I have a writer-friend who has no use for “how to write” books. She feels that reading good writing is the best way to learn the craft. I can’t really argue with her. She has a literary agent, and her first novel will be published by a major publishing house in the near future. So her approach seems to have worked very well for her.
Although I do believe reading good writing is essential to becoming a good writer, I also find “how to write” books to be not only interesting reading but helpful to me. The topics mentioned in such books often cause me to look at aspects of my own writing that I might not have considered without being prompted.
Below are the titles of three books on writing that I have found particularly enlightening, encouraging, and engaging:
Write Away by Elizabeth George
On Writing by Stephen King
The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
How do you feel about “how to write” books? If you read such books, which one(s) have you found to be well worth the time and money you invested? Why?
Do you feel that there is a certain "stage" of a writer's career where such books are helpful, and that good writers eventually "outgrow" that stage?