't save it after repeated tries.  So, I'll put my list at the bottom of this note.  Comment with your choice (blog is moderated to exclude Asian smut and drug offers, so it may take a few hours to appear).

If you have others to suggest, please put them in the comments.  I'll probably try them out and someday they may be on my top choices list, but meanwhile you'll share them with a lot of other writers here.  BTW, if you've rejected King's because you don't read horror, give it a try.  I was glad I had stopped avoiding it the minute I began to read.

If you have advice about the Poll function, I'd love to have that too!


Photo credit: Wikipedia, with thanks.

1. Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
2. Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write
3. Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
4. William Zinsser, On Writing Well
5.  Stephen King, On Writing
6. Barbara Abercrombie, Writing Out the Storm


rich luftig said...

I observed that there were no books on writing poetry. I'd over two: Ted Kooser's "The Poetry Home Repair Manual" and Drury's Creating Poetry.

Lorelei said...

Hi Rich,
Thanks! I love the title of Ted Kooser's!

Libby Grandy said...

It's hard to choose a favorite. (And I saw two I haven't read so thank you, Laura.) If I have to choose, I'll vote for King's. I remember being surprised at how good it was.

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,
It's Bird by Bird for me. Her first draft mantra is like mine. I have to get it down before the critique fairy raises her ugly head.

estate said...

Barbara Ueland was instrumental in my getting serious about writing. But Anne Lamott, too. The Stephen King's On Writing is fantastic.

I would also like to nominate
MFA in a Box, John Rember, 2010

It's a Why to write book.

Anonymous said...

How about Mary Oliver's poetry writing book? A Poetry Handbook, I think it's called. I pretty well wore mine out and recently bought another copy.
Therese Rosen

Anonymous said...

Brenda Ueland is amazing. That book will never go out of style. Strunk and White too, though.

Elena M

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,

Yes, of course Barbara Abercrombie. I might pick her new one, A Year of Writing Dangerously, over Writing Out the Storm.


Anonymous said...

Victoria Waddle can't get postings on her to work so she put hers on Facebook.

She says: Mine is not included on your list--the books by John Gardner--On Becoming a Novelist is my fav, but The Art of Fiction is very good.

Anonymous said...

I do like Bird by Bird.

You missed a couple of my favorites too, Laura. How about John Dufresne's The Lie that Tells the Truth? I also like Narrative Design: A Writer's Guide to Structure by Madison Smartt Bell. And one more: Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer. All read and reread and mucho inspiring to me as a writer.

John Person

Anonymous said...

OK, Natalie Goldberg! She has a lot more books, but the message is not so terribly different in them from the Writing Down the Bones one. That's my favorite and most useful.

I am not much of a fan of Gardner. He has the kind of patriarchal effect, pontification, struck me as a pompous ass although some of his advice did seem useful. I had that assigned in one of my UCLA writing classes but I got too upset reading him to find it a book I'd ever read again.

Changlot Enduril

Anonymous said...

Yes on Madison Smartt Bell! I had to read that in one of my classes and it was outstanding. I needed to think more about structures of narratives and that book really helped me get there.

Jason P

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,
Remember, we had John Dufresne in one of those online classes through UCLA? I didn't like the title but I did think some of his ways of thinking about writing were stimulating. So I'd vote for his book. I also like Bird by Bird, but is it really a writing book? It's a memoir, right?

Debra M

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura,

You used to use exercises from Andy Coutourier. Have you found him less useful over time? I found him enormously liberating and stimulating. I guess Goldberg is too and Lamott. Garner makes me go cross eyed. I guess he's too academic and intellectual for me or something. I'll order Abercrombie and give her a try.

Carole B