Reading for Beginning Writers

This page lists the books I recommend for Beginning Writers. To purchase any of these books from, just click on either the title or the cover. Additional sources for obtaining out of print books are listed on the Links at right.

These books have been helpful to my students–and myself–as we study our craft and art. I hope they’ll be useful to you as well.

Reading for Beginning Writers
Elizabeth Benedict.

The Joy of Writing Sex: A Guide for Fiction Writers.
Story Pr., 1996.

Anne Bernays, Pamela Painter.

What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers.
Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1997.

Carol Bly.

The Passionate, Accurate Story: Making Your Heart’s Truth into Literature.
Milkweed Editions, 1998.

Dorothea Brande.

Becoming a Writer.
J. P. Tarcher, 1981.

Natalie Goldberg.

Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life.
Bantam Books, 1990.

Natalie Goldberg, Natalie Colbery.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.
Shambhala Pubns., 1998.

Ted Hughes.

Poetry in the Making: An Anthology.
(Out of print.)

Richard Hugo.

The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing.
W.W. Norton & Company, 1992.

Anne Lamott.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.
Anchor, 1995.

James Moffett (Editor), Kenneth R. McElheny (Editor).

Points of View: An Anthology of Short Stories.
Mentor Books, 1995.

This revised edition bows a little too much to political correctness. The
old edition, containing mostly dead white authors, is more useful for the
study of craft.

Larry Phillips (Editor), F. Scott Fitzgerald.

F. Scott Fitzgerald on Writing.
(Out of print.)

Larry W. Phillips (Editor), Ernest Hemingway.
Ernest Hemingway on Writing.
Simon & Shuster Trade Paperbacks, 1999.
William Harmon, C. Hugh Holman (Contributor), William Flint Thrall, addi Hibbard.

A Handbook to Literature, (7th Ed).
Prentice Hall College Div., 1995.

Ueland, Brenda.

If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit.
Graywolf Press, 1997.