Can you recommend a general writing book for me?

37 replies
Hi folks,

I'm looking for recommendations on books about general writing (not copywriting per se.)

Although I've been writing for years now, I'd like to solidify my skills with books that teach best practises, principles, structure, techniques, ideas, etc.

Have you read many books on writing, if so, which would you recommend for me?

Kind regards,

Nick
#book #general #recommend #writing
  • Profile picture of the author Irish Intuition
    Nick,

    On Writing WellOn Writing Well by William Zinsser

    That slouch Kevin Rogers told me to get it. I found it
    to be VERY good... now if only I would finish it :rolleyes:
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    • Profile picture of the author iLifestyleClub
      Originally Posted by IM Viper View Post

      Nick,

      On Writing Well by William Zinsser

      That slouch Kevin Rogers told me to get it. I found it
      to be VERY good... now if only I would finish it :rolleyes:
      Thanks for the heads up on this book.
      I am also looking for good book on the subject.
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      Make A Difference

      Enjoying Traveling the World! :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author AnneE
      Originally Posted by IM Viper View Post

      Nick,

      On Writing Well by William Zinsser

      That slouch Kevin Rogers told me to get it. I found it
      to be VERY good... now if only I would finish it :rolleyes:
      I would second this recommendation and ironically, my mom and I were discussing writing a few weeks ago and she said her writing really improved when someone recommended this book to her. But she just wished it had happened before she was 60!

      I thought it was fun reading though and easy to finish. Or maybe that was just compared to my other college texts.
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    • Profile picture of the author bukriv
      Originally Posted by IM Viper View Post

      Nick,

      On Writing Well by William Zinsser

      That slouch Kevin Rogers told me to get it. I found it
      to be VERY good... now if only I would finish it :rolleyes:

      I agree. If you want a book on writing that covers almost every area (travel, copywriting, humor, etc.), this is the one. And just like E.B. White, William Zinsser advocates simplicity in writing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Alexander
    You've been writing for years, so there's a very good chance you've read the following. But just in case I'll assume some might be new to you.

    I found Stephen King's book, "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft", I think it's called, was a great resource.

    He should know writing obviously, and he's got great advice in the latter part of the book for these kinds of needs. Enjoyable and fun to read. You can probably get a good idea from the Amazon reviews of whether it's something you'd like.

    This is a bit off from what you're looking for, but one of the best, honest-to-goodness "secret" books I've beat up, highlighted and dog-eared repeatedly is "The Story Factor" by Anette Simmons.

    It's not exactly on writing - but the principles on persuasion through story are applicable in print and otherwise. Again - it's not a technical how-to like you're asking for, but it's a good subject here to share the book with others - it's that good. It's more about persuasion and influence using stories. I rarely hear people talk about it which surprises me a bit.

    Of course, if you don't have the Strunk and White book, "The Elements of Style", that's good too. It's more rules and the technical aspects of "correct" writing. But...good chance you've got it or heard about it.

    Just a few thoughts. Hope it helps a bit.
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    • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
      Originally Posted by Nathan Alexander View Post

      I found Stephen King's book, "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft", I think it's called, was a great resource.
      Nathan's offered up a real, honest-to-goodness gem.

      Amazon.com: On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition:...Amazon.com: On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition:...

      - Rick Duris
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    • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
      Originally Posted by Nathan Alexander View Post

      I found Stephen King's book, "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft", I think it's called, was a great resource.
      Agreed. I also found "A Writer's Coach" by: Jack Hart Extremely helpful...very good practical advice and applications/examples.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Alexander
    Oh, and I second "On Writing Well" as well. It's a good one too as IM Viper said.
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  • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
    Hi Nick,

    Here are three excellent ones from my bookshelf:

    1)Getting the Words Right: How to Rewrite, Edit and Revise by Theodore A. Rees Cheney
    Gives you lots of tools and examples for looking at your writing and improving it

    2)The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition by Christopher E. Vogler
    This is a kind of Bible for screenwriters, but it's good for anyone trying to understand the dynamics of storytelling

    3)Plain Style: Techniques for Simple, Concise, Emphatic Business Writing by Richard Lauchman
    Kind of academic, but helps you write precisely, clearly and with impact

    Marcia Yudkin
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    Check out Marcia Yudkin's No-Hype Marketing Academy for courses on copywriting, publicity, infomarketing, marketing plans, naming, and branding - not to mention the popular "Marketing for Introverts" course.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
    Great stuff, thanks guys!

    I've ordered some of your recommendations.

    @Nathan, I bought Story Factor months ago, forgot I had it, haven't read it yet! I must get round to it, as we all know how powerful stories can be.
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    • Profile picture of the author 247Copywriter
      This could easily have been sold as an info product for $2,000 or more, as it is you can buy it for next to nothing and it's nothing short of brilliant...

      Written by Dan Kennedy's partner..... Bill Glazer - Outrageous Advertising that's Outrageously Successful

      Recommended to me by a brilliant copywriter Jon McCulloch from Ireland. If you haven't signed up to his email list, I strongly advise you to do it now.

      Jon well knows how to build up a solid relationship with his list, he hardly ever tries to sell you anything placing much more importance in giving you very good advice for online marketing success.

      One or two of his direct mail pieces are in the above book by Bill Glazer.

      I urge you to buy it now! Very highly recommended.
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      http://www.IMCopywriting.com
      Mark@IMCopywriting.com
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      • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
        Originally Posted by 247Copywriter View Post

        This could easily have been sold as an info product for $2,000 or more, as it is you can buy it for next to nothing and it's nothing short of brilliant...

        Written by Dan Kennedy's partner..... Bill Glazer - Outrageous Advertising that's Outrageously Successful

        Recommended to me by a brilliant copywriter Jon McCulloch from Ireland. If you haven't signed up to his email list, I strongly advise you to do it now.

        Jon well knows how to build up a solid relationship with his list, he hardly ever tries to sell you anything placing much more importance in giving you very good advice for online marketing success.

        One or two of his direct mail pieces are in the above book by Bill Glazer.

        I urge you to buy it now! Very highly recommended.
        Jon is also a very funny guy, by the way. His facebook updates always give me quite a chuckle.

        Best,

        Angel
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      • Profile picture of the author jon.mcculloch
        Originally Posted by 247Copywriter View Post

        Recommended to me by a brilliant copywriter Jon McCulloch from Ireland. If you haven't signed up to his email list, I strongly advise you to do it now.

        Jon well knows how to build up a solid relationship with his list, he hardly ever tries to sell you anything placing much more importance in giving you very good advice for online marketing success.

        One or two of his direct mail pieces are in the above book by Bill Glazer.
        Thank you to everyone for your kind words. I thought I felt my ears burning last night but assumed it was the whiskey.

        As a bit of shameless self promotion, when you opt to receive my daily email tips, you get the stuff of mine Bill gives away, plus the stuff he didn't include with it, and some other goodies, too.

        Warmly,

        Jon
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        Jon McCulloch -- Direct Response Copywriter

        http://www.JonMcCulloch.com

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        • Profile picture of the author ARSuarez
          Originally Posted by jon.mcculloch View Post

          Thank you to everyone for your kind words. I thought I felt my ears burning last night but assumed it was the whiskey.

          As a bit of shameless self promotion, when you opt to receive my daily email tips, you get the stuff of mine Bill gives away, plus the stuff he didn't include with it, and some other goodies, too.

          Warmly,

          Jon
          Hey Jon,

          Didn't know you were a member here. Glad to see you 'round these parts.

          Best,

          Angel
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  • Profile picture of the author jushuaburnham
    I like the one by Herschell Gordon Lewis entitled "Sales Letters That Sizzle".
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Sanchez
    Are you talking copywriting or writing. Lots of threads of books for copywriting.

    Some books on writing:

    Dido the Stephen King recoommendation

    Lawrence Block - Telling Lies for Fun and Profit

    Ronald Tobias - 20 Master Plots And How To Build Them
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  • Profile picture of the author RachelCorrine
    The best book for grammar is by Strunk and White: The Elements of Style. The best book for all things with English Writing is: The Little Brown Handbook. Also, try Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
    Dammit guys... I'm gonna have to bookmark this thread now
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    • Profile picture of the author Nick Brighton
      Originally Posted by IM Viper View Post

      Nick,

      On Writing Well by William Zinsser

      That slouch Kevin Rogers told me to get it. I found it
      to be VERY good... now if only I would finish it :rolleyes:
      I got my copy today. Half way through... very easy reading (as you'd hope and expect!)

      Fantastic little book. Not too sure about the huge chunks on writing for specific subjects, and some more examples would be nice, but it's still a great read.

      You can tell he laboured over each sentence... it reads so smoothly!
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      • Profile picture of the author Bill Eliott
        A song. It's still words.

        Occasionally a fella has to climb out of the sand box, think outside for a bit. Often here it is the litter box.

        Jimmy loves words and so do I, no doubt you as well Nick.

        Jimmy wrote this.

        "I like words. I like the way they clash around together and bang up against each other."

        Jimmy Webb's biblical book Tunesmith. Softcover release 1999.

        Forty years condensed, forty years of a life orchestrating words, arranged for the creme de la creme Howlers of the Music Industry.

        You seek word structure tutelage Nick, this read has it ... in spades.

        A different approach consideration for your new burgeoning sectional library.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Alexander
    Yeah Nick, I felt the same way too. The book is great, but the bigger sections apply only as needed.

    Interesting to watch him go through the process within the book itself and how he edits his own writing and why. Very instructional.
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  • On writing - Stephen King (very short and fun to read).

    Good luck,
    Practical Copywriting
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  • Profile picture of the author DangerRoss
    I think The skills are the same whether you are writing fiction or fact, so dig in, read a bit, study a bit and write a lot.

    Recommended books about: Writing Life Stories ,Writing Memoir,Journaling
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  • Profile picture of the author ramona_livegood
    The best book I ever came across:
    Louder Than Words - by Joe Navarro - Take Your Career from Average to Exceptional with the Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence
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  • Profile picture of the author alysemackie
    I recommend Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury.
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  • Profile picture of the author lennoxtran
    bird by bird is a good book.

    hope that helps
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  • Profile picture of the author homoeroticism
    Banned
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      I strongly recommend this book.

      Don't imagine that just because the title appears to have absolutely no relevance at all to your writing or to your intended writing, all its incidental chat, comments and observations won't make it the best book on writing you've ever read: that assumption could easily be a huge mistake.
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  • Profile picture of the author Carl Galletti
    My personal favorite is:Bird By Bird by Anne LaMott
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    My Very Best to You,
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  • Profile picture of the author corycrabb
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    On Writing Well gets my vote as well but along with
    books on writing I would strongly recommend books
    on editing such as "writetight" by William Brohaugh.

    A huge part of writing is clarity.

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin Rogers
      Great suggestions in here... another secret weapon writing book is "Writing Tools" by Roy Peter Clark. Geared more for journalists, but RPC is one of the best writing instructors on the planet.

      He's also senior scholar at The Poynter Institute where you can find the audio version of the tools free...

      http://www.poynter.org/how-tos/newsg...s-quick-list/\

      ... but I recommend getting the book and reading just one quick lesson per day. It'll open your eyes to the good (and bad) writing around you every day.
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