Advice from Writing Manuals by famous authors

A roundup of advice from Writing Manuals by famous authors. Mainly fiction, but I think academic writing can learn a lot from the process.

There are countless books that purport to teach you how to write. Many of them are good. Some of them are not quite as good. This is the usual way of things. However, I am always most excited to come across a book about writing by an author whose work I already admire. That is, it’s one thing to get advice from a professor or a critic or an editor, but quite another to hear it from someone who has been in the mines and come up with gold—those who can teach and do. To that end, I’ve put together a list of 25 writing manuals and book-length musings on craft from famous authors, along with a bit of advice drawn from each book. An amuse-bouche, you might say. NB that I have excluded anthologies of essays from multiple authors, even if one or more of them (and/or the book’s editor) are famous writers, as well as how-to books by famous authors who are primarily known for their how-to books, like Natalie Goldberg and John Gardner. This list, of course, is ever expanding and incomplete (I see that Dean Koontz published a book on how to write best-sellers, but it’s out of print!), so add on as you see fit below.

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