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The 8 Most Popular Books on Writing Fiction I’ve Ever Read

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  • April 19, 2024
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  • 6 min read


When one starts writing any kind of book, whether fiction or nonfiction, the start can be quite challenging because they do not know where to look for guidance, however, as professional book writers, we understand your pain.

That’s why we have compiled this list of the eight most popular and best books on writing fiction that have influenced and inspired our writer’s journey. Here, the Book Writing Founders experts have shared their insights on each, hoping they’ll light your path just like they did ours.

On Writing by Stephen King

Imagine taking a trip directly inside the mind of one of our time’s most brilliant fiction writers. That’s precisely what On Writing by Stephen King feels like. The book is part memoir, part writing guide, and entirely useful.

He takes you through his early days when rejection slips piled up, yet he refused to pin down his undying passion for writing. King reminds us that great writing isn’t just about immense talent but about persistence.

He also delivers instructive insights into crafting a compelling novel. King deftly uses anecdotes from his career to highlight these elements, adding depth to his advice. He emphasizes the critical importance of reading voraciously – a commonly advocated trait among our best books on writing fiction.

Still Writing by Dani Shapiro

If the book writing journey were a long, winding road, Still Writing by Dani Shapiro acts like a comforting friend accompanying you. Writing can often feel like a solitary process. Still Writing acknowledges these challenges and offers advice to navigate through them.

In her book, Shapiro candidly discusses the emotional highs and lows accompanying crafting narratives from mere ideas. She shares anecdotes from her life and career, empathizing with every writer’s struggles.

Whether dealing with writer’s block or wrestling with self-doubt, Shapiro’s warm and knowledgeable voice reassures you.

Despite its difficulties, Shapiro’s genuine appreciation for the craft elevates Still Writing to the ranks of the best books on writing fiction. It’s a constant reminder that every word, every page, and every struggle faced is a step forward in the right direction.

On Moral Fiction by John Gardner

When John Gardner penned On Moral Fiction, he aimed to challenge writers and provoke deeper thought about the role of fiction in society. In this compelling book, Gardner argues that true art should enlighten and improve humanity, not merely entertain.

For fiction writers, this sparks an essential conversation about the moral responsibilities that come with the craft of storytelling.

Gardner’s insights push you to ponder the impact of your narratives. How do your stories influence readers? Do they offer something of value or merely pass the time? Garnering a spot among the best books on writing fiction.

First You Write by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott’s First You Write (often celebrated under its known title, Bird by Bird) presents a refreshing, honest look into the writing life. Lamott offers wisdom, humor, and practical advice through her experiences and vulnerabilities. The essence of her message lies in taking the overwhelming writing process and breaking it into manageable pieces.

Lamott touches upon the initial stages of writing, addressing the fears and anxieties that often accompany staring at a blank page. From detailed advice on developing characters to managing plot twists, Lamott covers it all, making her book a staple among the best books on writing fiction.

This book is more than just a writing guide; it’s a heartfelt companion for any writer feeling alone in their creative struggles.

The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner

With her vast experience as both an editor and an author, Lerner offers a unique perspective that bridges the gap between writers and the publishing industry in this book.

Lerner discusses how writers can connect deeply with their creative selves while being practical about their expectations from the publishing world. She understands a writer’s soul but also emphasizes the importance of perseverance, adaptability, and the often-overlooked aspect of rejection.

Her shared wisdom ranks The Forest for the Trees among the best books on writing fiction, especially for anyone looking towards publication.

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard is a lyrical exploration into the essence of creating literature. With her poetic prose, Dillard takes readers on a journey through her reflections on the craft of writing. She doesn’t promise easy tips or straightforward advice; instead, she offers an immersive experience of what it feels like to dedicate oneself to the art of writing.

Dillard shares anecdotes from her own life, weaving together her experiences with universal truths about the difficulties and joys of writing. Her narrative is compelling not because it simplifies the writing process but honors the complexity. This reverence for the craft and its challenges is why The Writing Life deserves its place among the best books on writing fiction.

Writing Past Dark by Bonnie Friedman

Bonnie Friedman’s Writing Past Dark is about navigating this swirling emotional landscape. This book talks about the hard stuff — the jealousy towards other writers, the fear that your work isn’t good enough, and the self-doubt that gnaws away at your confidence.

Friedman uses her experiences to reassure writers that these feelings aren’t signs of failure — they’re just part of the creative process. More importantly, she teaches how to transform these negative emotions into fuel for better writing. This makes her book a standout in our list of best books on writing fiction.

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

When writing, sometimes the smallest details make the biggest difference. And, no book stresses this more accurately than The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. Often described as the holy grail for book writing services providers, this small but powerful book is all about the fundamentals of writing in the English language.

In this book, Strunk and White provide clear grammar, style, and usage rules, with plenty of examples to illustrate their points. Their advice is practical and straightforward. Though it may seem simple, mastering these basics can dramatically improve the clarity and impact of your writing.

This book is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to write (or write better).


These are the eight most influential books that have shaped our fiction writing services practice and come highly recommended.

Remember, as you persevere through conquering the world of fiction writing, you’re not alone. Equip yourself with the collection of the best books on writing fiction listed above and pave your way to becoming an inspiring author.

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