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SALT LAKE CITY — If you or someone you know has words flowing in their veins, this is a must-have book list. Each book offers wisdom, insight and inspiration from some of the greatest writers of all time. Read them, highlight them, dog-ear them, and then go forth and write.
1. “Zen in the Art of Writing” by Ray Bradbury
In this incredibly inspirational book on creativity, Ray Bradbury writes, “Passion often saves the day.” This is the foundation of his wealth of advice. A great choice for writers feeling discouraged, frustrated or uninspired.
2. “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King
From one of the best-selling authors of all time, this book is part-memoir, part-instruction on the craft of writing. King’s practical approach opens a world of advice to writers at any level.
3. “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
The most practical reference book a writer needs in his writing library. “The Elements of Style” is all about improving writing at the basic level — at the sentence. Getting it right, getting it clean.
4. “Writing the Breakout Novel” by Donald Maass
Whether you are a first-time novelist or a best-selling author looking to shake things up, this book offers practical advice on taking your writing to greater heights. Donald Maass, successful literary agent, knows the business as well as anyone and breaks down the elements that take a novel to soaring success, no matter what genre.
5. “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamott
Using her token wit and wisdom, author Anne Lamott writes on aspects of writing and being a writer. She offers honest insights on such subjects as “Getting Started,” “False Starts,” “Writers Groups,” “Publication” and so much more.
6. “Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do” edited by Meredith Moran
Ann Patchett, Jodi Picoult and David Baldacci are just a few of the successful modern authors who contributed to this newer collection on writing. With candor, these authors share what keeps them going when the work is hard and what has helped take them to best-seller status.
7. “Plot and Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish” by James Scott Bell
Sometimes writers think because we can spin intricate webs of words that we can also automatically put them together into a gripping plot. But there is a science to it, as well as an art. The more you know about how plot works, the better you can write one. These tips on how to structure a narrative and how to create a story that flows well and readers relate to will improve your writing. Bell’s approach is practical and easy-to-understand, and he lays it out plainly, with lots of humor.
Writers: What books have helped you improve your craft? Share on this story's comment board.
Teri Harman, author and book enthusiast, writes a monthly column for KSL.com and contributes book-related segments to "Studio 5 with Brooke Walker. Her novel "Blood Moon," is now available. The sequel, "Black Moon," hits shelves Sept. 16, 2014. More at teriharman.com.*