So, in the hopes that I can remember a few names of books I've read next time I'm asked, and because I thought it might be a help to fellow writers, I've decided to compile a list of books I've read on writing and books that have influenced me as a writer.
My first book I purchased to help with my writing has a special place in my mind - not because it had amazing craft tips, but because it was the first, it seemed expensive ($20 in the 80s), and I saved up my own money for it. Plus, I bought it at the bookstore in my hometown (the one owned by the mother of one of the cutest guys at school) so I remember the very moment when I bought it.
The first book on writing for me: The Synonym Finder by J.I. Rodale. It's not a book on craft, it's just a really big book of synonyms (with no antonyms). I've always had trouble with repetitive words.
The rest of the books are split into these categories: Writing Practice and Writing Prompt Books; Writing Structure Books: Plot, Characterization, and Rules; Writing life, Writing Motivation, and Writing Advice; Writing Books for the Young at Heart; and Publication and Marketing Guides.
Demarco-Barrett, Barbara. Pen on Fire: a busy woman's guide to igniting the writer within. I like the "set the timer" exercises, and the narrative form of writing advice is pretty good. However, guys, I'm sorry, but this is very much a "woman's" book on writing.
*Athans, Philip and Salvatore, R.A. The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction: 6 Steps to Writing and Publishing Your Bestseller! An excellent book about writing fantasy and science fiction with a terrible cover. I don't know where my copy went and I suspect my daughters may have thrown it out because of the cover . . . or maybe I took it with me on a road trip and lost it. (I may buy a kindle copy to own it again).
Card, Orson Scott. How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy. A good craft book in general with some great sections on world creation and character building.
Edgerton, Les. Hooked: write fiction that grabs readers at page one and never lets them go. The complete guide to writing good hooks, either starting with the inciting incident or in media res.
Graves, Richard L. Rhetoric and Composition: A Sourcebook for Teachers and Writers. Each chapter contains insight into university and professional level writing, as well as teaching creative writing to kids as young as kindergarten. (Yes, this is one of my university books that I still keep around.)
Greenbaum, Sidney. A College Grammar of English. Despite a tough university course based on this book taught by an enthusiastic grammarian professor, I still have trouble with my independent clauses and commas. However, I know to go to this book to find answers.
Hemley, Robin. Turning Life into Fiction. This book details the nuances of writing non-fiction memoirs and writing fiction from life. It's been a while since I've read it, but I remember it being good.
Hodges, John C.; Horner, Winifred B.; Miller, Robert K.; Webb, Suzanne S.; Whitten, Mary E. Harbrace College Handbook. A basic book on grammar and style.
Harmon, William and Holmes, Hugh C. A Handbook to Literature. Not technically a writing book, this book has all the handy terms a writer needs to understand their craft.
Vogler, Christopher. The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers. A book that uses Joseph Campbell's work, current movies, and best-selling novels, to show writers plot and characterization that works.
Fishman, Boris. The Creative Writer: Level One: Five Finger Exercises. I love the cover of this book, I think the premise is good. However, somewhere along the way it falls flat and feels uncreative in it's attempt to encourage creativity. However, I have known a few homeschool families that really like it.
Kautzer, Kim and Oldar, Debra. Write Shop One and Write Shop Two. These are actually homeschool and private school curriculum books for composition. I've used these in homeschool co-operative classes and they do a decent job of presenting formal paragraph and essay writing. The creative writing lessons were not my favorites, but I'm super picky about those kinds of lessons and I just supplemented with my own material.
*Kemper, Dave; Meyer, Verne; and Sebranek, Patrick. Writers Inc: A Student Handbook for Writing and Learning. A writer's resource for MG and Teen writers that covers essay writing basics to college entrance essays. A fairly fun compilation of what could have been dry material.
*Smith, Keri. This is Not a Book. An incredibly fun journal that invites writers to draw, list, divide the page, make mazes, write, collage, and do a variety of activities that encourage writing. My favorite of the series.
Smith, Keri. Wreck This Journal. A fun book that invites writers to draw, write, crumple, make paper airplanes, and do a variety of activities.
*Trelease, Jim. Hey! Listen to This: Stories to Read Aloud. Meant to be a guide for parents, this treasure store includes read aloud excerpts from several beloved children's books. I find it inspiring for writing and storytelling. (This is a companion book to Jim Trelease's Read Aloud Handbook)
*Aycock, Don M. and Goss, Leonard G. The Little Handbook to Perfecting the Art of Christian Writing: Getting Your Foot in the Publisher's Door. Despite the huge title, this is a little book that mainly focuses on queries and publishing. There is a bit about the writing process, the time involved, and a small section on grammar and style.
Lyon, Elizabeth. The Sell Your Novel Tool Kit. 1997. I think the publisher's date says it all. It's a pretty good handbook for query writing, but I think it's a bit outdated for marketing.
Ortman, Mark. A Simple Guide to Marketing Your Book: What an Author and Publisher Can Do to Sell More Books. A tiny book on marketing published in 2000. The version I have isn't up to date but it still has some useful tidbits in it.
Stuart, Sally E. Christian Writers' Market Guide 2008: The Essential Reference Tool for the Christian Writer. It's a bit outdated, but I still keep this reference around. I check the publishers via the web. I recommend finding books like this at the library.
*Wolfe, L. Diane. How to Publish and Promote Your Book NOW! A book filled with great and current tips for promotion.