Get Smart: 8 Essential Writing Guides

Money is short, time precious. You like to write and want to get better, but how? Reach for the bookshelf and lead your own course!

There's no shortage of how-to-write guides. To help navigate the plethora, I've culled a list of suggestions that combine my own favorites with those of respected writing colleagues — novelists, essayists, poets, and more. With detailed instructions and concrete examples, the following books serve as valuable guides to improve your writing.

Story Engineering
by Larry Brooks
see also


MFA in a Box: A Why to Write Book
by John Rember


Naked, Drunk, and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay
by Adair Lara


In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poet's Portable Workshop
by Steve Kowit


The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets
by Ted Kooser


Tangible tools are important, but be sure to also ponder and reflect:

The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing
by Richard Hugo


Every Writer Has a Thousand Faces
by David Biespel


The Writing Life
by Annie Dillard


Have I included your favorites? What have I missed?