A bit of irony: some of the writing advice books I find most helpful come from authors whose books I don’t read or am not a fan of. Here are a few books I consider to be writing advice from the best:
Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. I have enjoyed reading a handful of King’s novels, but I don’t go out of my way to read him. His book on writing is spot-on. Excellent advice.
Rita Mae Brown
Rita Mae Brown’s Starting from Scratch: A Different Kind of Writers Manual. I particularly like her advice on sharpening your ear for dialogue. I don’t recall ever reading any of her novels.
Natalie Goldberg’s numerous writing advice books. I prefer Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer’s Craft. In my mind there is no better book on writing. She provokes the writer to dig deeply, to write till it hurts. But I have not read any of her fiction.
And Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You. I’ve read some of his fiction, and enjoyed it, but I am not a huge fan. Such great writing advice, though. I was lucky to have attended a book signing of his in 2009. I wrote about it in an older post. A favorite quote: “In quickness is truth. The faster you blurt, the more swiftly you write. The more honest you are. In hesitation is thought. In delay comes the effort for a style, instead of leaping upon truth which is the ONLY style worth tiger-trapping.”