reading for writers
We here at millionth monkey devote a ridiculous amount of time to reading about writing. We have consumed all of the following writing-related books and take great pleasure in recommending them to you. For your convenience, we have linked each book to its description on Amazon.com.
reflections by accomplished writers
- Will Blythe (editor), Why I Write: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction
- Frederick Busch (editor), Letters to a Fiction Writer
- Robertson Davies, Reading and Writing
- Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
- E.M. Forster, Aspects of the Novel
- Norman Thomas di Giovanni, Daniel Halpern and Frank MacShane (editors), Borges on Writing
- Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
- George V. Higgins, On Writing
- Christopher Isherwood, Isherwood on Writing: The Lectures in California
- Stephen King, On Writing
- Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel
- Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory: An Autobiography Revisited
- Joyce Carol Oates (editor), First Person Singular: Writers on Their Craft
- Joyce Carol Oates, The Lost Landscape: A Writer's Coming of Age
- George Orwell, Why I Write
- George Plimpton (editor), The Writer's Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the 20th Century's Preeminent Writers
- Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
- Mario Vargas Llosa, Letters to a Young Novelist
- Eudora Welty, On Writing
- Eudora Welty, One Writer's Beginnings
- Jon Winokur (editor), Writers on Writing
- Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
- Aristotle, Poetics
- Aristotle, Rhetoric
- Charles Baxter, The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot
- Charles Baxter, Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction
- Robert Boswell, The Half-Known World: On Writing Fiction
- Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces
- Cyril Connolly, Enemies of Promise
- Jonathan Culler, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction
- Lajos Egri, The Art Of Creative Writing
- Lajos Egri, The Art of Dramatic Writing
- Paul H. Fry, Theory of Literature
- Northrop Frye, The Educated Imagination
- Georg Lukács, The Theory of the Novel
- Michael McKeon, Theory of the Novel: A Historical Approach
- Frank O'Connor, The Lonely Voice: A Study of the Short Story
- Frank O'Connor, The Mirror in the Roadway: A Study of the Modern Novel
- Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch, On the Art of Writing: Lectures Delivered in the University of Cambridge, 1913-1914
- Richard Ruland and Malcolm Bradbury, From Puritanism to Postmodernism
- Viktor Shklovsky, Theory of Prose
nuts and bolts
- Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression
- Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren, How to Read a Book
- James Scott Bell, Plot & Structure
- Madison Smartt Bell, Narrative Design: A Writer’s Guide to Structure
- Anne Bernays, What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers
- Jack M. Bickham, Scene and Structure
- Bloomsbury Publishing, Gotham Writers Workshop: Writing Fiction
- John Braine, Writing a Novel
- Dorothea Brande, Becoming a Writer
- Hallie and Whit Burnett, Fiction Writer's Handbook
- Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft
- Orson Scott Card, Characters & Viewpoint
- Julie Checkoway (editor), Creating Fiction
- Roy Peter Clark, Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer
- Barnaby Conrad and the Staff of the Santa Barbara Writers' Conference, The Complete Guide to Writing Fiction
- Frank Conroy (editor), The Eleventh Draft
- Ansen Dibell, Plot
- John Dufresne, Is Life Like This?: A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months
- John Dufresne, The Lie That Tells a Truth: A Guide to Writing Fiction
- Peter Elbow, Writing Without Teachers
- Peter Elbow, Writing With Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process
- Syd Field, Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting
- Syd Field, The Screenwriter’s Workbook
- Jon Franklin, Writing for Story
- James N. Frey, How to Write a Damn Good Novel: A Step-by-Step No-Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling
- John Gardner, The Art of Fiction
- John Gardner, On Becoming a Novelist
- John Gardner, On Moral Fiction
- Henry Goodman (editor), Creating the Short Story: A Symposium-Anthology
- Kevin Hall and Michael Huber, Words Into Flesh: How to Think Like a Writer
- Oakley Hall, The Art & Craft of Novel Writing
- Jack Heffron (editor), The Best Writing on Writing
- Robin Hemley, Turning Life Into Fiction
- L. Rust Hill, Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular
- John Hollander, Rhyme's Reason: A Guide to English Verse
- Randy Ingermanson, Writing Fiction For Dummies
- Steven James, Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules
- Robert Kernen, Building Better Plots
- Verlyn Klinkenborg, Several Short Sentences About Writing
- Damon Knight, Creating Short Fiction: The Classic Guide to Writing Short Fiction
- Ring W. Lardner, How to Write Short Stories
- Percy Lubbock, The Craft of Fiction
- Robie Macauley and George Lanning, Technique in Fiction
- Robert McKee, Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting
- Edith Ronald Mirrielees, Story Writing
- Constance Nash and Virginia Oakey, The Screenwriter’s Handbook
- June Noble and William Noble, Steal This Plot
- Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them
- Robert J. Ray, The Weekend Novelist
- Kit Reed, Mastering Fiction Writing
- Richard Rhodes, How to Write: Advice and Reflections
- Jane Smiley, Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel
- Sol Stein, Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies
- Jerome Stern, Making Shapely Fiction
- Dwight V. Swain, Techniques of the Selling Writer
- Ronald B. Tobias, Theme & Strategy
- Ronald B. Tobias, 20 Master Plots (And How to Build Them)
- Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Storytellers & Screenwriters
- Robert Wallace, Writing Poems
- K.M. Weiland, Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
- Phyllis A. Whitney, Guide to Fiction Writing
- Joseph M. Williams, Style: Toward Clarity and Grace
- Edgar E. Willis and Camille D’Arienzo, Writing Scripts for Television, Radio, and Film
- Jon Winokur, Advice to Writers: A Compendium of Quotes, Anecdotes, and Writerly Wisdom from a Dazzling Array of Literary Lights
- James Wood, How Fiction Works
- William Zinsser, On Writing Well
right brain stuff
- Lynda Barry, What It Is
- Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
- Rita Mae Brown, Starting from Scratch
- Robert Olen Butler and Janet Burroway, From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction
- Marshall J. Cook, Freeing Your Creativity: A Writer's Guide
- Lisa Cron, Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence
- Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
- Jack Heffron, The Writer’s Idea Book
- Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
- Roger Rosenblatt, Unless It Moves the Human Heart
- Eve Shelnutt (editor), My Poor Elephant
- Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
- Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit
Avoid Common Comma Errors:
Use commas after the day of the month and after the year.
Romeo met Juliet on December 5, 2003, in Yeehaw Junction, Florida.
If the date is omitted, leave out the commas.
They met in December 2003 in Yeehaw Junction, Florida.
Use commas after the city and after the state.
Juliet had lived in Yeehaw Junction, Florida, for nine years.
Use commas before and after degrees and titles used with names. (But commas are not required with Jr., Sr., II, III, and so forth.)
Romeo Kaminsky, M.D., treated Sam Jones Jr. and Charles Starr III.
Use commas before and after business-entity designations such as Inc., LLC, and Ltd.
Sunshine, Inc., is based in
Which vs. That:
“Which” introduces a nonrestrictive clause; that is, a clause that could be deleted without changing the meaning of the sentence. In this usage, “which” should be preceded by a comma.
“That” introduces a restrictive clause — a clause that limits the scope of the subject of the sentence. “That” is not preceded by a comma.
JunkMoCo is recalling all of its cars, which are defective.
JunkMoCo is recalling all of its
cars that are defective.
If you were a JunkMoCo shareholder, the distinction certainly wouldn’t be academic.
There’s somebody out there somewhere who has told a whole generation of writers that the possessive of any noun ending in “s” is formed by adding just an apostrophe. False. The possessive singular is formed by adding an apostrophe and an “s” — regardless of the final letter of the noun.
The boss’s office
The Mercedes’s headlamp
The exceptions, according to Strunk and White, are possessives of ancient proper nouns ending in “-es” or “-is” (or “-us,” but only in the case of “Jesus.”)
With plural possessives, it is appropriate to add only the apostrophe.
The witches’ brew
The birds’ nests
The sailors’ tunes
You know, of course, that possessive personal pronouns (“hers,” “its,” “ours,” “yours,” etc.) don’t take apostrophes, but keep in mind that indefinite pronouns do require the apostrophe.
Somebody else’s deeds
This is an area where writers who read widely tend to have the most problems. Brits and Americans punctuate quotations differently, so if you read a lot of Austen, Dickens or Waugh, you’re apt to be confused. In American English, the rules are simple:
The comma always goes inside the final quotation mark.
“That most assuredly is true,”
The period always goes inside the final quotation mark.
He said, “That most assuredly
The colon always goes outside the final quotation mark.
“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie”: name that tune.
The semicolon always goes outside the final quotation mark.
He said, “That’s the best
minestrone I’ve ever tasted”;
however, he didn’t mean it.
The question mark and the exclamation mark go inside or outside depending on the context. If the quote itself is a question or exclamation, the mark goes inside. Otherwise, it goes outside.
“What’s happening, my friend?”
“I’ve won!” she screamed.
Did he really want her to say, “We’re more than friends”?
Never, never, never again say,
“I told you so”!
Politics Style Guide:
The following are AP Stylebook rules on the capitalization, spelling, punctuation and usage of common U.S. political terms. These tips are excerpted from a much longer list that the Associated Press compiled in preparation for the 2012 national elections.
The terms are lowercase, except in a title: Commission on Presidential Debates.
Capitalize when referring the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives together. The adjective is lowercase unless part of a formal name.
Not formal titles, spelled lowercase. Rep. is the preferred title before the name of a U.S. House member: Rep. Judy Chu.
majority leader, minority leader
Capitalize as formal legislative title before a name: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, otherwise lowercase.
Lowercase for a political philosophy, capitalize in a formal name: the Conservative Party.
Lowercase except in formal name: the Democratic convention, the Democratic National Convention.
Democrat, Democratic Party
Both are capitalized. Don’t use Democrat Party.
Election Day, election night
The first is capitalized, the second is lowercase. Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.
Not an official title, spelled lowercase (except when starting a sentence: First lady ... ).
Single words in all uses.
Candidate who leads a political race; the term is hyphenated.
Avoid these terms in favor of more precise descriptions of political leanings.
Lowercase for a political philosophy. Capitalize in a formal name: the Liberal Party.
middle class (n.), middle-class (adj.)
Key voting group encompassing about 42 percent of U.S. households with incomes ranging from $25,000 to $75,000 annually, according to White House Council of Economic Advisers.
PAC, super PAC
Political action committee raises money for candidates or parties from donations by individuals, but not businesses or labor unions. A super PAC may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, including from corporations and unions, to support candidates for federal office but must operate independently.
Both are compounds.
Seldom a formal title and thus lowercase.
Both are hyphenated.
Republican, Republican Party
Both terms are capitalized. GOP (Grand Old Party) may be used on second reference.
Avoid these terms in favor of more precise descriptions of political leanings.
Lowercase the populist movement that opposes the Washington political establishment. Adherents are tea partyers. Formally named groups in the movement are capitalized: Tea Party Express.
The Associated Press has revised its style rules on various technology-related terms.
email (changed from e-mail)
But other e-words remain hyphenated:
website is one word (changed from web site)
Other web-compounds also are treated as one word:
The internet and the web, as a short form of the World Wide Web, are lower case in all uses:
a web page
a web feed
Tech terms that are often represented by capitalized initials (e.g., SEO, PPC, CTR) are not capitalized when spelled out:
search engine optimization
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