A few months ago I read "Save The Cat", which is a how-to book about screenwriting. Although I'm not a screenwriter, I found it's practical advice so fascinating, I began to wonder if an equivalent existed for the kind of writing I do (prose, non fiction, memoir). It seems obvious now: there is a LOT. After some research, I narrowed my list to 3 titles. In the past I pooh-pooed how to write guides, thinking snobbishly “I already know how to write, I don't need any help”. Lies! Ego! Writing is a craft, and writers are always honing it. Here are the books I read. They were interesting, inspiring, motivating and extremely helpful. I'm already a better writer for just having read them.
On Writing by Stephen King, book #24.
Half autobiography, half a guide to writing. Absolutely riveting. Full of great advice, written in a frank, approachable style. Very inspiring and motivating.
On Writing Well, by William Zinsser book #25
Holy crap, where has this book been all my life? Jam packed with useful stuff, it is also funny, interesting and warm= it feels like a one-on-one conversation with a firm but fair mentor. It's also, unsurprisingly, fantastically well written. I couldn't put it down.
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. & E.B White, book #26
Finally, the classic, which has its origins in a university textbook published back in 1869. It's more manual than book, and widely considered to be THE best writing guide there is. It's just so damn useful. Use and Misuse, Style, etc etc etc. A little pocket rocket of Do's and Don'ts. Bingo!