The best books on writing fiction occupy any seasoned writer’s shelf. Many people believe that writing fiction comes automatically. Stories come from our imagination, after all! However, just because we can all theoretically tell stories, doesn’t mean we can all turn them into compelling works of fiction.
Consider these best books on writing fiction as tools in the arsenal of any writer, no matter your experience. Even the most seasoned writer can learn from the masters.
How to Write Best Selling Fiction by Dean Koontz
This first book concerns more of the business aspects of writing fiction. It has inspired many people to become successful writers, though How to Write Best Selling Fiction costs as much as a college textbook.
Koontz, the best-selling thriller author, methodically walks through the steps of writing successful fiction. He elaborates on the structure of the story, describing the protagonist’s “complications” and where they begin. He even teaches a free-form method of coming up with a novel using word association.
Therefore, those who want to become a best-selling author could make great use of Koontz’s experience.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
On the opposite end of the spectrum, famed horror, Stephen King, details the problem of writing better fiction through the process, rather than just practicality. He believes that writing great fiction is the only cause of great book sales.
On Writing details his process thoroughly from concept to completion. He advocates not only writing well but living “as a writer.” This means tapping into your natural emotions and having the utmost seriousness for your work.
For King, writing is personal. For those who seek to become great fiction writers, and need guidance navigating the mental or spiritual aspects of the journey, King is a great ferryman.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White
This book is the cipher to decode the secrets of fiction writing. It has been used for a century to help writers build their style. This includes learning usage rules and refining principles of composition and form. Strunk designed it as a guide for “clean” writing. He hoped to help writers who were used to sifting through huge multi-volume collections about “writing style.” So he wrote this shorter and more accurate exploration of the process.
Therefore, for prose fiction writers, The Elements of Style is essential reading. Writers still cite its emphasis on composition, active voice, and simplicity. The writer E.B. White released an expanded, revised edition in 1959, hence his co-author credit.
The best books on writing fiction could deal with the business or creative aspects of writing. However, they share in common a love for craft and feeling of great fiction. Whether you hope to become the next best-selling author or to simply hone your skills to make your fantasies come to life, these books on writing fiction represent essential tools in your creative arsenal.