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Required Reading for Wanna-Be Writers

Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande

First published in 1934, this is still the best book ever written on the subject, and always the first one I recommend.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

This is a very encouraging book, and I don't usually recommend those because in this day of "Free the Writer Within" books, I think we need more books that point out that there might not be a writer within.  However, this is a wonderful book about writing as a process, and should be read by all real writers. 


Playwriting: Writing, Producing and Selling Your Play by Louis E. Catron

With all due respect to the publishers, I've always thought this book was badly titled.  It's really a much less specific book.  It's a great primer on writing of any sort, with wonderful exercises designed to teach plot, characterization, dialogue, etc.  Dr. Catron was my mentor at the College of William and Mary and is someone who was put on the planet to teach writing.  This is a great book.  I also recommend his follow-up book The Elements of Playwriting as well.

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