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A Reading List for High School Creative Writing Teachers

A Reading List for High School Creative Writing Teachers

Image Credit: Stephen King novel cover

Written by Liz Prather
January 20, 2014

Tonight I thought I would post a list of books that have been helpful to me in this journey.  Some of these books I use weekly to generate ideas or exercises; some I have just read for inspiration and others I keep in the classroom (Best American Short Stories, Best American Poetry, etc.) for students to use for modeling and enjoyment.  Hope this list is helpful!

Books for Great Writing Exercises

Barrington, Judith. Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art

Behn, Robin and Chase Twichell. The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach

Bernays, Anne and Pamela Painter.  What If?: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers

Boisseau, Michelle, and Robert Wallace, Randall Mann. Writing Poems

Browne, Renni and Dave King.  Self Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print

Burroway, Janet,and Elizabeth Stuckey-French. Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft

Burroway, Janet. Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft

Clark, Kevin.  The Mind’s Eye: A Guide to Writing Poetry

Edgar, Christopher and Ron Padgett.  Old Faithful: 18 Writers Present their Favorite Writing Assignments

Fletcher, Ralph.  Writing Workshop: The Essential Guide

Heard, Georgia. Writing Toward Home: Tales and Lessons to Find Your Way.

Maisel, Eric.  Fearless Creating: A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting and Completing Your Work of Art

Neubach, Bonnie.  The Write-Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate your Writing

Rabiner, Susan and Alfred Fortunato. Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Non-Fiction and Get It Published

Schneider, Pat. Writing Alone and With Others

Smith, Michael, and Suzanne Greenberg.  Everyday Creative Writing: Pawing for Gold in the Kitchen Sink.

Stoddard, David. 200 Writing Prompts

Strand, Mark and Eavan Boland. The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms.

Theil, Diane. Winding Roads: Exercises in Writing Creative Non-Fiction

Thomas, Frank P. How To Write the Story of your Life.

Wisniewski, Mark.  Writing and Revising Your Fiction.

Books for Great Grammar Lessons

Benjamin, Amy with Tom Oliva. Engaging Grammar: Practical Advice for Real Classrooms.

Elster, Charles Harrington.  The Accidents of Style: Good Advice on How Not to Write Badly

Joseph, Sister Miriam. The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric: Understanding the Nature and Function of Language.

Morenberg, Max. Doing Grammar

Schusters, Edgar. Breaking the Rules: Liberating Writers Through Innovative Grammar Instruction

Struck and White. Elements of Style

Trimble, John R. Writing with Style: Conversations on the Art of Writing

Truss, Lynne.  Eats Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation

Weaver, Constance. Teaching Grammar In Context


 Books That Should Be on Your Christmas List ANNUALLY

Best Teen Writing

Best American Short Stories

Best American Essays

Best American Poetry

Best American Sports Writing (Mystery Writing, Spiritual Writing, etc.)

Poetry 180

Great Books on Writing You should Read and Ponder During the Summer

Agee, James.  Agee on Film

Atwood, Margaret.  Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing

Baxter, Charles. Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction

Cameron, Julia. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Dillard, Annie. The Writing Life

Forster, E. M. Aspects of the Novel

Goldberg, Natalie.  Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Goldberg, Natalie. The True Secret of Writing

Gornick, Vivian. The Story and the Situation

Gutkind, Lee. The Art of Creative Nonfiction: Writing and Selling Literature of Reality

Hampl, Patricia. I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory

Keyes, Ralph.  The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear

King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of Craft

Klinkenborg, Verlyn. Several Short Sentences about Writing

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life

Oates, Joyce Carol. The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art.

Pressfield, Steven.  The War of Art: Breakthrough the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Prose, Francine. Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them

Roorbach, Bill. Writing Life Stories: How to Make Memories into Memoirs

See, Carolyn. Making a Literary Life: Advice for Writers and Other Dreamers

Ueland, Brenda. If You Want To Write: A Book about Independent and Spirit

Welty, Eudora.  The Eye of the Story

Woolf, Virgina. Women and Writing

Zinsser, William. Writing About Your Life: A Journey Into the Past


Great How-To Books on Specific Forms & Anthologies of Specific Forms 

Blythe, Will, editor.  On Being a Writer: Advice and Inspiration

Cassill, R.V. Writing Fiction

Dilliard, Annie and Cort Conley, editors. Modern American Memoirs

Dowst, Robert Saunders. The Technique of Fiction Writing

Field, Syd. The Screenwriter’s Workbook

Igelesias, Karl. The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Screenwriters

King, Viki. How to Write a Movie in 21 Days

Kitchen, Judith and Mary Paumier Jones, editors.  In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Non-Fiction

Lehman, David, editor.  Great American Prose Poems

Shapard, Robert and James Thomas. Sudden Fiction: American Short-Short Stories

Shapard, Robert and James Thomas. Sudden Fiction: International Short-Short Stories

Shapard, Robertand James Thomas.  New Sudden Fiction: Short-Short Stories from America and Beyond

Slate, Barbara. You Can Do a Graphic Novel

Spencer, Stuart. The Playwright’s Guidebook: An Insightful Primer on the Art of Dramatic Writing

Synder, Blake. Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need

Trotter, David. Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script

Winokur, Jon., editor.   Advice to Writers: A Compendium of Quotes, Anecdotes, and Writerly Wisdom from a Dazzling Array of Literary Lights

Zinsser, Williams, editor.  Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir