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Writing instructions aren’t pixie dust to instantly transform your writing. How-to books are like tool chests, offering something to help you do the work, but there’s no magic path to avoid the necessity of learning by doing. Here are a few books that have helped writers improve their craft:

20 Master Plots—Ronald B. Tobias
The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction—Jeff Gerke
The Art of Suspense—Ken Follett
The Artist’s Way—Julia Cameron
The Autobiographer’s Handbook—Jennifer Traig
Feature & Magazine Writing—Holly Miller
Getting the Words Right—Theodore Cheney
How to Write Articles for Newspapers and Magazines—Dawn Sova
How to Write Articles that Sell—Jon Samsel
If You Can Talk, You Can Write—Joel Saltzman
Old Friend from Far Away—Natalie Goldberg
Pinckert’s Practical Grammar—Robert Pinckert
Plot versus Character—
Jeff Gerke
Story—Robert McKee
Story Engineering—Larry Brooks
Techniques of the Selling Writer—Dwight Swain
Turning Life into Fiction—Robin Hemley
Write from Life—Meg Files
A Writer’s Guide to Fiction—Elizabeth Lyon
Writing Down the Bones—Natalie Goldberg
Writing the Natural Way—Gabriele Lusser
Writing the Breakout Novel—Donald Maass