How Do I Learn to Write?

Sentence-by-sentence writing improvement:

  • Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing, Claire Kehrwald Cook,Houghton Mifflin
  • A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, William Fowler, Oxford Univ. Press
  • The Careful Writer, Theodore M. Bernstein, Atheneum
  • The Practical Stylist, Sheridan Baker, Harper & Row
  • The Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed, Karen Elizabeth Gordon, Times Books (also The Well-Tempered Sentence by her)
  • The Elements of Style, Strunk & White

Writing better fiction:

  • Beginnings, Middles, and Ends, Nancy Kress, Writer’s Digest Books
  • Creating Short Fiction, Damon Knight, St. Martin’s
  • On Becoming a Novelist, John Gardner, Harper & Row
  • The Art of Creative Writing, Lajos Egri (may be OOP)
  • Techniques of the Selling Writer, Dwight V. Swain
  • Science Fiction Writers Workshop I: An Introduction to Fiction Mechanics, Barry B. Longyear
  • How to Write a Damn Good Novel II,James N. Frey. St. Martins 1994, ISBN 0-312-10478-2
  • Characters and Viewpoint, Orson Scott Card

Writing better speculative fiction:

  • The Craft of Science Fiction, Reginald Bretnor
  • Those Who Can, ed. Robin Scott Wilson (recently reprinted)
  • Paragons, ed. Robin Scott Wilson
  • How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, Orson Scott Card, Writer’s Digest Books
  • Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy, editors of Analog and Asimov’s
  • Aliens and Alien Societies, ed. Ben Bova, Writer’s Digest Books
  • Creating the Heavens, Melissa Scott, Heinemann

Style manuals (cover grammar, punctuation, usage, treatment of names and terms, editing stages, book production):

  • The Chicago Manual of Style, University of Chicago
  • Words into Type, Prentice Hall
  • A Manual of Style (U.S. Govt Printing Office), Gramercy
  • The New York Times Manual of Style and Usage

This page was last modified on Tuesday January 04 2005.