Here’s a quick list of some of the more useful how-to-write books on my shelf. One of the first things I learned about writing fiction (back in the late ’70s) was that I didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. Plenty of writers have written helpful books! All of the out-of-print books in the list seem to be available used from Amazon.

Scott Meredith, Writing to Sell (out of print). Meredith is a terrible Philistine. He doesn’t give a crap about art. But if you want to sell books, this is a great resource.

Jean Z. Owen, Professional Fiction Writing (out of print). A fine all-around introduction to basic techniques.

Hallie & Whit Burnett, Fiction Writer’s Handbook.

Noah Lukeman, The First Five Pages.

Orson Scott Card, Characters & Viewpoint.

Ansen Dibell, Plot.

John Gardner, The Art of Fiction.

And of course, less about technique than about whatever he feels like saying about writing, Telling Lies for Fun & Profit by Lawrence Block.

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