Find the perfect editor for your book ➔
Find the perfect editor for your next book
1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy, come meet them.
Last updated on Feb 07, 2023
How to Write a Book (with Tactics from Bestsellers)
What’s the secret formula to tapping into your creativity and writing a book? Some authors would tell you there is no single path to authorship , as every writer’s journey is unique. However, almost every bestselling author will have highly effective writing patterns and habits that help them reach their goals. In this post, we'll share some of their most commonly used tactics for starting and finishing a book.
How to write a book:
1. Start with an idea that you love
2. research by reading books by other writers, 3. outline the story, 4. plan the opening sentence of your book, 5. write the messy first draft, 6. set a schedule with achievable goals, 7. find a good writing space, 8. pick a "distraction-free" book-writing software, 9. give yourself incentives to finish your draft, 10. edit the manuscript once you've finished, 11. publish your book for readers to buy.
There's a long, exciting road ahead. So let's get started.
The one thing you absolutely need to write a book is, of course, an idea. If you don't have that, you'll never get past the first page of your draft.
You may already know what you want to write about, or you may be at a total loss. Either way, you can settle on a “big book idea” by asking yourself a few simple questions:
- What do I want to write about?
- What do I feel is important to write about?
- Who will want to read about this story/subject?
- Will I be able to carry out this idea effectively?
Your answers to these questions will help you narrow it down to your best options. For example, if you have several different ideas for a book, but only one that you're truly passionate about and feel you can pull off, then voilà — there's your premise!
On the other hand, if you lack ideas, these questions should steer you in a firmer direction. Think about the kinds of books you love to read, as well as books that have made a significant impact on you. In all likelihood, you'll want to write a book in a similar vein.
Tools to help you find an idea
If you're grasping at straws, consider using creative writing prompts or a plot generator to get the ball rolling! You might stumble upon an interesting concept or story element that sparks a “big idea” for your book. (And if you're still uninspired even after trying these tools, you may want to reconsider whether you really want to write a book after all.)
Which writing app is right for you?
Find out here! Takes 30 seconds
Once you've found your big idea, the next step is to research your genre. Again, if you're writing the book you like to read , you already have a leg up! Reading books in your genre is by far the best way to learn how to write in that genre yourself.
But if not, you'll want to select a couple of representative titles and analyze them. How long are they and how many chapters do they have ? What does the story structure look like? What are the major themes ? Perhaps most importantly, do you think you can produce a book with similar elements?
Find out what people are reading
You should also conduct market research on Amazon to determine the most popular books in your genre. If you want your book to succeed, you'll have to contend with these bestsellers. Go to the Amazon Best Sellers page and find your genre in the lefthand sidebar:
Then read those books' blurbs to figure out what really sells. What do they all have in common, and why might readers find them appealing? Does your book hold up to these standards?
Finally, think about how your book can offer something NEW. For example, if you're writing a psychological thriller, will there be a particularly sneaky unreliable narrator , or maybe a series of twists that the reader never sees coming? If you're writing a nonfiction book , do you have a unique take on the subject, or a particularly deep well of knowledge? And so on.
Going above and beyond is the only way to give your book a chance in today's hyper-competitive market. So don't skimp on the genre research, because this will tell you where the bar is and how you can surpass it.
If you want to write a great story , you need to outline it first. This is especially important if it's your first book, since you need a solid blueprint to rely on when you get stuck! (Because believe us, you will get stuck.)
Get our Book Development Template
Use this template to go from a vague idea to a solid plan for a first draft.
So how do you go about creating that outline for your book? We actually have a whole other post on the subject , but here are the essentials:
- Pick a format that works for you. There are so many different types of outlines: the free-flowing mind map, the rigorous chapter-and-scene outline, the character-based outline, and so on. If one approach doesn't work for you, try another! Any kind of plan is better than none.
- Have a beginning, middle, and end. Way too many authors go into writing a book with a strong notion of how their story should start... yet their middle is murky and their ending, nonexistent. Take this time to flesh them out and connect them to one another. Remember: the best books have endings that feel “earned,” so you should try to be building toward it from the start!
- Consider your conflict points. Conflict is at the heart of any good book — it draws in the reader, conjures tension and emotion, and ultimately reflects the themes and/or message you want to convey. You don't have to know exactly where your conflict will manifest, but you should have a pretty good grasp of how it works throughout your book.
- Get to know your characters. If you haven't done much character development yet, your outline is the perfect opportunity to do so. How will your characters interact in the story, and how will these interactions demonstrate who they are and what matters to them?
Reedsy’s Character Profile Template
A story is only as strong as its characters. Fill this out to develop yours.
Let's get into the actual writing and make a dent in your first draft. One of the most important parts of writing a book is starting the story ! It's no exaggeration to say your first few pages can make or break your book — if these pages aren't good enough, many readers will lose interest, possibly never returning to your book again.
First off, you need an opening hook that grabs the reader's attention and makes it impossible for them to look away. Take a look at the first lines of these hit bestsellers:
“Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” — Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
“Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum's Grand Gallery.” — The Da Vinci Code
“If all the Saturdays of 1982 can be thought of as one day, I met Tracey at 10 a.m. on that Saturday, walking through the sandy gravel of a churchyard, each holding our mother's hand.” — Swing Time
All of these books fall into different genres, yet all their opening lines do the same thing: capture the reader's attention. You can imitate them by making a similarly strong, slightly furtive statement in your opener!
From there, your job is to maintain the reader's interest by heightening the stakes and inciting the plot . You should also make the reader care about the main characters by giving them distinct personalities and motivations . (Note that “main” is a key descriptor here; never introduce more than a couple of characters at a time!)
Of course, there are infinite ways to write your first chapter. You might have to experiment with lots of different opening lines, even opening scenes, to find the right balance — but it's worth the effort to set the stage perfectly.
Ever wonder which contemporary writer you are? Now's your chance to find out. Just take our 1-minute quiz below!
Which contemporary author are you?
Find out which of today's greats is your writerly match. Takes one minute!
Many writers believe that the key to writing an amazing book is style: impressive vocabulary, elaborate sentences, figurative language that would make Shakespeare swoon.
We're here to dissuade you of that notion. While style is great (as long as your prose doesn't start to become purple ), substance is far more important when writing a book — hence why you should focus primarily on your plot, characters, conflict(s), and themes.
Make sure your book is all killer, no filler
Of course, that's easier said than done, especially once you've already started writing . When you get to a patchily outlined section, it's tempting to keep writing and fill out the page with literary gymnastics. But that's exactly what this content is: filler. And if you have too much of it, readers will become frustrated and start to think you're pretentious.
This is another reason why outlining is so important. You need to KNOW your story in order to stay on track with it! But besides outlining, here are a few more tips for making substance a priority:
- Every sentence must do one of two things — reveal character or advance the action. This advice comes straight from Kurt Vonnegut, and it's 100% true: if a sentence doesn't accomplish one or both of those things, try removing it. If the passage still makes sense, leave it out.
- Be conscious of your pacing. Slow pacing is a symptom of excess description. If the events of your book seem to move like molasses, you're probably using too much style and not enough substance.
- Use a writing tool to reduce flowery language. Speaking of great American novelists, Hemingway is a fantastic tool to help you write like the man himself! Simply paste your writing into the app and Hemingway will suggest ways to make your prose more concise and effective.
Tell us about your book, and we'll give you a writing playlist
It'll only take a minute!
Keep readers in mind while writing
Want to write a book that people will really enjoy (and buy)? Well, this is pretty much the cardinal rule: you should always be thinking about your audience and trying to write “reader-first.”
For example, sometimes you'll have to write scenes that aren't very exciting, but that serve the overall story arc . Don't rush through these scenes just to get them over with! Even if they don't seem interesting to you, they contribute to the reader's experience by building tension and preserving the pacing — and the reader deserves to relish those things.
Create 'fake' people who will want to read your book
When considering your readership, you should also keep a proto-persona in mind for marketing purposes. These are constructed personalities that marketers use to better understand their target customers. The more your book can cater to this hypothetical reader, the easier it will be to sell!
Maybe you're writing a true-crime account for zealous true crime readers . Such readers will have pored over countless criminal cases before, so you need to include unique details to make your case stand out, and craft an extra-compelling narrative to engage them.
Let's move on to practical ways that you can improve your writing habits. Word count goals play a huge part in creating an effective writing process, especially if you're trying to finish your book in a certain amount of time .
You should create word count goals for both your individual sessions and per week — or per month, if that's how you prefer to think about your writing output. For relatively novice writers, we'd recommend the following word count goals:
- 500-750 words per day
- 1,500-2,500 words per week
- 6,000-10,000 words per month
These goals are based on a pattern of 3-4 sessions per week, which is reasonable for a beginner, but still enough to make commendable progress. Even if you only follow our minimum recommendations — 500 words per session at 3 sessions per week — you can still easily finish your book in less than a year!
Speeding up the writing process
If you're looking for how to write a book as fast as possible , your word count goals should look a little more like this:
- 1,500-2,000 words per session
- 9,000-15,000 words per week
- 35,000-50,000 words per month
The figures above adhere roughly to NaNoWriMo , the event in which participants write an average of 1,667 words/day to complete a 50,000-word book in one month . It's hard work, but it's definitely possible to write a book that quickly; hundreds of thousands of people do so every year!
But as any author who's done NaNo can attest, it's also a pretty grueling experience. Most authors find it exhausting to write such great quantities for so many days in a row — and they still have to edit copiously once they're done.
If this is your first book, make sure you take your time, set manageable word goals, and gradually build to bigger goals.
Use writing sessions to establish a schedule
Having a healthy writing routine is the only way you'll actually hit those word count goals — not to mention it fosters a better relationship with writing overall! To establish a healthy routine, ask yourself these baseline questions first:
- When do I have the most free time in the day/week?
- What time of the day do I tend to be most productive?
- How can I space out my writing sessions effectively?
- Will I realistically be able to balance my writing goals with other responsibilities?
The best way to set up your routine is to take advantage of your pre-existing schedule and natural patterns. So for example, if you already go to the gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays, perhaps the best time to write would be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Or if you find yourself most creative late at night ( many of us do! ), you can plan late-night sessions over the weekend/before your day off, so you can sleep in the next day.
Ultimately, you just want a well-balanced writing routine that facilitates productivity, yet keeps you from burning out. If you find that writing for several days in a row is too much for you, space out your sessions more or try to shake things up by moving to a new writing space. If you can't keep up with your goals, it's okay to reduce them a little.
Yes, writing a lot is important, but it's not more important than your mental health! Remember that writing a book is a marathon, not a sprint, and that a consistent, healthy approach is absolutely vital. Here are some tips for making the most of your writing routine.
Don't skip more than one session in a row
Life happens, and sometimes you won't be able to make a planned writing session. However, unless it's a serious emergency, you should try to get back in the saddle for your next session. Otherwise, you'll lose too much progress and feel discouraged, which typically leads to skipping even more writing sessions, and eventually giving up.
Track your progress
With our free writing app, the Reedsy Book Editor , you'll see the numbers update automatically depending on your activity: you'll see how many words you added and deleted on any given day. Depending on the overall goal you set for your manuscript, you'll also see your daily targets adjust depending on how much you've written so far.
Use a site blocker to stay focused
Distraction is the enemy of routine, and the biggest distraction in our modern world is the Internet. To that end, download a site-and-app blocker to use during your writing sessions so you won't be enticed by social media or adorable cat memes. We'd recommend Freedom , as you can schedule block sessions in advance and even keep track of your productivity within the app.
How to Build a Solid Writing Routine
In 10 days, learn to change your habits to support your writing.
Another major component of how to write a book is where you write, hence why it gets a separate section. If you want to complete an entire book, you absolutely must find a calm, focused space for your writing.
This may be in your house, a coffee shop, a library, a co-working space — wherever you can work productively and without interruptions. It should also be a place that you can access easily and go often. Working from home is the most convenient option in this sense, but it may be difficult if you have family around, or if you don't have a designated “room of one's own” (i.e. an actual office, or at least a desk).
What does a good writing space look like?
Try out different locations to see what works for you. Indeed, you may find that you like to rotate writing spaces because it keeps you energetic and your writing fresh! But wherever you go, do your best to make the space:
- Quiet (noise-canceling headphones can be very helpful)
- Clean (no clutter, especially if you do chores to procrastinate)
- Non-distracting (nothing too fun around to tempt you away from writing; turn off your phone so other people won't bother you)
- Your own (cultivate a nice atmosphere in your home office with posters and plants, or simply take the same seat at your local café every time — truly carve out a “dedicated writing space”)
We've already talked about a few different pieces of software to help you with writing a book. But if you haven't found the right app or program yet, never fear — there's plenty more where those came from!
Book writing software is a topic we've actually written an entire post about , but it's worth touching on a few of our favorite writing tools here:
Scrivener is the downloadable writing software of choice for many writers, and for good reason: it has an exceptional interface and tons of useful features. You can outline chapters with its drag-and-drop system, create labels for elements you want to track, and use various templates to plan AND format your book. If you want to feel like a true professional, you can't go wrong with Scrivener — and it's even free to try for 30 days.
Or if you're not much for outlines because your thoughts are all over the place, Milanote can help. The super-flexible interface allows you to “mind map” just as you would longhand, and rearrange different sections as you please. When writing, you can see all your notes at once, so you don't have to stress about forgetting things. It's a very refreshing, intuitive way approach that's worth a try for all disorganized authors.
Speaking of intuitive, what's more intuitive than simply writing on a piece of paper, no distractions — just like the old days? Meet FocusWriter, which allows you to do exactly that. The full-screen default interface is a sheet of paper on a wooden desk: no bells, no whistles, no distractions whatsoever. Seriously, this one will get you in the zone.
The Reedsy Book Editor 📖
We couldn't leave out one of the coolest word processing, editing, and formatting tools on the market! All jokes aside, the RBE lets you cleanly format your book as you go, so you can watch it take shape in real-time. You can also add sections for front matter and back matter and invite collaborators to edit your text. Plus you can toggle on goal reminders to make sure that you're on track with your writing schedule. Once you finish writing, you can export the files of your book. But don't take our word for it: you can try the RBE for free right here .
Reedsy's #1 Writing Software
We designed a writing app for authors and it’s free to use. Sign up now and start writing your book.
Learn how Reedsy can help you craft a beautiful book.
Getting into the groove of writing a book can be difficult. When there are a million different things to distract and discourage you, how can you keep going with your writing routine and finish your book?
Based on ours and other writers' experience, here are a few motivational strategies for you to try:
- Make a list of reasons why you want to write a book. Having a tangible reminder of your true purpose is one of the best ways to motivate yourself, so think hard: Do you want to send an important message? Reach a certain group of people? Or do you simply yearn to tell this particular story? Write down all your reasons and keep them as an ace in the hole for when your motivation dwindles.
- Find someone else to write with you. Getting a writing buddy is another great way to stay motivated! For one thing, you get some camaraderie during this process; for another, it means you can't slack off too much. So ask your writer friends if they'd like to meet up regularly, or join an online writing community . With the latter, just make sure you exchange progress updates and proof that you're actually writing!
- Reward yourself at important milestones. Sometimes the best motivation is the prospect of treating yourself. If you respond well to this kind of motivation, set a goal, a deadline, and a reward for meeting it: “If I can write 10,000 more words by the end of the month, I'll go out for an amazing, fancy dinner with all my friends.” This kind of goal is also helpful because you can tell your friends about it, and that very act will hold you accountable.
For even more advice on how to staying motivated through the writing process, check out this Reedsy Live from author and writing coach Kevin Johns!
Don't give up
Remember how we said you'd inevitably get stuck? Well, that's what this step is all about: what to do when you hit a wall. Whether it's a tricky plot hole, an onslaught of insecurity, or a simple lack of desire to write, all writers experience setbacks from time to time.
There are countless ways to overcome writer's block , from freewriting to working on your characters to taking a shower (yes, that's a legitimate tip!). However, here are some of the most effective techniques we've found:
- Revisit your outline. This will jog your memory as to planned story elements you've forgotten — which may help you find the missing piece.
- Try writing exercises. It's possible you just need to get the words flowing, and then you can jump get right back into your book. Luckily for you, we have a whole host of great writing exercises right here!
- Share your experience with friends. This is another great role for your writing buddy to fill, but you can easily talk about writer's block with your non-writing friends, too. If you're struggling, it always helps to vent and bounce ideas off other people.
- Take a short break to do something else. Yes, sometimes you need to step away from the keyboard and clear your head. But don't take more than a day or so, or else you'll lose momentum and motivation.
Most of all, remember to take setbacks in stride and not let them get you down. As platitudinous as that might sound, it's true: the only thing that can stop you from writing a book is if you, well, stop writing . So keep calm and carry on — every day brings new opportunities and you'll get through this.
Your aim at this point is not to emerge with an instant masterpiece. The quality almost always emerges in the edit.
You can write all day, all night, to your heart's content... but if no one else likes what you've written, you might end up heart broken instead. That's why it's crucial to request feedback on your book, starting early and from as many sources as possible.
Begin by asking your friends and fellow writers to read just a few chapters at a time. However, apply their suggestions not only to those chapters, but wherever relevant. For example, if one of your friends says, “[Character A] is acting weird in this scene,” pay extra attention to that character to ensure you haven't misrepresented them anywhere else.
Once your book is finished, you're ready for some more intensive feedback. Consider getting a beta reader to review your entire book and provide their thoughts. You may want to hire an editor to give you professional feedback as well. (Find out about the different types of editing, and which type your book might need, in this post .)
Finally, it might sound obvious, but we'll say it anyway for all you stubborn writers out there: feedback is useless if you don't actually listen to it. Separate yourself from your ego and don't take anything personally, because no one wants to offend you — they're just trying to help.
You’ve persevered to the end at last: brainstormed, outlined, and written a first draft that you've edited extensively (based on feedback, of course). Your book has taken its final form, and you couldn’t be prouder. So what comes next?
Well, if you’ve taken our advice about catering to your target readers, you may as well give publishing a shot! We have a full guide to publishing right here — and if you’re thinking about traditional publishing, read this article to decide which is right for you.
Get help from publishing professionals
Publishing is another rigorous process, of course. But if you’ve come this far to find out how to write a book, you can pretty much do anything! Invest in stellar cover design , study up on marketing , or start writing an irresistible query letter that will get you an offer.
Whichever route you take, one thing will remain true: you’ve written a book, and that’s an incredible achievement. Welcome to the 0.1% — and may the next book you write be even greater than the first. 📖
13/12/2019 – 15:33
thank you for helping me find a new way to write my book
Comments are currently closed.
Recommended posts from the Reedsy Blog
Title Capitalization Rules: Learn Which Words To Capitalize
Whether you're using a style guide like AP, APA, MLA, or Chicago, or just want to make sure you're capitalizing your titles properly, this post explains all the rules so you know which words to capitalize or not.
Lay vs. Lie: A Definitive Explanation
To lay or to lie? Learn when to use each verb, and how to distinguish between them.
Grammarly Review: A Writer's Best Friend?
Can Grammarly really help authors? Find out in this in-depth review of the popular proofreading tool.
Campfire Write Review: Everything You Need to Know
For writers doing a lot of worldbuilding and outlining, especially in fantasy or sci-fi, Campfire Write is a handy, if not potentially expensive, writing software.
Hyphen vs Dash: How to Pick the Right One
Not sure when to use a hyphen or a dash? Check out this post to learn some quick rules!
What is Blackout Poetry? The Ultimate Guide to Erasure Verse
Wondering what blackout poetry is? Learn its history and how to make your own erasure poem in this post.
Join a community of over 1 million authors
Reedsy is more than just a blog. Become a member today to discover how we can help you publish a beautiful book.
1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy, come meet them.
Enter your email or get started with a social account:
Bring your stories to life
Our free writing app lets you set writing goals and track your progress, so you can finally write that book!
Enter the characters you see below
Sorry, we just need to make sure you're not a robot. For best results, please make sure your browser is accepting cookies.
Type the characters you see in this image:
10 Best Books on Writing Skills You Must-Read to Level Up
If you want to develop your writing skills, you need to learn from the best. Here are 10 writing books you can use to improve your skills fast.
Co-founder & Chief Editor, Best Writing
If you asked me what’s the best way to become a better writer , I’d say three things:
Read, write, and read about writing— in that order .
The idea that reading books on writing will help you become better at the task seems a bit strange at first. But after you start writing every day—professionally, that is—you will see that you will face some hard problems that will haunt you every time you sit down to write.
The simplest way to overcome these issues and adopt a philosophy of writing that will make you a more professional, resilient, and wiser writer is to read the books about writing that masters of the craft have published.
Learn from the best, and guess what? You will become the best writer you can be.
I love reading about writing because that's how I've become a pretty good writer over time, despite the fact English isn't my native tongue.
Because I've been blessed with the wisdom of so many great writers who have come before me, I want to share my favorite ten books on writing so you can benefit as much as I have.
Let’s get started.
10 Writing Books Every Writer Should Read
Author : Stephen King
A writing book from the world’s leading horror writer that will help you understand what it takes to write consistently, find your muse, and master your writing toolbox.
Let me start by saying I’ve never read a book from Stephen King.
If there was ever a bad Stephen King fan, it’s me.
Yet, when confronted with the idea of listening to his audiobook (narrated by the author himself), I decided to buy it and see what this bestselling author has to say about the craft. I don’t really know why I bought it; it just caught my eye.
To my delight, listening to this book was incredibly pleasurable; Mr. King did a terrific job of sharing his philosophy of writing and his attitude towards it.
More importantly, his rather geeky voice conveyed the important parts of the book; the ones that he clearly cared about.
One of the most important writing lessons I took was the whole idea of finding the muse (see the quote below).
King also talks about grammar, sentence structure, adverbs (hint: he hates them ), dialogues and conversations, draft development, and the craft of writing.
I wasn’t expecting to learn as much as I did from his book. If you’ve read some of my articles on this site, you will have surely seen I quote him every two articles. On Writing is that good.
On Writing has been a highly influential book for me, and it’s one any writer — regardless of whether you’re a fan of his or not — will benefit from reading.
👉 Buy On Writing
Best Quotes from On Writing
Where Good Ideas Come From
Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.
How to Wake Up the Muse
There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter or computer station. He lives in the ground. He’s a basement guy. You have to descend to his level, and once you get down there you have to furnish an apartment for him to live in. You have to do all the grunt labor, in other words, while the muse sits and smokes cigars and admires his bowling trophies and pretends to ignore you. Do you think this is fair? I think it’s fair. He may not be much to look at, that muse-guy, and he may not be much of a conversationalist (what I get out of mine is mostly surly grunts, unless he’s on duty), but he’s got the inspiration. It’s right that you should do all the work and burn all the midnight oil, because the guy with the cigar and the little wings has got a bag of magic. There’s stuff in there that can change your life.
What to Write About
Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want. Anything at all…as long as you tell the truth.
Perfect For : Any type of writer—fiction or nonfiction—who’s struggling to find their muse, who wants to know what it feels like to be a writer, and who wants to master the writing skills to become better at their craft.
The Elements of Style
Authors : William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
A classic book on grammar, style, and punctuation. If you feel like you need to improve any of those three aspects of your writing, then this book is a great start.
When I was first getting started writing as a professional content writer, I remember other writers wouldn’t stop mentioning The Elements of Style .
“ What is all the fuzz about? ” I thought to myself.
So I picked a copy. With 85 pages, it’s a short read.
But don’t let the size fool you. Concise as it is, you will learn so much from this book that you’d feel like a different writer after you read it.
Originally written by William Strunk Jr. in 1918 (yes, over one hundred years ago!), and edited in 1959 by E.B. White, this book is as useful today as it was back in the analog days of writing.
The book starts with “The Elementary Rules of Usage,” where the authors explain some of the basic concepts of grammar and style like:
- Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause (chapter #4)
- Do not join independent clauses with a comma (chapter #5)
- Use a dash to set up an abrupt break or interruption and to announce a long appositive or summary (chapter #8)
If you read often and like to analyze what you read—that is, if you’re a nerd like me—then these rules are pretty basic.
The second section, “Elementary Principles of Composition,” talks about more complex and advanced rules of composition, such as:
- Use the active voice (chapter #14)
- Omit needless words (chapter #17)
- Keep related words together (chapter #20)
These rules continue to be pretty basic, but since they relate to the style of composition, they affect the way you write with more power than the previous grammar rules from the first section.
Coming from an era where writing wasn’t as simple as opening a laptop and writing anything you like knowing that you can erase what you write in one swoop, the authors emphasize the importance of clarity.
The following two sections—“A Few Matters of Form” and “Words and Expressions Commonly Misused”—focus on specific parts of the writing toolbox.
In the first section of the two mentioned, the authors talk about how to use parentheses, hyphens, and references—all highly technical concepts but still useful for anyone who wants to know the “standard” way of using those elements of writing.
In the second of the two, one of the largest of the book, the authors take a dictionary-like approach, talking about common homophones, homographs, and other commonly misused expressions. This section is meant to be used mostly as a reference point than as a tool for learning.
The final section, “An Approach to Style (with A List of Reminders)” minds itself on different writing style recommendations. I’ve found this section to be the most useful as it focuses on the actual elements of style.
The advice, while basic and obvious as it may look, is incredibly refreshing. Some of these “reminders” they mention include:
- Do not overwrite
- Avoid fancy words
In a world where people often avoid studying grammar and style, this last section is the fastest and easiest way to improve both elements at the same time.
Most books about writing, like “On Writing Well” and which is mentioned next, are the children of The Elements of Style; an extension, if you will.
Named by Time as one of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923, there’s hardly any better book to start working on your writing skills than with The Elements of Style. Do yourself — and your readers — a favor, and pick a copy.
👉 Buy The Elements of Style
Best Quotes from The Elements of Style
Imitate Other Writers
The use of language begins with imitation. […] Never imitate consciously, but do not worry about being an imitator; take pains instead of admiring what is good. Then when you write in a way that comes naturally, you will echo the halloos that bear repeating.
Do Not Overwrite
Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest, generally unwholesome, and sometimes nauseating. When writing with a computer, you must guard against wordiness. The click and flow of a word processor can be seductive, and you may find yourself adding a few unnecessary words or even a whole passage just to experience the pleasure of running your fingers over the keyboard and watching your words appear on the screen. It is always a good idea to reread your writing later and ruthlessly delete the excess.
Avoid Fancy Words
Avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, the coy, and the cute. Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar word when there is a ten-center handy, ready and able.
Perfect For : Anyone who wants to improve his or her writing without having to take a course or read a complex book on the subject.
On Writing Well
Author : William Zinsser
Another classic for writers who want to learn what it means to be a professional writer, how to find one’s style, and how to write with it.
After The Elements of Style, I often saw writers recommend On Writing Well as their favorite book on writing.
Puzzled as I was to see why it was recommended so much, I bought it and read it. Soon afterward, I realized why it is so famous.
If I had to summarize this book in a sentence, I’d say it’s a book that teaches you the best ways to find your writing style, develop it, and then polish it.
I think the reason why this book has been a classic for writers, just like The Elements of Style, is that the author doesn’t get too philosophical or cutesy in his concepts, neither he gets too technical. In a way, it provides the right balance between The Elements of Style and Bird by Bird (see next), which is what I like about it.
The book is separated into four sections:
- Principles : Where the author explains seven basic concepts for any writer to grasp, including avoiding clutter and understanding style
- Methods : Where the author explains three key writing methods, including how to start and end a piece
- Forms : Where the author explains nine ways to structure different writing forms, including nonfiction, biographies, and sports
- Attitudes : Where the author explains six different concepts around the psychology of writing
On Writing Well feels like a book a coach or a friendly writing professor would write. The author, William Zinsser, goes over each of the 25 chapters as if he was giving you personal advice.
Reading the book feels like you're being mentored by a wise, highly experienced writer. And you'll be a much better writer thanks to it.
👉 Buy On Writing Well
Best Quotes from On Writing Well
What a Writer Really Writes About
Ultimately the product that any writer has to sell is not the subject being written about, but who he or she is.
There is no style store; style is organic to the person doing the writing, as much a part of him as his hair, or, if he is bald, his lack of it. Trying to add style is like adding a toupee.This is the problem of writers who set out deliberately to garnish their prose. You lose whatever it is that makes you unique. The reader will notice if you are putting on airs. Readers want the person who is talking to them to sound genuine. Therefore a fundamental rule is: be yourself.
How to Engage an Audience
First, work hard to master the tools. Simplify, prune and strive for order. Think of this as a mechanical act, and soon your sentences will become cleaner. The act will never become as mechanical as, say, shaving or shampooing; you will always have to think about the various ways in which the tools can be used. But at least your sentences will be grounded in solid principles, and your chances of losing the reader will be smaller.Think of the other as a creative act: the expressing of who you are. Relax and say what you want to say.Never say anything in writing that you wouldn’t comfortably say in conversation. If you’re not a person who says “indeed” or “moreover,” or who calls someone an individual (“he’s a fine individual”), please don’t write it.
Perfect For : Writers who want to learn the philosophy of writing, who want to discover their own style, and who want to improve its output quality.
Bird by Bird
Author : Anne Lamott
The most touching, poetic, and psychological book I’ve ever read about writing.
All the writing books mentioned in this list are incredible on their own right. Written by expert writers, they go over the many details of writing — grammar, style, storytelling — but any one of them takes the road on which Bird by Bird chooses to stroll.
I’ll be the first one to tell you I hate clichés, poetic phraseology for the sake of poetry, and silly sensitivity (think most self-help books). Bird by Bird doesn’t fall for any of these traps, yet it manages to be poetic and sensitive without being too fragile for confronting the reality of writing.
The first part of the book lays around the life of Anne Lamott, a relatively popular fiction writer, who happens to have had a quite interesting life.
Before reading Bird by Bird , I didn't know who she was. But just like On Writing (the first book mentioned in here), the author manages to share enough of her life to enlighten the story and thesis of the book.
In the later stages of the book, Ms. Lamott lays her philosophy of writing. Why should you care to read the philosophy of this particular writer, you may ask? Because it’s crafted with the detail and poetry of a fiction book without losing its essence.
The author explains what it takes to be a writer, what it means to be one, and how you can develop a narrative for a fiction book or story.
It’s hard to explain what it makes this book so pleasurable to read (I actually heard it as an audiobook, another great experience which the author herself reads), but it’s still a wonderful experience that will help you understand how you can overcome your own fears, doubts, and pains of writing.
Meant mostly for fiction writers, the author spends some time explaining the different aspects of developing a plot, a story, and the characters of one.
Even though I don’t read fiction and I don’t plan to write fiction anytime soon, it’s still a must-read for any professional content writer.
Whether you want to write fiction or nonfiction, Bird by Bird provides a beautiful reading experience that will teach you what it takes to be a writer and how to find your demons.
👉 Buy Bird by Bird
Best Quotes from Bird by Bird
Shitty First Drafts
Now, practically even better news than that of short assignments is the idea of shitty first drafts. All good writers write them. This is how they end up with good second drafts and terrific third drafts.Very few writers really know what they are doing until they’ve done it. Nor do they go about their business feeling dewy and thrilled.The only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.
Writing is about learning to pay attention and to communicate what is going on.Writing involves seeing people suffer and, as Robert Stone once put it, finding some meaning therein.
Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”Writing can be a pretty desperate endeavor, because it is about some of our deepest needs: our need to be visible, to be heard, our need to make sense of our lives, to wake up and grow and belong.Say to yourself in the kindest possible way, Look, honey, all we’re going to do for now is to write a description of the river at sunrise, or the young child swimming in the pool at the club, or the first time the man sees the woman he will marry. That is all we are going to do for now. We are just going to take this bird by bird. But we are going to finish this one short assignment.
Perfect For : Writers who suffer from impostor’s syndrome, who fear the blank page, or who fight to develop a first draft.
Author : Roy Peter Clark
A summary of writing tools that any writer needs to master.
I like to think of writing as art made up of hundreds upon hundreds of techniques all intertwined together. You can’t use one without—directly or indirectly—using another one.
What’s more, there’s a blurry line between actual grammar rules with stylistic concepts that make a given era. For example, the whole idea of writing colloquially is a relatively new concept, yet there are no hard rules that tell you to use that manner of writing. You write colloquially because that's what you are used to.
Mastering the art of wordsmithing is hard. You can’t really study it; you only need to practice it and let it mature. But if you don’t know what actual writing techniques you can use, then the entire process gets messy. A catch-22, indeed.
Writing Tools is the first book I’ve ever read that tackles this dilemma. Roy Peter Clark, a writer and famous writing coach, dissects 50 of the most common writing tools and explains them clearly for anyone to understand and use.
The author doesn’t analyze each tool abstractly; rather, he goes back and forth between the theory and the application of it. Such a structure makes it not only easy to read and highly engaging but also much easier to understand.
Books on writing often get too technical and dull for the common reader. Clark, instead, takes a more practical approach that I enjoyed throughout the book.
Some of the tools he analyzes include:
- Adverbs usage
- Inflection usage
- Word and sentence pace
- Dialogue usage
Whether you use the writing tools he shared in his book, the fact you're aware of their existence will help you craft better content.
Ever since I read Writing Tools, it became a favorite of mine—in my opinion, the best book Clark has ever written.
👉 Buy Writing Tools
Best Quotes from Writing Tools
Let Punctuation Control Pace and Space
Most punctuation is required, but some is optional, leaving the writer with many choices. My modest goal is to highlight those choices, to transform the formal rules of punctuation into useful tools.If a period is a stop sign, then what kind of traffic flow is created by other marks? The comma is a speed bump; the semicolon is what a driver education teacher calls a “rolling stop”; the parenthetical expression is a detour; the colon is a flashing yellow light that announces something important up ahead; the dash is a tree branch in the road.
Cut Big, Then Small
When writers fall in love with their words, it is a good feeling that can lead to a bad effect. When we fall in love with all our quotes, characters, anecdotes, and metaphors, we cannot bear to kill any of them. But kill we must. In 1914 British author Arthur Quiller-Couch wrote it bluntly: “Murder your darlings.”
Get the Name of the Dog
When details of character and setting appeal to the senses, they create an experience for the reader that leads to understanding. […] Inexperienced writers may choose the obvious detail, the man puffing on the cigarette, the young woman chewing on what’s left of her fingernails. Those details fail to tell — unless the man is dying of lung cancer or the woman is anorexic.At the St. Petersburg Times, editors and writing coaches warn reporters not to return to the office without “the name of the dog.” That reporting task does not require the writer to use the detail in the story, but it reminds the reporter to keep her eyes and ears opened.The good writer uses telling details, not only to inform, but to persuade.
Perfect For : Writers who know that they need to improve their writing but can’t figure out what it is that they have to improve.
The Art of X-Ray Reading
A deep analysis of the writing styles of famous writers.
I’m not a fan of fiction. It’s strange, because I love reading, and I appreciate a good story, but fiction isn’t the type of writing I enjoy. I like facts and abstractions that only a non-fiction book can provide.
Sadly, this inclination for non-fiction ends up leaving me from enjoying some of the best writers, including people as diverse as Anton Chekhov, William Burroughs, and even William Shakespeare.
Fortunately, however, Roy Peter Clark wrote The Art of X-Ray Reading to analyze the writing styles of such writers with the goal to uncover the elements that make their writing so good.
Analyzing content is always hard because you can’t measure it quantitively. The same happens with any type of art, including painting and cinema. You can measure a writer’s use of grammar and language, but only when they mess something up, not when they amaze you with their technique.
Roy Peter Clark is a master at analyzing content (it’s no coincidence he wrote Writing Tools), so he made this book a pretty good attempt at quantifying the actual techniques of 25 of the best writers of all time, including:
- Scott J. Fitzgerald (chapter #1)
- Sylvia Plath (chapter #5)
- Gabriel García Márquez (chapter #11)
- Charles Dickens (chapter #25)
The book doesn’t analyze their entire production; it doesn’t even analyze an entire book. Clark focuses on small pieces of their most famous books, uncovering specific excerpts that shine a light on their unique qualities.
I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I thought I would. Actually, I didn’t like Help for Writers! (which I don't feature in this list) or even The Glamour of Grammar (featured next) as much I liked this one.
I remember I read this book while I was in New York City, reading most of it in my long daily subway rides. The book, the thesis, and the narrative Clark developed caught me entirely. I ignored my surroundings entirely. When that happens, you know that's a sign that the book is amazing.
While it does fall short in analyzing the entire technique box of the writers—something that’d take an entire book on its own for each author—it still helps you understand with more clarity what makes a great writer achieve such masterful use of the language.
👉 Buy The Art of X-Ray Reading
Best Quotes from The Art of X-Ray Reading
Here is a big writing move: study the moves of writers you admire (and some you don’t). Without plagiarizing, look for ways to imitate that work. Be attentive to the way your own writing begins to show this influence and then moves beyond it.
Repetition vs. Redundancy
Embrace the distinction between repetition and redundancy. Use the first to establish a pattern in the work, whether of language or imagery. Redundancy is not always a bad thing. (Redundant systems on an airplane keep it in the air, even if one system breaks down.)When you repeat a word, phrase, or other element of language or narrative, make sure it is worth repeating. Make sure that each repetition advances the story in some way. Ineffective repetition slows down a narrative. Effective repetition helps it gain traction. Each reappearance of a character or repetition of a phrase can add meaning, suspense, mystery, or energy to a story.
In human experience, motivation is a cracked mirror, never providing a pure reflection. Avoid, in both fiction and nonfiction, any simple explanation for why characters make important choices.
Perfect For : Writers who have read Hemingway, Fitzgerald, or Shakespeare and think “how could I ever write like them?”
The Glamour of Grammar
A book on the beauty of grammar, without the boring technicalities of it.
Grammar is the most important element of a writer’s toolbox. If you don’t master grammar, you can’t write; it’s that simple.
Grammar explains why and how we use punctuation, word classes (i.e., nouns, adjectives, etc.), and sentence structures, among other things.
Sad as it may be, an understanding of grammar is paramount for any writer, but at the same time, it can be boring as hell. What’s more, grammar can cause a “paralysis by analysis” situation where you spend too much time thinking on how to write a sentence correctly instead of just writing it and letting your style dictate your ideas.
In “ The Glamour of Grammar ,” Roy Peter Clark makes the whole process of mastering grammar a pleasurable experience. He separates the entire grammar world into five parts:
Made up of 50 chapters, each one talking about a different aspect of grammar, Clark explains how to understand grammar in basic terms, without getting too technical or abstract.
The author clearly wanted to distribute his 50 lessons equally among the five sections, something that makes some chapters a bit redundant or boring (e.g. “Chapter #6: Take a class on how to cross-dress the parts of speech”).
The best parts, I believe, hover around the use of the different punctuation marks (section #2: Points), the use of grammar rules (section #3: Standards), and the construction of meaning within sentences (section #4: Meaning).
If you’re new to grammar, or if you want to go over some rules that you forgot, The Glamour of Grammar will be an easy introduction to the world of grammar.
👉 Buy The Glamour of Grammar
There are many other books on the subject of grammar (some of which I haven’t read and, as far as I know, are much more technical) which you should consider reading.
The Best Punctuation Book, Period , by June Casagrande, is a good book, similar to The Art of Grammar.
Some of the books that I've not read and which have great reviews include:
- Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style , by Benjamin Dreyer
- It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences: A Writer’s Guide to Crafting Killer Sentences , by June Casagrande
- The Only Grammar Book You’ll Ever Need: A One-Stop Source for Every Writing Assignment , by Susan Thruman
- Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English , by Patricia T. O’Conner
Best Quotes from The Glamour of Grammar
The Short-word Economy of English
When a story is powerful, keep the language spare. In English, spare language depends on short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs at the points of highest emotion.Try saying the most important thing using short words in short sentences.
Emphasis and Space
To build suspense, writers slow down the pace of the story. The best way to do this is with a series of short sentences. The more periods—the more full stops—the slower the reader will go.From now on think of the period as a full stop, and begin to look at the place right before the full stop as a hot spot, a point of emphasis.
The Best Sentences
The best sentences, even the most serious ones, are fun to write, coming from creative drafting and revision, not from some diagrammatic calculation.
Perfect For : Writers who want to discover the beautiful aspects of grammar and how to master it without falling for all its technicalities.
Author : Drew Eric Whitman
A psychology-driven copywriting book that will show you how you can craft copy that works.
I love reading about copywriting—actually, I like reading about the topic more than I like actually writing copy.
Copywriting never felt right for me; I like the art of writing copy and promoting it than trying to make a sale right away from my content. It’s strange, but it’s just a personal predilection.
The reason why I’m attracted to copywriting, even if it is from a theoretical perspective, is that it has something that content marketing lacks.
In the simplest terms, copywriting is the art of writing copy to sell .
To make a sale, in contrast to what most people think, the copywriter must have a deep understanding of the audience’s needs and desires. More importantly, copywriting requires a deep understanding of human psychology .
Cashvertising was one of the first copywriting books I’ve ever read, and it's still up to this day one of the books that had the most impact on my writing career.
In contrast to what most copywriting books do, which is to focus on the copywriting techniques, the words to use, and other specific aspects of the craft, this book spends more time talking about the psychology of human behavior than anything else.
In this book, Drew Eric Whitman starts with an explanation of the “ Life-Force 8 ”—the eight desires for which humans are biologically programmed—and the “ 9 secondary human wants. ”
Any successful advertising or marketing campaign works thanks to the leverage of any of these forces and wants.
Then, he moves on to explaining 17 foundational principles of human psychology, which is one of the most interesting parts of the entire book.
This section could be a book on its own, and as it stands, it’s a summary of the most famous and useful psychology principles that exist. This includes Cialdini’s six principles of influence, Kahneman’s study of heuristics, and many more psychological models.
As I said before, copywriting works because of psychology, and Whitman talks a lot about the different psychological principles that make advertising work.
Finally, the author goes through 41 copywriting techniques. While this last section is closer to the typical technique-rich copywriting book you read, it doesn't downgrade the quality of the book.
All in all, whether you’re new to copywriting or not, Cashvertising is one of the best books you can read on the subject.
👉 Buy Cashvertising
Best Quotes from Cashvertising
The Formula for Desire
So here’s the simple formula for desire, and the result it sets in motion: Tension → Desire → Action to Satisfy the Desire In short, when you appeal to people’s LF8 desires, you create a drive that motivates them to take an action that will fulfill that desire as soon as possible.
People buy from you when they believe what you are selling is of greater value than the dollars they need to exchange for it.
Crank up the Scarcity
As advertisers, we need to motivate people to take action right now. We don’t want them to wait, or think about it, or put off the decision until the “later” that never comes. You want them to whip out their credit cards and order now. And it’s not simply a matter of asking for the order—any good salesperson knows to do that. It’s a matter of getting your prospect to take action when the offer is presented to them. And you do it by creating the perception of scarcity with powerful deadlines.
Perfect For : Anyone who wants to learn the basics of copywriting without any fluff.
Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This
Author : Luke Sullivan
A book on the philosophy of advertising and copywriting.
As you may have noticed, I’m a big fan of philosophy. It’s not that I’m that good at understanding theoretical philosophy—I struggle a lot with its abstract concepts—it’s just that I like the fact philosophy teaches you how to think .
It’s great to learn techniques and tactics—whether that's on writing, advertising, marketing, or any other interesting topic—but if you don’t know how to use them, if you don’t know they fit within the larger strategy, then it’s pointless to use them.
I want to be able to think like an advertiser so I don’t have to rely on other people’s techniques but to create my own. That’s how you truly succeed at anything—and advertising is no exception.
Luke Sullivan, the author of “Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This,” takes a philosophical approach to advertising, going over the way it has historically worked, why people hate it, and how you can learn to master the skills to become a successful advertiser.
Unlike Cashvertising or other copywriting books that eventually get down onto the details of advertising techniques, Sullivan talks about broader aspects of the subject.
The book is filled with golden nuggets that will help you get a deeper understanding of how advertising and marketing works. From copywriting to TV ads, the author talks about what it takes to create something that people want to consume — that is, your ads.
“Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This” is an interesting, smart, and rich book that will help you understand more about the art of advertising.
👉 Buy Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This
Best Quotes from Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This
The truth isn’t the truth until people believe you, and they can’t believe you if they don’t know what you’re saying, and they can’t know what you’re saying if they don’t listen to you, and they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.
What’s a Brand
A brand isn’t just the name on the box. It isn’t the thing in the box, either. A brand is the sum total of all the emotions, thoughts, images, history, possibilities, and gossip that exist in the marketplace about a certain company.
The Three Types of Copywriter You Can Be
Steve Hayden, most famous for penning Apple’s “1984” commercial, said: “If you want to be a well-paid copywriter, please your client. If you want to be an award-winning copywriter, please yourself. If you want to be a great copywriter, please your reader.”
Perfect For : Copywriters who’re getting started or anyone who wants to learn how to write great copy.
Trust Me, I’m Lying
Author : Ryan Holiday
A book on the dark art of PR and media manipulation in the current world of blogging and fake news.
When you see big media publications, you are likely to think of them as professional, forward-looking companies with high standards and ethics.
It turns out it’s all a lie. Media companies are desperate for attention; they make money with ads, which means they need as many eyeballs as possible. That leaves space for a man like Ryan Holiday, who he calls himself a “media manipulator.”
Holiday’s job is to get press for his clients. He doesn’t have a big team behind him or a lot of fame around him either. He simply knows how to leverage the loopholes the media business model has and get a lot of press without much effort.
Throughout the book, the author presents a dark overview of the media landscape. With analytical precision and a bit of philosophical pondering (I couldn’t like this book as much if it wasn’t a bit philosophical), Holiday explains that the media world isn’t made for the reader, but for the media company to profit .
That fact wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t that media companies can easily manipulate people’s perception of reality, something that has eventually landed us in a world of “fake news” and “post-truth.”
Any content marketer who wants to understand how the press really works and how to use the weaknesses of the media model to his advantage should read this book, a complete eye-opener that will change your perception of your profession.
👉 Buy Trust Me, I'm Lying
Best Quotes from Trust Me, I’m Lying
The Blog Con
Blogs are not intended to be profitable and independent businesses. The tools they use to build traffic and revenue are part of a larger play.
The Manipulator’s Job
Bloggers eager to build names and publishers eager to sell their blogs are like two crooked businessmen colluding to create interest in a bogus investment opportunity—building up buzz and clearing town before anyone gets wise. In this world, where the rules and ethics are lax, a third player can exert massive influence. Enter: the media manipulator.The assumptions of blogging and their owners present obvious vulnerabilities that people like me exploit. They allow us to control what is in the media, because the media is too busy chasing profits to bother trying to stop us. They are not motivated to care. Their loyalty is not to their audience but to themselves and their con.
The Problem with Journalism
The problem of journalism, says Edward Jay Epstein in his book Between Fact and Fiction, is simple. Journalists are rarely in a position to establish the truth of an issue themselves, since they didn’t witness it personally. They are “entirely dependent on self-interested ‘sources’” to supply their facts. Every part of the news-making process is defined by this relationship; everything is colored by this reality.Who are these self-interested sources? Well, anyone selling a product, a message, or an agenda. People like me.
Perfect For : Anyone who wants to learn how the world of blogging works and how you can hack it to your advantage.
Time to Start Reading These Writing Books
So here you have it, the best ten books on writing.
Take the time to read them carefully, sipping each lesson slowly, because these lessons will take months or years to take root. But once they do, they will transform your writing in ways you would never imagine.
Best Writing Newsletter ✍️
Writing tips and examples, best reads, cool tools, jobs, and friendly encouragement to do your best writing. Sent weekly, on Thursdays.
Sent weekly, on Thursdays. Costs $0. Unsubscribe anytime. · Let me see it first
10 Best Books for Learning English Writing
Learning English writing is a complex process that takes time and practice. There are many ways to learn English writing, and each person has their own way of doing things. The important thing is that you find a way that works for you and stick with it. If you follow these books, you will be able to improve your English writing skills in no time.
Table of Contents
10 Best Books for Learning English Writing:
If you want to learn English writing quickly and easily, these ten books are a great option. Each book covers a different aspect of the skill and will help you improve your written English.
1. The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing
2. great writing foundations student’s book, 3. writing better english for esl learners.
Write in English like a native speaker! Taking a developmental approach to improving writing skills, Writing Better English helps you increase your levels of proficiency in both grammar and vocabulary. Before tackling sentence structures, the book helps you reinforce those grammar elements you may have trouble with, like verb tenses and pronouns. You’ll then expand your written communication abilities through comprehensive explanations, skill-building exercises, and practical writing activities.
4. Writing Sentences – Structured Tasks for English Practice
5. better english writing – improve your writing power, 6. writing learn to write better academic essays, 7. how to write effective business english, 8. a practical guide to business writing – writing in english for non-native speakers, 9. so you think you can write – the definitive guide to successful online writing, 10. creative writing – how to unlock your imagination, develop your writing skills – and get published..
In conclusion, these are the 10 best books for learning English writing. These books will give you the skills and knowledge you need to write in a proficient manner. If you are looking to improve your English writing skills, then these books are a great way to start.
Have fun learning English Writing!
You may also like
Essential checklist to perform on your content, basic english sentence structure – writing..., 7 practical tips to improve your english writing, 20 useful structures help you write better essays.
Free English Writing Lessons
Improve english writing – video.
Learn how to improve your English writing in this video lesson. You’ll see how you can make your written English clearer, easier to read and more effective.
Try Your First Online Class With A Teacher
Book your first Oxford Online English lesson for just 5.99 USD
Formal and Informal English – Video
Learn how to use formal and informal English in spoken or written English. You can learn the differences between formal and informal English in this lesson.
More English Writing Lessons
Using colons and semicolons – video.
See Full Lesson
IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 – Video
Ielts writing task 2 analysis – video, how to write a band 9 ielts essay – video, ielts writing band 7 – video, improve your ielts writing grammar score – video, fce (b2 first) writing exam – write a review – video, how to write emails in english – video, how to make complex sentences – video.
- Facebook 35
- Odnoklassniki 0
- VKontakte 0
- Pinterest 1
- LinkedIn 18
Write & improve.
Improve your English writing online
Want to improve your writing skills? Our free online tool helps you to practise your writing and get valuable feedback instantly. Write & Improve is simple to use: just choose a task, write or upload a written response and use the feedback to quickly improve.
It shows you how to improve your spelling, grammar and vocabulary. Join over 2 million learners of English who have used Write & Improve to improve their writing.
Start practising now
Improve your writing now – it's free!
- There is no limit on how many times you can use the tool – keep practising as much as you need to and build your confidence.
- Encourages you to think about what to improve.
- Keep improving and see your progress.
When I was preparing for my B2 First exam I practised really hard and I succeeded, so I'm in love with this tool that I still use almost every day. Aaron from Ecuador
With Write & Improve my grades get better and I am inspired to do more. It is really graphical and easy to use, highlighting your mistakes in a very visual way. Victoria from Uruguay
Write & Improve helps when practising writing particular types of documents. I've been able to see my progress and how my learning has changed. Jorge from Switzerland
10 books to help you polish your english & writing skills.
Whether you’re learning English as an additional language or you’re aiming to hone your writing skills, there are countless books out there that promise to help you ameliorate your skills. Some of those books are fabulous, while others are practically useless. Let’s take a look at some of the best books to help you improve your English, whether you’re an ESL student or an aspiring novelist.
Beginner’s English (suitable for ESL students)
Words are Categorical series , by Brian P. Cleary
I absolutely love these books for children and ESL adults alike, as they clarify parts of speech in a way that’s hilarious and endearing. With titles such as Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is an Adjective? and Thumbtacks, Earwax, Lipstick, Dipstick: What Is a Compound Word? , you know you’re in for a fun time. Although the link above will take you to a boxed set, the books are also available individually.
MacMillan English School Books
These are essential for anyone who’s learning English as a second language (ESL). English is an extremely complicated language, and unless you’ve grown up speaking, reading, and writing it, there are subtle nuances that take a long time to pick up. These books cover a wide range of skill levels, and can help you polish up both your writing and conversational skills.
General/Intermediate English (high school/early college level)
Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation , by Lynne Truss
This book is a brilliant reference for writers of all ages, but I tend to recommend it to high school and college students because it’s funny, clever, and explains punctuation in a memorable way. Remember that good punctuation is vital, as it’s the key to either knowing your shit, or knowing you’re shit.
The Big Book of Words You Should Know , by David Olsen, Michelle Bevilacqua, and Justin Cord Hayes
If you’d like to expand your vocabulary, this is the book for you. By learning words like “halcyon” and “sagagious” (which you may come across in books or wish to add into your own writing) as well as “schlimazel” and “thaumaturgy” (ask your English teacher to define those on the spot!), your fluency with this magnificent language will explode in the most brilliant way imaginable.
The Mother Tongue – English, and How It Got That Way , by Bill Bryson
Everything this author writes is pure genius, and The Mother Tongue is no exception. Bryson weaves a fascinating tale about the origins of the English language, and peppers it with solid insight about the utter weirdness that abounds in the language.
The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers , by John Gardner
A vital resource for anyone who intends to write fiction, this book will help you craft a refined sentence, develop characters that readers don’t want to disembowel, and avoid trite cliches. Gardner’s a tough teacher, but if you can put your own delicate ego aside, you can learn a lot from this book.
The Elements of Style , by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
This is probably one of the best go-to books for composition and style. If you only want a few reference books in your library that deal with English grammar and writing, let this be one of them.
The Gregg Reference Manual , by William Sabin
Probably the most comprehensive guide for style, grammar, usage, and formatting, it’s as beneficial to students as it is for those in business. It really does contain everything you need to know about composing documents, essays, and letters, with tips on how to address various people (senators, bishops, military personnel), and much more.
Advanced English (college grads, professional writers)
The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier , by Bonnie Trenga
Even those who have a fair bit of writing experience can mess up when it comes to modifiers , and this fun little volume prods your brain-meat to remind you of proper word placement when constructing sentences.
The Chicago Manual of Style
This book is probably the most invaluable reference for anyone who writes for a North American audience. Whether you’re addressing a letter to a foreign dignitary, citing a study when creating an academic paper, or proofreading another person’s work, this book will guide you through all the writing rules you could ever need.
As a side recommendation, I find the Oxford Style Manual t o be of great help when working for clients in the UK, as there are certain differences in writing standards on either side of the pond, and having a strong grasp of both can only be of benefit to any writer.
There are many other resources that may be of benefit to writers of all skill levels, but the books on this list are some of the best and most well-rounded. They’ll provide a great foundation to one’s writing practice, and although doing so may seem counterintuitive, writers may be surprised at what can be gleaned by revisiting some of the basics, or delving into manuals that may seem more advanced than what they’re accustomed to.
How to Work Remotely (Your Complete Guide)
How to Become a Productivity Ninja by Graham Allcott
How to Make Time Work For You — The Time Mastery Framework
The Impact of Procrastination on Productivity
The Forgotten Emotional Aspects of Productivity
How to Calm Your Mind For Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey
8 Misconceptions of Time That Make You Less Productive
Are You Spending Your Time on What Is Time-Worthy?
Distractions: Understanding the Biggest Productivity Killer
How to Deal With Work Stress in a Healthy Way
How to Leverage Time to Make More Time
How Sleep Meditation Can Calm Your Nighttime Anxiety
30 Meaningful Non-Toy Gifts for Kids This Christmas
The Power of Leverage in Leading the Life You Want
6 practical ways to boost your mental fitness.
Lifehack Show , Productivity
Focus , Lifehack Show
Explore the Full Life Framework
How to Live a Full Life (Without Compromising on What Truly Matters)
Achieving Goals: The Ultimate Guide to Goal Achieving & Goal Setting in 2022
What Is Motivation And How To Get Motivated (Your Ultimate Guide)
How to Increase Mental Focus and Stay Sharp
How To Learn Faster And Smarter
How To Get Fit If You Have a Busy Schedule
How To Boost Energy And Peak Performance
- Reading Challenge
- Kindle Notes & Highlights
- Favorite genres
- Friends’ recommendations
- Account settings
English Writing Books
Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.
- EXPLORE Coupons Tech Help Pro Random Article About Us Quizzes Contribute Train Your Brain Game Improve Your English Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
- HELP US Support wikiHow Community Dashboard Write an Article Request a New Article More Ideas...
- EDIT Edit this Article
- PRO Courses New Tech Help Pro New Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Coupons Quizzes Upgrade Sign In
- Browse Articles
- Quizzes New
- Train Your Brain New
- Improve Your English New
- Support wikiHow
- About wikiHow
- Easy Ways to Help
- Approve Questions
- Fix Spelling
- More Things to Try...
- H&M Coupons
- Hotwire Promo Codes
- StubHub Discount Codes
- Ashley Furniture Coupons
- Blue Nile Promo Codes
- NordVPN Coupons
- Samsung Promo Codes
- Chewy Promo Codes
- Ulta Coupons
- Vistaprint Promo Codes
- Shutterfly Promo Codes
- DoorDash Promo Codes
- Office Depot Coupons
- adidas Promo Codes
- Home Depot Coupons
- DSW Coupons
- Bed Bath and Beyond Coupons
- Lowe's Coupons
- Surfshark Coupons
- Nordstrom Coupons
- Walmart Promo Codes
- Dick's Sporting Goods Coupons
- Fanatics Coupons
- Edible Arrangements Coupons
- eBay Coupons
- Log in / Sign up
- Education and Communications
- Fiction Writing
- Writing Novels
How to Write a Book
Last Updated: February 28, 2023 References Approved
This article was co-authored by Grant Faulkner, MA and by wikiHow staff writer, Christopher M. Osborne, PhD . Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and the co-founder of 100 Word Story, a literary magazine. Grant has published two books on writing and has been published in The New York Times and Writer’s Digest. He co-hosts Write-minded, a weekly podcast on writing and publishing, and has a M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 118 testimonials and 100% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 2,664,268 times.
Anyone with a story to tell can write a book, either for their own enjoyment or to publish for all to see. Getting started is often the hardest part, so set up a good workspace, create a regular writing schedule, and stay motivated to keep writing something every day. Focus on developing a “big idea” that drives your narrative, as well as at least one unforgettable character and realistic conflicts. Once you’ve written and revised your manuscript, consider your publishing options to get it into readers’ hands.
Staying Focused and Productive
- Writing a book is both a vocation and an avocation—that is, both a job and a passion. Figure out why you need to write, and why you want to write.
- Keep your goal or goals in mind as motivation. Just remember to keep them realistic. You probably won't become the next J.K. Rowling by your first novel.
- While moving from a cafe to a park bench to the library may work for you, consider setting up a single workspace that you always—and only—use for writing.
- Set up your writing space so you have any supplies or references that you’ll need close at hand. That way, you won’t lose your focus looking for a pen, ink cartridge, or thesaurus.
- Pick a sturdy, supportive chair —it’s easy to lose focus if your back aches!
- The average book writer should probably look to set aside 30 minutes to 2 hours for writing, at least 5 days per week—and ideally every day.
- Block out a time when you tend to be most alert and prolific—for instance, 10:30-11:45 AM every day.
- Scheduling in writing time may mean scheduling out other things in your life. It's up to you to decide if it's worth it or not.
- For instance, if you’ve given yourself a 1-year deadline for writing a complete first draft of a 100,000-word novel, you’ll need to write about 300 words (about 1 typed page) every day.
- Or, if you are required to turn in a doctoral dissertation draft that’s about 350 pages long in 1 year, you’ll likewise need to write about 1 page per day.
- You’re nearly always going to spend at least as much time editing a book as you will initially writing it, so worry about the editing part later. Just focus on getting something down on paper that will need to be edited. Don’t worry about spelling mistakes!
- If you simply can’t help but edit some as you write, set aside a specific, small amount of time at the end of each writing session for editing. For instance, you might use the last 15 minutes of your daily 90-minute writing time to do some light editing of that day’s work.
- Depending on your circumstances, you might be working with an editor, have committee members you can hand over chapter drafts to, or have a group of fellow writers who share their works-in-progress back and forth. Alternatively, show a friend or family member.
- You’ll go through many rounds of feedback and revisions before your book is published. Don’t get discouraged—it’s all part of the process of writing the best book you can!
Creating a Great Story
- Start with the “big picture” first, and worry about filling in the finer details later on.
- Brainstorm themes, scenarios, or ideas that intrigue you. Write them down, think about them for a while, and figure out which one you’re most passionate about.
- For instance: “What if a man journeyed to a land where the people were tiny and he was a giant, and then to another land where the people were giants and he was tiny?”
- For instance, a sci-fi adventure set in space will be more effective if the technology draws at least a small degree from reality.
- Or, if you’re writing a crime drama, you might do research into how the police typically investigate crimes of the type you’re depicting.
- For instance, instead of waking up thinking “I need to write about the Civil War,” you might tell yourself, “I’m going to write about General Grant’s military strategy today.”
- These “manageable pieces” may end up being your book’s chapters, but not necessarily so.
Lucy V. Hay
Look at breakdowns of movie plots for insights into common successful story structures. There are many good sources, like Script Lab or TV Tropes, to find plot breakdowns of popular movies. Read these summaries and watch the movies, then think about how you can plot your story in a way that is similar to the movies you really like.
- Think about some of your favorite characters from books you love. Write down some of their character traits and use these to help build your own unique characters.
- If you’re writing nonfiction, dig deep into the complexities and all-too-human qualities of the real figures you’re writing about. Bring them to life for your readers.
- The main conflict—for instance, Captain Ahab’s obsession with the white whale in Moby Dick —can be an entry point for a range of other external and internal conflicts.
- Don’t downplay conflicts and tension in nonfiction works—they help to ground your writing in reality.
- Your goal is to never give your readers a reason to lose interest. Keep them engaged and turning those pages!
- This doesn’t mean you can’t use long sentences, descriptive writing, or even asides that deviate from the main storyline. Just make sure that these components serve the larger narrative.
Publishing Your Book
- Seeking publication can feel a bit like losing control over your manuscript, after all the time you’ve spent working and re-working it. Keep reminding yourself that your book deserves to be seen and read!
- If necessary, impose a deadline on yourself: “I’m going to submit this to publishers by January 15, one way or the other!”
- Evaluate potential agents and look for the best fit for you and your manuscript. If you know any published authors, ask them for tips and leads on agents.
- Typically, you’ll submit excerpts or even your entire manuscript to an agent, and they’ll decide whether to take you on as a client. Make sure you’re clear on their submission guidelines before proceeding.
- You can self-publish copies on your own, which may save you money but will take up a lot of time. You’ll be responsible for everything from obtaining a copyright to designing the cover to getting the actual pages printed.
- You can work through self-publishing companies, but you’ll often end up paying more to get your book published than you’ll ever make back from selling it.
- Self-publishing an e-book may be a viable option since the publishing costs are low and your book immediately becomes accessible to a wide audience. Evaluate different e-book publishers carefully before choosing the right one for you.
Sample Book Excerpts
Expert Q&A Did you know you can get expert answers for this article? Unlock expert answers by supporting wikiHow
Support wikiHow by unlocking this expert answer.
Video . By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.
- Keep your notebook and pen beside your bed, and keep a journal of your dreams. You never know when a dream of yours could give you inspiration or a story to write about! ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 23 Not Helpful 2
- Ask some other authors for some tips and write them down. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 13 Not Helpful 1
- If you want to add a true fact in your story, do some research on it first. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 18 Not Helpful 3
- Avoid plagiarizing (copying another author's work). Even if you do it as artfully as possible, eventually someone will track down and piece together all the copied parts. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 20 Not Helpful 1
You Might Also Like
Thanks for reading our article! If you'd like to learn more about writing a book, check out our in-depth interview with Gerald Posner .
- ↑ https://thewritepractice.com/write-a-book-now/
- ↑ https://jerryjenkins.com/how-to-write-a-book/
- ↑ https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/writingcenter/writingprocess/goalsetting/why
- ↑ https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/08/how-to-write-a-book-without-losing-your-mind/566462/
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/getting-feedback/
- ↑ https://jerichowriters.com/how-to-write-a-book/
- ↑ https://www.creative-writing-now.com/how-to-write-fiction.html
- ↑ https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-revise-a-novel/
- ↑ https://www.janefriedman.com/find-literary-agent/
About This Article
To write a book, first think of an idea that you’re excited to write about. It could be anything – a memoir about your life, a fantasy tale, or if you're an expert on a topic, a non-fiction book. Once you’ve come up with an idea, you'll want to cultivate good writing habits to bring your book to life. First, make writing into a routine rather than an activity you need to fit into your busy schedule. Try to consistently write at the same time and place every day. Second, set a daily word or page goal so that you know exactly when you are finished writing each day. Last, don’t feel pressured to create a perfect first draft because it's much easier to edit perfectly than it is to write it perfectly the first time around. Focus on producing and writing as much as you can. Then, go back and spend time editing on another day. Once you have written and edited a draft that you like, seek feedback from your family, peers or mentors. If you want to self-publish, research how to do so online. You could also consider hiring an editor to help you through both editing and the publishing process. If you want to know more about how to write a non-fiction book, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No
- Send fan mail to authors
Reader Success Stories
Did this article help you?
Sep 23, 2022
Sep 22, 2022
Maria Fernanda Valverde
Feb 4, 2017
Jun 6, 2016
- Do Not Sell or Share My Info
- Not Selling Info
wikiHow Tech Help Pro:
Develop the tech skills you need for work and life
How to Write a Book: The Ultimate Guide
There’s no one right way to write a book. Some people participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and end up with a bestseller . Others start with a meticulous outline and structured plan. Some (usually not novelists) can get a publication deal on a pitch alone. This article is meant to talk through the various steps involved and help you decide the best way for you to write your book.
Table of Contents
Pre-writing: what are you writing and why, how to write a book in 13 steps.
Recommended book-writing tools
Write with confidence Grammarly helps give your writing extra polish Write with Grammarly
To quote the iconic 2014 film, Hamlet 2 , “Oh my god, writing is so hard!”
And books are long. Most novels clock in around 100,000 words, which is approximately 400 double-spaced pages on your word processor.
If you’re going to write a book, it’s going to be a lengthy process; if you want to finish, it’s important to have an end goal to motivate you. Ask: What are you writing and why?
This could be as loose and simple as you having a story in your head that you just have to get out. Or it could be practical and specific: You’re writing an ebook to drive downloads and revenue for your business. There’s no wrong reason to write a book; you just need to know what yours is.
What kind of book are you writing?
Fiction books tell stories that are all or mostly made up by the author. (We say mostly, because genres like historical fiction tell stories of true events, but the characters’ motives, exact dialogue, etc., is made up by the author.)
- Novels are the most commonly published and read fiction books. They’re long (loosely defined as over approximately 40,000 words, but generally in the 80,000–120,000 range, with some being much longer). They tell a single, unified narrative, and can be of many types and genres (e.g., commercial fiction, literary fiction, upmarket fiction, young adult, science fiction, fantasy, romance, historical, horror, etc.). Examples: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and Beloved by Toni Morrison
- Novellas are essentially short novels: They can also be of any genre, but generally have word counts of approximately 17,000–40,000. While there are many famous, notable novellas , they’re much less popular with modern readers, so they will be more difficult to publish through traditional methods unless you already have an established name as an author. Self-publishing is changing what people consume, and is currently the most viable publishing option for a first-time novella-ist. Examples: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- Short story collections are exactly what they sound like: a collection of a number of short stories, which usually have a combined word length approximately that of a novel. Again, short story collections are less popular with readers, so they’re more difficult to get published, especially as a first-time author. Most short story writers don’t create books until later in their career (and instead publish short stories one at a time in literary magazines or similar publications). Again, self-publishing is changing how and what people consume. Examples: Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri and This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz
- Poetry collections are books of poetry. Word count is a less-relevant barometer here as there aren’t many standards. Poetry collections are a niche interest, and will be published by small, specialized presses. Examples: The Hill We Climb and Other Poems by Amanda Gorman and Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Nonfiction books are those that aim to tell factual narratives. This encompasses a broad, diverse number of genres and types of books. This is an inexhaustive list:
- Memoirs, autobiographies, and biographies, which tell the true stories of real people. Examples: Lincoln by David Herbert Donald and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
- Humor and commentary, which may overlap with other genres (but with the aim of being funnier). Example: Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris and A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace
- Journalism books are like newspaper stories, but extended to book length, and are usually written by journalists (sometimes as follow-ups to important stories, as more in-depth coverage on a particular story or social trend). Examples: Nomadland by Jessica Bruder and All the President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
- History books teach us about history; they can take a variety of different forms. Examples: Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing and Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People by Elizabeth A. Fenn
- Travel guides and travelogues tell stories of adventure or give advice on where readers may want to travel. Examples: Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road by Kate Harris and Vagabonding by Rolf Potts
- Examples: The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen. R. Covey
- Examples: Film History, An Introduction by Kristin Thompson and The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Ebooks, technical manuals, etc.
These types of books are mostly nonfiction, but are worth calling out separately as they’re generally published by businesses for a very specific audience. Their end goal is not for the reader to simply read the book, but to do something else once they’re done reading.
- Company ebooks are designed to share knowledge with prospective customers to build trust and ultimately sell a product or service.
- Technical manuals are written to help existing customers learn how to use a product or service.
>>Read More: 20 Women Who Paved the Way in Writing
What’s your end goal?
There are many things you can do with your book once it’s finished.
- Publication through traditional publishing houses is the classic way of getting a book into stores. Generally, you pitch your finished book to an agent, who then pitches it to publishing houses to buy. (In some cases, you may not need an agent.) These publishers write a contract to pay the author (usually a small amount up front, and some sort of revenue split, but there are many forms a deal could take), then they take care of the printing, distribution, and sometimes marketing of the book.
- Self-publication allows individuals to release their books to readers without having to have an agent and publisher. Once looked down upon, it’s grown significantly over the past two decades, and is especially popular with genre writers (science fiction, fantasy, and romance, to name a few). Authors are responsible for marketing their books, hiring a designer for or creating their own book covers, and submitting to distributors (like Amazon Kindle). Authors get a share of the profits for all units sold through a particular platform.
- Online publication allows individuals or businesses to distribute their work anywhere on the web, oftentimes as downloadable content. This format is generally preferred by businesses who are publishing books to attract new customers (with the content free to download in exchange for an email address).
- Self-gratification . It’s also totally OK to write a book simply for yourself.
If you want to write a book for monetary reasons, that’s also totally OK. If that’s your goal, though, you need to do your research to understand what does and does not make money. Writing books is both an art and a craft. If your primary goal is financial, do market research: Understand who your customer (reader) is; know what they want; and know how to reach them.
>>Read More: What Type of Writer Are You?
How you write a book is a matter of personal preference and depends on the type of book you’re writing. For example, if you’re writing nonfiction history, you’re going to need to have a much more extensive research process than someone completing a collection of poetry.
1 Do your research
If you’re writing nonfiction, research can involve doing historical, cultural, scientific, or other academic research. This research can entail reading other work, doing fieldwork, interviewing experts, or can take many other forms.
If you’re writing fiction, you may have to do some traditional research around any real events, people, locations, or other elements that make up your story. You may also want to do internal research to help prepare your story. This can include writing character sketches, making world-building notes, and so on.
No matter what you’re writing, it’s also very helpful to read other works of the same kind and genre. If you’re writing a science fiction novel with a nonlinear structure, read other sci-fi works or books with nonlinear structures.
2 Determine what your book is about
We don’t mean the subject or general plot, but rather the big picture: themes, character arcs, what you’re trying to say about the world.
For fiction, this can take on the form of broad themes—for example, you’re writing a book about familial love or one that shows the impact of climate change.
For nonfiction, you should consider what makes your book unique. For example: this memoir gives a personal account of an important historical event; this book uses a new method of behavioral therapy to help readers get over a breakup.
Now is when you start organizing your thoughts. Some fiction writers like to skip this step (or may return to it after writing a first draft), but others are meticulous planners. If you’re writing for work or nonfiction, this is a crucial step that will make completing your first draft much easier.
Planning can look different depending on one’s personal preference. Here are a few ideas:
- Traditional outlines (like this one!) use bullet points to briefly state and organize thoughts, ideas, chapters, etc.
- Index cards are a helpful tool when you have a lot of pieces and you’re not sure how they all fit together. Write down scenes, pieces of evidence, quotes, and ideas on individual cards, then lay them out on a table or pin them to a board and start grouping and organizing them until you find your structure.
- Treatments are a bit more detailed and fluid than outlines. You basically write a short version of your book, touching on major plot points or ideas.
For example, if you’re writing a novel, you can start with a treatment to get a sense of flow. From there, you can break the treatment up into scenes, which go on index cards (either physical or virtual). The former helps you find the flow of the story and the latter to break the writing up into manageable pieces for production (you can also use the cards when editing—more on that later).
4 Write your first draft
Just. Get. Through. It.
Some people swear by writing every day for an hour before work. Others dive deep into National Novel Writing Month ( NaNoWriMo ). Others dabble when they can. There is no right way to do this, only the way that works for you.
The hundreds of pages making up a completed book may seem like a lot, but even if you just write ten pages per week, that’s only forty weekends, or less than a year to draft a complete book.
Common issues that come up with writing your first draft (and how to get past them):
- Problem: I can’t figure out how to finish this scene! Solution: Then skip it! For example, if you’re writing a horror screenplay, you need to build tension. If you can’t figure out what that tension is at the moment, you can insert “a bunch of scary stuff happens” and leave it there. You don’t have to write linearly. It’s OK to leave things to do in the future.
- Problem: Ack! I just realized I know nothing about ___ and my character is holding a ____. I need to do some research so I can be accurate. Solution: Try not to stop your flow to go off on a research tangent. One of the best tips from journalists is the abbreviation TK, which stands for “to come.” It’s also super helpful because the letters T and K rarely appear together in the English language. When you need to come back to something, you can simply write TKTK in the manuscript, and when you’re editing, a quick Ctrl+F can guide you back to all the things you need to fill in at a future date.
- Problem : I realized halfway through this book that it would be better if my character had a younger brother instead of an older sister. Now all the scenes with the sister need to be rewritten. Solution : This is another problem for editing! As you get deeper into your manuscript and things change, start keeping a list of things you want to revisit or double-check in editing. Just jot down “turn sister into brother before boat scene” so you remember to do it.
Maybe it’s just a day, maybe it’s years. But most people need to give their first drafts time to breathe so they can look at them with fresh eyes.
6 Read with an eye for revision
Your first read of your manuscript should be from a high level. Don’t focus too much on sentence-level corrections (if something reads as awkward, circle it, but don’t spend too much time trying to diagnose what’s wrong or you’ll lose the pacing of your book as you read).
You can complete this step with a printed-out copy of the manuscript, but that’s a personal preference.
Here’s what you’re looking for:
- Are there logical inconsistencies?
- What’s the pacing like?
- Is the structure working?
- If you’re writing fiction, do all the main characters have arcs?
Your goal with your first read is to come up with a plan for your second draft. This is where your notecards could come in handy again, to help you decide if scenes would work better in a different order.
For writers who approach a first draft without an outline, this is usually the stage where they come back to their work and uncover structure, and make plans to change or adapt it in the second draft.
7 Write a second draft
This is not editing! At this stage, you are likely adding completely new chapters, getting rid of characters who didn’t add anything, or doing additional research to fill in a hole you didn’t realize existed when you were originally planning.
8 Rinse and repeat steps 5–7
It’s normal to have to go through multiple drafts to iron out all of your issues.
This is the stage where you want to start looking at more paragraph , sentence , and word -level edits.
A few things to focus on:
- Grammar, spelling, and punctuation: The obvious ones! Grammarly can help at this stage, when you’ve been staring at the same words for so long. Grammarly helps catch common mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and more, and offers suggestions for improvement.
- Flow: Hopefully you’ve already worked out larger pacing issues when revising. Now you want to look at language flow. Do all your sentences use the same structure? Or do you mix it up? Are they all the same length, or do you have some that are very short and others that are very long?
- Language : Are you using not only the factually correct words, but also the right language for your readers and/or your characters? For example, if you’re a marketing professional, but you’re writing a book for people who are starting their first small business, are you using industry jargon that they might not understand? Or if you have a character who dropped out of high school, does he speak with an appropriate vocabulary?
- Tone : What tone are you setting with your writing? This may be less applicable to fiction writing, but if you’re writing nonfiction, you may ask: Are you coming across as knowledgeable and confident? Are you empathetic? (In case you didn’t know, Grammarly’s tone detector can also help identify how your writing might sound to others!)
10 Give your manuscript to some beta readers
Some writers may do this earlier in the writing process. That’s fine. No matter when you do it, there are a few things you want to think about when selecting beta readers and setting yourself up for success:
- Choose beta readers who are similar to the intended audience of your book (or are good at putting themselves in the shoes of others). You won’t be able to tell if you’re using jargon in your marketing book if you give it to another experienced marketer to read. Instead, give it to your dad and see what he says.
- Give your readers an idea of the type of feedback you’re looking for. Do you want them to line edit? Or are you looking for overall feelings? Avoid getting too specific (such as, “I want you to tell me if you think the cat dying is unnecessary”) as that may bias them. Rather, give notes like, “I’m looking for input on pacing,” or “I’d love to know which character you’re rooting for.”
- Make it easy for them! If they want a printed copy, figure out how to get them one. If they want to read on their tablet device, export your manuscript as an ebook and send it over. If they’re not professional editors, consider that it’s also nice to offer a little something—pizza or a sweet treat, for instance—in exchange for their services (if they’re not professional editors).
On that note: There are professional editors out there! If you can afford it, and think it would be helpful, by all means, hire one!
11 Take and incorporate feedback
Getting feedback— especially if it’s critical —can be challenging. Your job is to listen. Resist defending yourself. Instead, focus on asking questions to better understand what a reader is telling you. Here’s an example:
Reader: I didn’t like Lorenzo.
Writer: Why didn’t you like him?
Reader: He just seemed kind of slimy. I didn’t like how he talked to his mom.
Writer: Do you think his actions were out of character?
Reader: No. That’s just not how I would have handled the situation.
Especially when there’s feedback around liking or not liking things, make sure you understand. Sometimes you’re not supposed to like a character or a scene. A reader telling you they don’t like a character or scene might be great feedback, particularly if it was supposed to make them uncomfortable in order to advance the story or set the tone.
One rule of thumb: You may disagree with some of the feedback you get. That’s OK. When this happens, try to see if you get the same feedback from another reader. If more than one person gives you the same note, there’s probably something to what they’ve said. If not, it may just be a matter of opinion.
12 Come up with a title
Maybe you already have a great one! But if not, you probably need one now, because we’re just about done . . .
13 Prepare your manuscript for submission/publication/other
What this step looks like is going to depend a lot on what your end goal is. If you’re submitting a manuscript to agents or editors, look up standard formatting guidelines (generally a serif font like Times New Roman, sized 12-point, double-spaced, and with 1-inch margins).
If you’re self-publishing, you’re going to have to get a bit more technical, and format your manuscript as an ebook (there are guides online; requirements may be different depending on what platform you’re using).
If you’re publishing an ebook, you may be working directly with a designer to do page layout.
And for both self-publishing and ebooks, you’ll also have to think about cover design.
Finally, give the manuscript one more proofread (or three) to eliminate those little errors.
Tada! You have now written a book.
And now the hard part (marketing it!) starts.
Recommended book-writing tools:
- Grammarly will make your writing and editing process so much easier. Not only can Grammarly help identify mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage, but it can also help you rewrite sentences to be more concise and offer clarity rewrites . And Grammarly’s tone detector can identify how your writing may sound to readers.
- Scrivener is the best word processing tool on the market for long works. You can easily break down manuscripts into scenes, move the content around, use virtual notecards, and even do research and character development. They also have settings to export manuscripts that are formatted correctly (so you can easily create an ebook, or make sure you meet agent submission requirements).
- 99designs will be your best friend if you’re self-publishing, or publishing an ebook. They have a community of designers who can design a book cover or do your layout for you.
- IngramSpark can help you self-publish your book.
- Distraction blockers. There are several apps out there that will help you work more productively by blocking you from accessing Facebook or other distracting sites for a certain period of time, so you can keep yourself on-track while drafting.
Here’s a tip: Use Grammarly’s Citation Generator to ensure your essays have flawless citations and no plagiarism when citing books in MLA , APA , and Chicago .
The Sheridan Libraries
- English and American Literature
- Sheridan Libraries
- Reintroduction to Writing
- Articles & Book Reviews
- eBooks (New & Historic Collections)
- Literary Archives
- Historical Periodicals
- Browsing the Stacks
- Theory and Criticism
- Reference, Biography and Literary Biography
- Special Collections
- Citing Sources
- Writing about a Film: “The Tragedy of Macbeth”
- Seeing and Believing
- New Books and Online Resources
Album of Postcards in Special Collections
- Votes and Petticoats This album contains digital images of over 200 postcards from our Women's Suffrage Collection. Please note that we do not have the verso (back) of each postcard scanned.
Votes for Women!
Postcards documenting the activism and public perception of the Women's Suffrage movement are fun and fascinating documents to explore. Finding information on them will require that you look at a variety of different types of sources, including journal articles, book chapters, and historic newspapers. Based on your postcard, you may need to explore diverse topics pertaining to women's suffrage political action or iconography such as hunger strikes, civic housekeeping, or animal symbolism. This guide will help you find what you need!
- Academic Search Ultimate Your one-stop shop for finding academic articles and material published in popular magazines.
- Project Muse Contains academic articles and full-text chapters from scholarly books.
- JSTOR JSTOR is similar to Project Muse, but has significantly more "older" articles and books.
These suggested databases are great places to start your research! A nice feature of these databases is the citation tool; the articles include information on how to properly cite the article in a variety of citation styles including Chicago and MLA.
- Beastly Possessions: Animals in Victorian Consumer Culture A good overview of the complicated symbolism of animals and gender in Victorian England. The book chapter "Sexy Beasts, Fallen Felines, and Pampered Pomeranians" is a must-read if you are interested in animals and women's suffrage postcards.
- American Women's Suffrage Postcards: A Study and a Catalog Kenneth Florey wrote the very first study of women's suffrage postcards. You can also search and read portions of the book through Google Books. Florey has also written articles on the subject, so you may find it helpful to search his name in various library databases.
- Suffrage and the Arts This book is a great introduction to how suffrage organizations across Britain used art as part of their political campaigns. We several postcards in our collection created by the Suffrage Atelier League and other British-based suffrage organizations.
Search the library catalog for print and eBooks. Above are some great places to start!
Historic newspapers are a terrific resource to understand the contemporary context of events depicted in women's suffrage postcards. Search the Historic Baltimore Sun database and see what happened when the suffragists marched in the September 1914 Industrial Parade!
- << Previous: Seeing and Believing
- Next: New Books and Online Resources >>
- Last Updated: Mar 2, 2023 10:36 AM
- URL: https://guides.library.jhu.edu/english
I’m a writer blog
Guidelines for writing Poems, Stories and Tales
Is it hard for a foreigner to publish in english.
May 27, 2022
Asked by: Dave Leach
It really isn’t . It is hard — very hard — to write something worth publishing. But that is not the same thing at all. If you write something worth publishing, it will generally find a home.
Can a foreigner write a book in English?
Long answer: You can publish in an English-speaking country, no matter where you’re from/live . While it can make things difficult when it comes time to promote a book, having an author live in a different country is NOT a deal-breaker for agents or publishers.
How do I get my book published in English?
Here’s how to publish a book step-by-step:
- Decide Why You Want to Publish a Book.
- Write Your Book.
- Get Feedback Before Publishing Your Book.
- Choose a Book Title.
- Hire a Great Book Editor.
- Design a Book Cover that Converts.
- Create Your Kindle Direct Publishing Account.
- Format and Upload your Book.
How hard is it to get a book published?
The simple answer is; very difficult . But the process can be made easier when you get a book published by a publisher like Austin Macauley. Publishing your book sometimes becomes as time taking as writing your book. Choosing the right publisher will, however, make things quick and less time-consuming.
How do I publish internationally?
When it comes to selling your work overseas, there are two channels:
- Licensing your English-language or translation rights to traditional publishers located abroad.
- Selling your book in English and/or translation directly through online retailers or local distributors.
Can an American publish a book in the UK?
You can get an American agent, you can get a British agent, you can sell your books to any publisher in either country . If your manuscript is well-written and exciting enough, the fact that you live in a different country won’t be an obstacle.
How do I sell my book internationally?
Once you have written a book, the next logical step would be to get it published (traditional way) or publish it your self (self-publishing route) . After which you would like your publisher or your self to make the book available in India and around the world in International markets.
How much does Penguin pay authors?
How Much Does Penguin India Pay Its Authors? Typically, these allowances range between Rs 50,000 and Rs 1 lakh , and are usually calculated using actual expenses – that is, if it is possible, they must be reported for all travel, accommodation and food expenses.
What is the average cost to publish a book?
How much does it cost to publish a book in the United States? It usually costs between $500 and $5,000 to publish a book in the United States. A lot of that cost comes from hiring an editor, book designer services, and marketing. The average self-published book costs about $2,000 to publish and market.
How much does it cost to publish a book for the first time?
The average cost to publish a book falls within the $200-$2500 range and includes publishing costs such as cover design, editing, formatting, and book printing. However, it’s important to note that the publishing type you choose will also factor into the overall cost to publish a book.
Is self-publishing worth it?
Thankfully, self-published books have a much, much higher royalty rate than traditional publishers because you get to keep anywhere from 50-70% of your book’s profits. With a traditional publisher, they take much more and you only end up with 10% maybe 12% after years of proving yourself as an author.
What is the cheapest way to publish a book?
Publishing an eBook is the cheapest way to self-publish a book, and some tech-savvy authors do the entire process on their own for free. Of course, keep in mind that all the same advice for self-publishing success applies to eBook authors.
How much does it cost to publish a book on Amazon?
Nothing! It’s free to publish a book on Amazon through their online Kindle Direct Publishing platform . You pay no upfront costs, but Amazon will take a portion of your book’s earnings to print, leaving you with 60% royalties after the book print price, which is why authors are making more now than ever before.
How much do authors get paid for their first book?
As we can see from many authors and agents the average first time author is projected to earn around $10,000 for their new book. After you pay your agent and invest in promotion, there isn’t much left over.
Is it worth it to self publish on Amazon?
However, if you have some spare time and believe that being able to point to the fact that you’re a published author on Amazon will help boost your credentials or career, then it’s worth it. Self publishing on Amazon is also worth it if you can use the clicks and views that your eBook receives to boost another venture.
How many pages is 60000 words?
60,000 words is 120 pages single-spaced or 240 pages double-spaced.
How many pages make a novel?
Novels are typically 250 to 350 pages ; with about 200 to 300 words per page.
How long is a novel?
If you’re writing your first novel, the general rule of thumb for novel writing is a word count in the 80,000 to 100,000 range . While anything over 40,000 words can fall into the novel category, 50,000 is considered the minimum novel length. Anything over 110,000 words is considered too long for a fiction novel.
How small can a book be?
KDP print book sizes, then, range from the smallest trade paperback ( 5” by 8” ) to the largest (8.5” by 11”). If you’re hoping to convince local store owners to add your novel to their mass market book racks, consider Ingram Spark’s print on demand service, which offers the following print book sizes under 5” by 8.
Can my book be 100 pages?
With strategic formatting, a print book can rightfully reach 100 pages —a slender volume for sure, but in this case, a shorter book may be exactly what’s needed.
How many pages qualifies as a book?
When wondering how many pages a book should be, it is notable that the average book length is between 200-400 pages . With this in mind, what considerations should be taken when deciding how long a book should be? Check comparable titles. Go to a bookstore and find your book’s genre.
How many pages is average book?
A study of more than 2,500 books appearing on New York Times bestseller and notable books lists and Google’s annual survey of the most discussed books reveals that the average length has increased from 320 pages in 1999 to 400 pages in 2014.
How many pages are in Harry Potter?
But how many pages are actually in all of the Harry Potter books? There are 4,100 pages in the original seven Harry Potter books if you read them all in the US hardback format. However, if you’re reading the UK versions of the books, there are only 3,407.
What is the longest book ever?
elephantine Remembrance of Things Past
The Guinness Book of World Records gives the honor to Marcel Proust’s elephantine Remembrance of Things Past , weighing in at 9,609,000 characters (including spaces).
How do I protect my book idea?
To protect written ideas and stories, apply for a copyright from the U.S. Copyright Office and pay the $30 fee to register your work . If you have a script, you can register it with the Writer’s Guild of America. Just submit it to them with a check for the fee, which is less than $25.
Can a publisher steal your book?
Here’s why reputable agents and publishers are not going to steal from you . They can’t steal it wholesale because you can show that you wrote it and submitted it. By writing it, you automatically own the copyright to those words. (Not the ideas, that would require a patent.)
Can someone steal my novel?
Your Text Is Protected by Law
There are many myths about copyright, the legal framework that protects people from having their creative work stolen. Frequently, people think they have to register their work or post a copyright notice on it, or it won’t be protected by law. In almost all countries, that’s not true.
Authors & Events
- New & Noteworthy
- Popular Series
- Anticipated Books of 2023
- Popular Books in Spanish
- Coming Soon
- Literary Fiction
- Mystery & Suspense
- Science Fiction & Fantasy
- Spanish Language Fiction
- Biographies & Memoirs
- Spanish Language Nonfiction
- Dark Star Trilogy
- Ramses the Damned
- Penguin Classics
- Award Winners
- The Parenting Book Guide
- Books to Read Before Bed
- Books for Middle Graders
- Trending Series
- Magic Tree House
- The Last Kids on Earth
- Planet Omar
- Beloved Characters
- The World of Eric Carle
- Llama Llama
- Junie B. Jones
- Peter Rabbit
- Board Books
- Picture Books
- Guided Reading Levels
- Middle Grade
- Activity Books
- Trending This Week
- Top Must-Read Romances
- Page-Turning Series To Start Now
- Books to Cope With Anxiety
- Short Reads
- Anti-Racist Resources
- Staff Picks
- Mystery & Thriller
- Memoir & Fiction
- Features & Interviews
- Emma Brodie Interview
- Gabriella Burnham Interview
- Nicola Yoon Interview
- Qian Julie Wang Interview
- Deepak Chopra Essay
- How Can I Get Published?
- For Book Clubs
- Reese's Book Club
- Oprah’s Book Club
- trust " data-category="popular" data-location="header">Guide: Trust
- book lovers " data-category="popular" data-location="header">Guide: Book Lovers
- Authors & Events >
- Our Authors
- Michelle Obama
- Taylor Jenkins Reid
- Mohsin Hamid
- Cormac McCarthy
- In Their Own Words
- Qian Julie Wang
- Patrick Radden Keefe
- Phoebe Robinson
- Emma Brodie
- Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Laura Hankin
- Recommendations >
- The Best Books to Get Your Finances in Order
- Must-Read Books by Indigenous Authors
- 21 Books to Help You Learn Something New
- Narrative Nonfiction to Rival Thrillers
- Fiction for Food Lovers
- Manga and Graphic Novels
- between the world and me oral history" data-category="recommendations" data-location="header"> Between the World and Me Oral History
- Meet the Bookseller: Yu and Me Books
- Cook a Soul Food Holiday Meal With Rosie Mayes
- Ina Garten’s Chicken & Potatoes Recipe
- Vallery Lomas’ Blueberry Buckle Recipe
- New Releases
- Memoirs Read by the Author
- Our Most Soothing Narrators
- Press Play for Inspiration
- Audiobooks You Just Can't Pause
- Listen With the Whole Family
The Best Books on Writing
Writing is, as a general rule, hard. defining yourself as a writer can be even harder. from grammar rules to publishing advice to personal narratives, these books on writing reveal in intimate detail the ins and outs of what it means to call yourself a writer. these are some of the best books on writing with insight and wisdom that can support you at all stages of your writing process..
By benjamin dreyer, paperback $18.00, buy from other retailers:.
The Forest for the Trees (Revised and Updated)
By betsy lerner.
The Elements of Style Illustrated
By william strunk, jr. and e. b. white.
Sin and Syntax
By constance hale, paperback $17.00.
Naked, Drunk, and Writing
By adair lara, paperback $15.99.
Bird by Bird
By anne lamott.
by Susan G. Wooldridge
Writing Better Lyrics
By pat pattison, paperback $20.99.
Walking on Water
By madeleine l’engle.
By lisa cron.
- Share on Facebook
- Share on Tumblr
Visit other sites in the Penguin Random House Network
Raise kids who love to read
Today's Top Books
Want to know what people are actually reading right now?
An online magazine for today’s home cook
Stay in Touch
Become a Member
Start earning points for buying books! Just for joining you’ll get personalized recommendations on your dashboard daily and features only for members.
Point Status This is where you’ll see your current point status and your earned rewards. To redeem, copy and paste the code during the checkout process. See Account Overview
100 Writing Practice Lessons & Exercises
by Joe Bunting | 50 comments
Want to become a better writer? Perhaps you want to write novels, or maybe you just want to get better grades in your essay writing assignments , or maybe you'd like to start a popular blog .
If you want to write better, you need practice. But what does a writing practice actually look like? In this post, I'm going to give you everything you need to kick off your writing practice and become a better writer faster.
What Is Writing Practice?
Writing practice is a method of becoming a better writer that usually involves reading lessons about the writing process, using writing prompts, doing creative writing exercises , or finishing writing pieces, like essays, short stories , novels , or books . The best writing practice is deliberate, timed, and involves feedback.
How Do You Practice Writing?
This was the question I had when I first started The Write Practice in 2011. I knew how to practice a sport and how to practice playing an instrument. But for some reason, even after studying it in college, I wasn't sure how to practice writing.
I set out to create the best writing practice I could. The Write Practice is the result.
I found that the best writing practice has three aspects:
Deliberate . Writing whatever you feel like may be cathartic, but it's not an effective way to become a better writer. You'll get better faster by instead practicing a specific technique or aspect of the writing process each time you sit down to write.
This is why we have a new lesson about the writing process each day on The Write Practice, followed by a practice prompt at the end so you can put what you learned to use immediately.
Timed . It's no secret writers struggle with focus. There are just too many interesting distractions—Facebook, email, Kim Kardashian's Instagram feed (just kidding about that last one, sort of)—and writing is just too hard sometimes.
Setting a timer, even for just fifteen minutes, is an easy and effective way to stay focused on what's important.
This is why in our writing practice prompt at the end of each post we have a time limit, usually with a link to an online egg timer , so you can focus on deliberate practice without getting distracted.
Feedback . Getting feedback is one of the requirements to deliberately practice writing or any other craft. Feedback can look like listening to the reactions of your readers or asking for constructive criticism from editors and other writers.
This is why we ask you to post your writing practice in the comments section after each lesson, so that you can get feedback from other writers in The Write Practice community. It's also why we set up The Write Practice Pro community , to provide critique groups for writers to get feedback on their finished writing pieces.
Our 100+ Best Creative Writing Practice Exercises and Lessons
Now that you know how we practice writing at The Write Practice, here are our best writing practice lessons and creative writing exercises :
All-Time, Top 10 Writing Lessons and Exercises
These ten posts are our most viewed articles to boost your writing practice:
1. How To Use Neither, Nor, Or, and Nor Correctly . Even good writers struggle figuring out when to use neither/nor and either/or. In this, the most popular post on The Write Practice, our copy-queen Liz Bureman settles the confusion once and for all. Click to continue to the writing exercise
2. Do You Use Quotation Marks or Italics for Song and Album Titles? The wrong punctuation can make any writer look silly. If you've ever been confused about whether to use quotes or italics for song titles and album titles, this post will clear things up. Click to continue to the writing exercise
3. Ten Secrets To Write Better Stories . How does Pixar manage to create such great stories, year after year? And how do you write a good story? In this post, I distill everything I've learned about how to write a good story into ten tips. Click to continue to the writing exercise
4. How To Use an Ellipsis… Correctly . Judging by my Facebook feed, most people are using ellipses incorrectly, or at least over using them. Here's how to use those trio of periods correctly in your writing. Click to continue to the writing exercise
5. 35 Questions To Ask Your Characters From Marcel Proust . To get to know my characters better, I use a list of questions known as the Proust Questionnaire, made famous by French author, Marcel Proust. Click to continue to the writing exercise
6. How a Scene List Can Change Your Novel-Writing Life . Creating a scene list changed my novel-writing life, and doing the same will change yours too. Includes examples of the scene lists from famous authors. Click to continue to the writing exercise
7. Why You Need to be Using the Oxford Comma . Most people I've met have no idea what the Oxford comma is, but it's probably something that you have used frequently in your writing. Click to continue to the writing exercise
8. How to Conduct an Interview Like a Journalist . The interview is the most-used tool in a journalist's bag. But that doesn't mean novelists, bloggers, and even students can't and don't interview people. Here's how to conduct a great interview. Click to continue to the writing exercise
9. Why You Should Try Writing in Second Person . You've probably used first person and third person point-of-view already. But what about second person? This post explains three reasons why you should try writing from this point-of-view. Click to continue to the writing exercise
10. The Secret to Show, Don't Tell . You've heard the classic writing rule, “Show. Don't Tell.” Every writing blog ever has talked about it, and for good reason. Showing, for some reason, is really difficult. Click to continue to the writing exercise.
12 Exercises and Lessons To Become a Better Writer
How do you become a better writer? These posts share our best advice:
- Want to Be a Better Writer? Cut These 7 Words
- What I Mean When I Say I Am A Writer
- How to Become a Writer: 3 Simple Steps
- 72% of Writers Struggle With THIS
- 7 Lies About Becoming a Writer That You Probably Believe
- 10 Questions to Find Your Unique Writing Voice
- The Best Writing Book I’ve Ever Read
- The Best Way to Become a Better Writer
- The Creative Writer’s Toolkit: 6 Tools You Can’t Write Without
- Should You Write More or Write Better: Quantity vs Quality
- How to Become a Better Writer in One, Simple Step
- 11 Writing Tips That Will Change Your Life
6 Lessons and Exercises from Great Writers
If you want to be a writer, learn from the great writers who have gone before you:
- 23 Essential Quotes from Ernest Hemingway About Writing
- 29 Quotes that Explain How to Become a Better Writer
- 10 Lessons Dr. Seuss Can Teach Writers
- 10 Writing Tips from Ursula Le Guin
- Once Upon a Time: Pixar Prompt
- All the Pretty Words: Writing In the Style of Cormac McCarthy
12 Genre and Format Specific Writing Lessons and Exercises
Here are our best writing lessons for specific types of writing, including essays, screenplays, memoir, short stories, children's books, and humor writing:
- Writing an Essay? Here Are 10 Effective Tips
- How To Write a Screenplay: The 5 Step Process
- 3 Rules to Write World-Changing Memoir
- How to Write a Short Story from Start to Finish
- How to Write a Memoir Short Story
- What Makes a Good Children’s Book?
- Four Commandments to Writing Funny
- How to Write a Story a Week: A Day-by-Day Guide
- 4 Reasons to Write Short Stories
- 5 Key Elements for Successful Short Stories
- 4 Tips to Write a Novel That Will Be Adapted Into a Movie
- Humor Writing for People Who Aren’t Funny
14 Characterization Lessons and Exercises
Good characters are the foundation of good fiction. Here are our best lessons to create better characters:
- Harry Potter and the Three Types of Heroes
- Writing Villains: 9 Evil Examples of the Villain Archetype
- How NOT to Introduce a New Character
- The Strongest Form of Characterization
- The Most Important Character Archetype
- How Do You Build A Strong Character In Your Writing?
- 5 Types of Anti-Heroes
- How to Explore Your Characters’ Motivations
- 8 Tips for Naming Characters
- The Protagonist: How to Center Your Story
- Heroes vs. Anti-Heroes: Which Is Right For Your Story?
- The Weakest Form of Characterization
- How to Write With an Accent
- How To Create a Character Sketch Using Scrivener
15 Grammar Lessons and Exercises
I talk to so many writers, some of whom are published authors, who struggle with grammar. Here are our best writing lessons on grammar:
- Is It Okay To End A Sentence With A Preposition?
- Contractions List: When To Use and When To Avoid
- Good vs. Well
- Connotation vs. Denotation
- Per Se vs. Per Say
- When You SHOULD Use Passive Voice
- When Do You Use “Quotation Marks”
- Polysyndeton and Asyndeton: Definition and Examples
- The Case Against Twilight
- Affect Versus Effect
- Stop Saying “Literally”
- What Is a Comma Splice? And Why Do Editors Hate Them?
- Intra vs. Inter: Why No One Plays Intermural Sports
- Alright and Alot: Words That Are Not Words
- The Poor, Misunderstood Semicolon
4 Journalism Lessons and Exercises
Want to be a journalist? Or even use techniques from journalism to improve your novel, essay, or screenplay? Here are our best writing lessons on journalism:
- Six Ways to Ask Better Questions In Interviews
- How Should You Interview Someone? Over Email? In Person?
- What If They Don’t Want to Talk to You?
- Eleven Habits of a Highly Effective Interviewers
16 Plot and Structure Lessons and Exercises
Want to write a good story? Our top plot and structure lessons will help:
- 7 Keys To Write the Perfect First Line of a Novel
- The Secret to Creating Conflict
- 4 Tips to Avoid Having Your Short Story Rejected by a Literary Magazine
- 7 Steps to Creating Suspense
- 5 Elements of Storytelling
- 3 Important Rules for Writing Endings
- A Writer’s Cheatsheet to Plot and Structure
- Overcoming the Monster
- How to Satisfy Your Reader With a Great Ending
- Pow! Boom! Ka-Pow! 5 Tips to Write Fight Scenes
- The Dramatic Question and Suspense in Fiction
- How to Write a Memorable Beginning and Ending
- How to Write the Perfect First Page
6 Lessons and Exercises to Beat Writer's Block
Writer's block is real, and it can completely derail your writing. Here are six lessons to get writing again:
- How To Write Whether You Feel Like it Or Not
- This Fun Creative Writing Exercise Will Change Your Life
- When You Should Be Writing But Can't…
- What to do When Your Word Count is Too Low
- 7 Tricks to Write More with Less Willpower
- When You Don’t Know What to Write, Write About Your Insecurities
7 Literary Technique Lessons and Exercises
These writing and storytelling techniques will teach you a few tricks of the trade you may not have discovered before:
- 3 Tips to “Show, Don’t Tell” Emotions and Moods
- 3 Reasons to Write Stream of Consciousness Narrative
- 16 Observations About Real Dialogue
- Intertextuality As A Literary Device
- Why You Should Use Symbolism In Your Writing
- 6 Ways to Evoke Emotion in Poetry and Prose
- 3 Tips To Write Modern Allegorical Novels
- Symbol vs. Motif: What’s the Difference
3 Inspirational Writing Lessons and Exercises
Need some inspiration? Here are three of our most inspiring posts:
- Why We Write: Four Reasons
- You Must Remember Every Scar
- 17 Reasons to Write Something NOW
3 Publishing Blogging Lessons and Exercises
If you want to get published, these three lessons will help:
- The Secret to Writing On Your Blog Every Day
- How to Publish Your Book and Sell Your First 1,000 Copies
- How to Get Published in Literary Magazines
11 Writing Prompts
Need inspiration or just a kick in the pants to write. Try one of our top writing prompts :
- Grandfathers [writing prompt]
- Out of Place [writing prompt]
- Sleepless [writing prompt]
- Longing [writing prompt]
- Write About Yourself [writing prompt]
- 3 Reasons You Should Write Ghost Stories
- Road Trip [writing prompt]
- Morning [writing prompt]
- The Beach [writing prompt]
- Fall [writing prompt]
- How to Use Six-Word Stories As Writing Prompts
Is It Time To Begin Your Writing Practice?
It's clear that if you want to become a writer, you need to practice writing. We've created a proven process to practice your writing at The Write Practice, but even if you don't join our community, I hope you'll start practicing in some way today.
Personally, I waited far too long to start practicing and it set my writing back years.
How about you? Do you think practicing writing is important? Let me know in the comments section .
Choose one of the writing practice posts above. Then, read the lesson and participate in the writing exercise, posting your work in the comments section of that post. And if you post, please give feedback to your fellow writers who also posted their practices.
Have fun and happy practicing!
Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).
Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.
Join over 450,000 readers who are saying YES to practice. You’ll also get a free copy of our eBook 14 Prompts :
Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest
Now, Take Your Idea and Write a Book!
Enter your email to get a free 3-step worksheet and start writing your book in just a few minutes.
You've got it! Just us where to send your guide.
Enter your email to get our free 10-step guide to becoming a writer.
You've got it! Just us where to send your book.
Enter your first name and email to get our free book, 14 Prompts.
For Writing (68)
- 1 of 7
Building Better Writers…From The Beginning.
Alice Savage & Colin Ward
Language Level: A1-B1
Trio Writing creates academic success at the earliest stages of language acquisition.
Trio Writing Level 3 Student Book with Online Practice
Building Better Writers...From The Beginning.
Trio Writing Level 3 Online Practice Student Access Card
Trio Writing Level 2 Online Practice Teacher Access Card
Trio Writing Level 3 Online Practice Teacher Access Card
Trio Writing Level 1 Online Practice Teacher Access Card
Trio Writing Level 2 Online Practice Student Access Card
Trio Writing Level 2 Student Book with Online Practice
Trio Writing Level 1 Online Practice Student Access Card
Trio Writing is a three-level course that helps beginning English students develop their writing skills through step-by-step instruction.
Trio Writing Level 1 Student Book with Online Practice
- Course or Series (5)
- Advanced (6)
- Beginner (8)
- Elementary (20)
- Intermediate (28)
- Pre-Intermediate (24)
- Upper-Intermediate (13)
- Audio CD (4)
- Book + CD-ROM/DVD-ROM (6)
- CD-ROM (10)
- DVD-ROM (4)
- Online (13)
- Paperback (30)
- e-Book (11)
Type of English
- American (30)
- British (15)
- Audio CD (14)
- IWB Component (1)
- Online Practice (18)
- Adults/Young Adults (52)
- Young Learners (1)
- Self-study (9)
- Student (53)
- Workbook (9)
Are you a learner at B1 English level (intermediate) ? This section offers writing practice to help you write simple connected text on familiar topics that are of personal interest. Texts include forum posts, reviews, messages, short essays and emails.
Each lesson has a preparation task, a model text with writing tips and three tasks to check your understanding and to practise a variety of writing skills. Make a start today.
Choose a writing lesson
A class forum
Learn how to write a post on a class forum.
- Read more about A class forum
- Log in or register to post comments
A professional profile
Learn how to write a professional profile.
- Read more about A professional profile
A report on a student meeting
Learn how to write a report.
- Read more about A report on a student meeting
A restaurant review
Learn how to write a restaurant review.
- Read more about A restaurant review
A thank-you message
Learn how to write a thank-you message to a colleague.
- Read more about A thank-you message
An email giving holiday advice
Learn how to write an email to give holiday advice.
- Read more about An email giving holiday advice
An email to explain an accommodation problem
Learn how to write an email to explain a problem with your accommodation.
- Read more about An email to explain an accommodation problem
An email to invite someone to a job interview
Learn how to write an email to invite someone to a job interview.
- Read more about An email to invite someone to a job interview
Describing a bar chart
Learn how to write about trends in a bar chart.
- Read more about Describing a bar chart
Learn how to write about charts.
- Read more about Describing charts
New Year's resolutions
Learn how to write about your New Year's resolutions.
- Read more about New Year's resolutions
Learn how to write a reflective text about a learning experience.
- Read more about Reflective writing
Learn to write in English with confidence
Our online English classes feature lots of useful writing materials and activities to help you develop your writing skills with confidence in a safe and inclusive learning environment.
Practise writing with your classmates in live group classes, get writing support from a personal tutor in one-to-one lessons or practise writing by yourself at your own pace with a self-study course.
Writing How to Write a Book: Complete Step-by-Step Guide Written by MasterClass Last updated: Mar 2, 2022 • 5 min read A step-by-step guide can help new authors overcome the intimidating parts of writing a book, allowing them to stay focused and maximize their creativity.
How to write a book: 1. Start with an idea that you love 2. Research by reading books by other writers 3. Outline the story 4. Plan the opening sentence of your book 5. Write the messy first draft 6. Set a schedule with achievable goals 7. Find a good writing space 8. Pick a "distraction-free" book-writing software 9.
Best Books on Writing (745 books) Discover new books on Goodreads Meet your next favorite book Join Goodreads Listopia Best Books on Writing Books on writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and more. flag All Votes Add Books To This List ← Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next →
Browse, shop and download Writing teaching and learning resources from Cambridge English. Skip to content ... Writing Extra A resource book of multi-level skills activities. ISBN: 9780521532877 . Author: ...
7 On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King Best for: Fiction writers Any writer who dreams of publishing a novel should add On Writing to their to-read (or to-reread) list. Part writing how-to and part memoir, King's book is a modern classic. (I've read it three times so far.)
Amazon.com. Spend less. Smile more.
Do your book a favor and use a tool built for book production A simpler way to write A beautiful interface built for distraction-free writing. Our formatting toolbar makes it easy to apply styles as you write. When it comes to typesetting, consistency is key. Learn more about how to format your book here. Collaborative editing
The book starts with "The Elementary Rules of Usage," where the authors explain some of the basic concepts of grammar and style like: Place a comma before a conjunction introducing an independent clause (chapter #4) Do not join independent clauses with a comma (chapter #5)
10 Best Books for Learning English Writing: 1. The Oxford Essential Guide to Writing 2. Great Writing Foundations Student's Book 3. Writing Better English for ESL Learners 4. Writing Sentences - Structured Tasks for English Practice 5. Better English Writing - Improve Your Writing Power 6. Writing Learn to Write Better Academic Essays 7.
Learn how to improve your English writing in this video lesson. You'll see how you can make your written English clearer, easier to read and more effective. ... Book your first Oxford Online English lesson for just 5.99 USD. Get Started . Formal and Informal English - Video. Learn how to use formal and informal English in spoken or written ...
When you write a letter you should keep in mind the following points. 1. Purpose 2. Person to whom it is addressed 3. Tone you should adopt 4. Completeness of the message 5. Action required 6. Conciseness of expression We have so far considered the content of letters. A letter also has a typical format.
Our free online tool helps you to practise your writing and get valuable feedback instantly. Write & Improve is simple to use: just choose a task, write or upload a written response and use the feedback to quickly improve. It shows you how to improve your spelling, grammar and vocabulary. Join over 2 million learners of English who have used ...
Learn to write in English with confidence. Our online English classes feature lots of useful writing materials and activities to help you develop your writing skills with confidence in a safe and inclusive learning environment. Practise writing with your classmates in live group classes, get writing support from a personal tutor in one-to-one ...
MacMillan English School Books These are essential for anyone who's learning English as a second language (ESL). English is an extremely complicated language, and unless you've grown up speaking, reading, and writing it, there are subtle nuances that take a long time to pick up.
This book provides writing activities for advanced learners of English language and literature. Writing from Within Through a range of exciting activities, this two-level series draws on students' world knowledge, beliefs, and personal experiences to teach various aspects of the writing process.
American English | For English Language Teachers Around the World
The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person's Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (Hardcover) by. Steven Pinker (Goodreads Author) (shelved 2 times as english-writing) avg rating 4.05 — 8,074 ratings — published 2014. Want to Read. Rate this book. 1 of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars.
Writing a book is both a vocation and an avocation—that is, both a job and a passion. Figure out why you need to write, and why you want to write. Keep your goal or goals in mind as motivation. Just remember to keep them realistic. You probably won't become the next J.K. Rowling by your first novel. 2 Set up a workspace that works for you.
Science research writing for non-native speakers of English Hilary Glasman-Deal. 5.0 / 5.0 0 comments. Download Science research writing for non-native speakers of English book for free from Z-Library . Request Code : ZLIBIO2895222. Categories: Suggest Category. Year: 2020 Edition: Second Language: English Pages: 1
How to write a book in 13 steps How you write a book is a matter of personal preference and depends on the type of book you're writing. For example, if you're writing nonfiction history, you're going to need to have a much more extensive research process than someone completing a collection of poetry. 1 Do your research
This book is a great introduction to how suffrage organizations across Britain used art as part of their political campaigns. We several postcards in our collection created by the Suffrage Atelier League and other British-based suffrage organizations. Search the library catalog for print and eBooks.
The simple answer is; very difficult. But the process can be made easier when you get a book published by a publisher like Austin Macauley. Publishing your book sometimes becomes as time taking as writing your book. Choosing the right publisher will, however, make things quick and less time-consuming.
These are some of the best books on writing with insight and wisdom that can support you at all stages of your writing process. 1. Add to Bookshelf. Dreyer's English by Benjamin Dreyer. As Random House's copy chief, Dreyer has upheld the standards of the legendary publisher for more than two decades. He is beloved by authors and editors ...
What Is Writing Practice? Writing practice is a method of becoming a better writer that usually involves reading lessons about the writing process, using writing prompts, doing creative writing exercises, or finishing writing pieces, like essays, short stories, novels, or books.The best writing practice is deliberate, timed, and involves feedback.
Trio Writing Level 3 Student Book with Online Practice. Catalog. First Edition. Building Better Writers...From The Beginning. Alice Savage and Colin Ward ... Trio Writing is a three-level course that helps beginning English students develop their writing skills through step-by-step instruction. Buy from. Trio Writing Level 1 Student Book with ...
B1 writing. Are you a learner at B1 English level (intermediate)? This section offers writing practice to help you write simple connected text on familiar topics that are of personal interest. Texts include forum posts, reviews, messages, short essays and emails. Each lesson has a preparation task, a model text with writing tips and three tasks ...
Writing: A textbook to improve essay writing and to avoid Chinglish. Volume 1 March 2020 Authors: Kizito Tekwa Guangdong University of Foreign Studies Abstract This book guides students through...