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10 Books That Are A Must-Read To Improve Your Writing Skill

Books on Writing skills “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~ Maya Angelou

Writing is an incredible form of expression. But “Why do you write?”- When this question was asked by Mr. Ahmad Sami (a writer himself and who tweets on the things related to writing) through a tweet, the thread received many interesting answers from the Authors. The answers include:

- For the love of Writing

- Writing heals them

- For the Passion for Writing

- To impact the world

- To share the story with the world

- Obsessed with Writing (Can’t do without it)

- To Explore the creative side

- and some just for fun and enjoyment..

While these are various reasons people write, you might have any of the above or a completely new reason to write. Go For It!

Whether you are an aspiring author or an experienced one looking to up your game and improve your writing skill, this article is for you!

If you want to improve your writing, the only way is to read more. Nothing better conveys the importance of reading for professional academic writers than this quote by the renowned author Stephen King, that says:

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” ~ Stephen King

We intend to save you some time that would go into researching for the best books on writing. Here is a list of 10 books that are a must-read to improve your writing skill. Along with the books, we have added 10 quotes on writing from various authors. The quotes will leave you inspired for your journey ahead. Writing journey isn’t full of roses; hence, anytime in the journey, you feel a lack of motivation or feel bogged down by the challenges, come back and refer to these quotes for inspiration.

If you are ready, let’s get started with the list:

1. On Writing by Stephen King:

Books on Writing skills

If there is one book you will find in all the recommendations, it is this book. ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King is a part how-to guide and part his story on the writing journey. If you aren’t aware who Stephen King is, he is an author of 62 novels, and his books have sold 350 million copies (you heard it right!- 350 Million copies). This book is a must-read and an absolute treat for any aspiring author or even an established author who wants to grow in their career of writing.

Quote 1: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” ~ Stephen King

2. The Elements of Style by Willing Strunk Jr. & E.B White:

Books on Writing skills

Another widely renowned and recommended book is “The Elements of Style”. If you want to learn about the style of writing including Grammar, this book is for you. The Elements of Style was first published in 1918 by Mr. William Strunk. It was revised, enlarged, and republished by his former student Mr. E.B. White. It is a classic manual on the principles of the English language to help you get strong command of the language. If you are looking for a more contemporary approach, you can refer to “The Sense of Style” by Mr. Steven Pinker instead.

Quote 2: “The English language is an arsenal of weapons. If you are going to brandish them without checking to see whether or not they are loaded, you must expect to have them explode in your face from time to time.” ~ Stephen Fry

3. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King:

Books on Writing skills

Editing the manuscript is among the tedious tasks for Fiction writers. It isn’t easy. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers is finally a book by the professional editors sharing with you what exactly goes on in the Editor’s table. They share how they edit a book, and make it into a masterpiece. They share these editing lessons so that you can do it yourself. It is a perfect guide for editing your fiction work.

Quote 3: “The first draft reveals the art; revision reveals the artist.” ~ Michael Lee

4. On Writing Well by William Zinsser:

Books on Writing skills

On Writing Well is another one of the most recommended books if you wanted to learn to find your writing style. Mr. William Zinsser was a lifelong journalist and a non-fiction writer. He taught writing at the Yale University and has authored 18 other books ranging from commentary, memoir, travel, and writing guide. His other renowned works being ‘Writing to Learn’ and ‘Writing About Your Life’. This book advises on what you need for writing any kind of non-fiction book.

Quote 4: "Also bear in mind, when you're choosing your words and stringing them together, how they sound. This may seem absurd: readers read with their eyes. But in fact, they hear what they are reading far more than you realize." ~ William Zinsser

5. The Writing Experiment by Hazel Smith:

Books on Writing skills

If you are a novice in writing and looking to kickstart your writing career, ‘The Writing Experiment’ is for you! Hazel Smith is a Creative writing teacher and lecturer hailing from Australia. This book encourages explorative and innovative methods of writing. It is suitable for an experienced writer as well. It covers many genres like fiction, poetry, writing for performance, and new media. In this book, she has shared the basics of creative writing. She has broken down writing into the incremental stages, revealing the unacknowledged processes that can become a part of the writing strategy.

Quote 5: “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.” ~ William Faulkner

6. Story Genius by Lisa Cron:

Books on Writing skills

Storytelling through your novel is an art that needs mastery, and no one better than Lisa Cron can share its importance. Lisa Cron has worked in publishing at W.W. Norton, as an agent at the Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency, a story consultant with Warner Bros and William Moris Agency, and as a producer on shows for Showtime and CourtTV.

In her book ‘Story Genius’, Lisa shares how Brain Science impacts storytelling and how to use cognitive storytelling strategies to build a riveting story. It is a step-by-step for creating a novel. It is a multi-layered blueprint to help you evolve your first draft with the quality that is generally reached with the sixth or seventh draft.

Quote 6: “If I ask you to think about something, you can decide not to. But if I make you feel something? Now I have your attention.” ~ Lisa Cron

7. 78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might by Pat Walsh:

Books on Writing skills

What if you had an Editor’s perspective of what common mistakes Authors make that render their manuscript unfit for publication? It would help you to avoid those mistakes, isn’t it?. In this book “78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might”, Pat Walsh shares exactly that. Pat Walsh is the Founding Editor of MacAdam/Cage. This is an honest book that will help you get a clear picture of the industry and the odds against a writer. He also shares his feedback on the bad habits of writers and how to overcome them.

Quote 7: The first draft is black and white. Editing gives the story color. ~ Emma Hill

8. Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living by Manjula Martin:

Books on Writing skills

Well, if you are someone looking to make a living out of your writing career, this book is for you. “Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living” authored by Manjula Martin is a collection of essays of most acclaimed authors from Roxanne Gay, Cheryl Strayed, Jennifer Weiner, Jonathan Franzen, among others wherein they share their perspectives on money from writing. In simple words, it is the truth of the life of an Author, their run for the money, and how you could make it a successful career. It is a must-read for aspiring as well as experienced writers trying to carve their way up or those that dream to become an essay writer someday.

Quote 8: We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. ~ Winston Churchill

9. The Writing Life: Writers On How They Think And Work by Marie Arana:

Books on Writing skills

The writing journey isn’t full of roses. There are many challenges a writer has to overcome in the course. The Writing Life, authored by Marie Arana, is a collection of stories of fifty Authors sharing how they discovered their talent & quest for writing, how they work, how do they deal with myriad frustrations and challenges along the path, and what are their approaches to making it to top. This book is a feast to anyone embarking on the journey of writing.

Quote 9: A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” ~ Thomas Mann

10. The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English by Roy Peter Clark:

Books on Writing skills

The importance of Grammar for a writer cannot be undermined. It is among the most important tool in the arsenal of an author. The book ‘The Glamour of Grammar’ by Roy Peter Clark is a one-stop guide to the usage of Grammar and how you can use it to charm your readers through your writing.

This is a fun and engaging guide instead of a boring instructional. Read it to know and learn everything from different parts of speech (though you might have learned this in your school, but learning it now when you actually need it, would make all the difference) to why the renowned writers have a preference for concrete nouns and active verbs.

Quote 10: “The greater part of the world's troubles are due to questions of grammar.” ~ Michel de Montaigne


We hope that this list of books on writing helps you. Books are the least-investment method of learning about writing compared to other mediums. It helps you learn things faster. Since these books are written by authors, you could also grasp the writing style that makes it an interesting read. They have put in a lot of hard work for this book to share the lessons from their writing journey that could be helpful for you.

Additionally, the quotes are known to convey the deepest meaning with just a few words. We hope that you like the collection of quotes too. If you are an author or know one, feel free to connect them to authors paradize - a paid marketing service from that helps authors find a way to build their brand online and let their book soar to new heights. Check out What are your thoughts on this article? Do share your feedback in the comments below.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 26th May 2021.
Kunal Jain
Kunal Jain works as an Outreach Specialist at iU

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