Best Books for How to Write a Novel

Lots of people want to know how to write a novel. And I truly believe almost all of those people have a great novel inside of them. But most don’t know where to start. Check out this list of my favorite writing books to help get you started.

The Trouble With Books

My whole goal here is to offer you the best of the best writing books to help get you started on your journey as a writer.

But here’s the thing: Though every one of the authors of the following books has all of the answers for themselves, none of them will have all of the answers for you.

Every writer learns not only to read the absolute best books on writing, but to read literally every book on writing they can get their hands on. Sometimes, you won’t be ready for a piece of advice until you’ve found it phrased the right way. Other times, no matter how many dozens of writing books you read, you simply will not have happened upon one piece of advice or another.

The Promised Books

That said, the following books happen to have more answers for more people than others I’ve read. If you’re starting on your writer’s journey, there aren’t a better set of starting points than these:

Roy Peter Clark — Writing Tools

The best start for people concerned with the nuts and bolts with writing good prose.

Libbie Hawker — Take Off Your Pants!

You’re not a writer until you’re an outliner. Even authors who prefer to fly by the seat of their pants have to have a system.

Blake Synder — Save the Cat

This is the defacto standard for the three-act structure. Digest it, master it, and use it. This book will teach you more about story structure than any other.

Constance Hale — Sin and Syntax

Take your prose to the next level. Hale shows you what beautiful fiction looks like, and offer you tips for how to level-up yourself.

Stephen King — On Writing

King talks primarily about the soft skills a writer needs to succeed through the narrative of his own success. Filled with gems.

Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant — Write. Publish. Repeat.

A great primer to the business of being a writer in the 21st century. If you want to make a living as an author, this is the place to start.

Go Forth, and Multiply

This brief list is only the tip of the iceberg. After you’ve ingested these books, look for more. And remember the golden rule: A writer writes. Book-reading won’t matter in the least unless you’re putting the advice to good use.