Though the book is partially his autobiography and not really discussing writing all the time, he is definitely one of the few writers who can talk about writing and not have me running for the hills. Most of the books on writing out there that I would endorse (beyond grammar books) are by editors, not writers. I suspect this is because editors are trained to analyze why a piece of writing is good or not (it's their job), while a writer just writes.
Most of the books out there are junk. Stephen King only endurses the classic Elements of Style by E. B. White and says the rest are junk. I'm a bit more liberal. Here's my list of suggested books:
- The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman (a literary agent)
- 78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might by Pat Walsh (an editor at a publishing house)
- Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver. Man, I wish everyone in my MFA program would read this book, which outlines how to write a basic story.
- How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. It has a lot of good general advice, though his section on submitting makes it sound like getting accepted is just another minor activity. I can't blame him; it's been a while since his work was rejected.