Personally, I hate making silly little mistakes that could have easily been prevented had I bothered to do a bit of research. So it's no surprise that I have a bookshelf crammed with how-to manuals on writing.
My collection spans a range of topics from the technical aspects of grammar and punctuation to fun volumes written by other writers on how they do it. I've even got some good ones on marketing and how to run a business, because ultimately, most of us want to make an income from writing. My own goal for writing is to have it become my retirement profession, and I'd like to be able to retire in 5 years - yes I'm planning a really, really, early retirement :)
If you have any suggestions of more books I should read and recommend, please send my the name and author at firstname.lastname@example.org
Books on Grammar, Punctuation and Style
Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain - This is perhaps the best book on writing I've ever read. It's heavy reading but it draws your attention to the finer aspects of telling your story.
How Not To Write A Novel by Howard Mittelmark. This hysterical look into common mistakes will ensure you don't ever make them yourself.
The Elements of Style: 50th Anniversary Edition By William Strunk. I have the original edition, I can only assume the 50th edition is that much better.
The Gremlins of Grammar by Toni Boyle. This is a fun book to read and has some very good grammar points.
Thesaurus of Alternatives to Worn-Out Words & Phrases by Robert Hartwell Fiske. Avoid those phrases that make your audience roll their eyes and wonder of you have an original thought left to write.
No Plot? No Problem!: A High-Velocity, Low-Stress Way to Write a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty. Strategies for embarking on the insane challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. (See http://NaNoWriMo.org to join a group near you)
Character and World Development
Creating Characters: How to Build Story People by Dwight V. Swain. He takes you through every aspect of your character. The better you know your characters, the better you can tell their stories.
The Writer's Digest Sourcebook for Building Believable Characters by Marc McCutcheon. Not so much a how-to guide for building characters, but this book has a great character thesaurus - lists upon lists to help your character descriptions leap off the page.
Body Language For Dummies by Elizabeth Kuhnke. How to interpret body language to convey meaning. While not technically a writing book, you can use these common movements to better show what your characters are feeling instead of telling the reader about it.
Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Haille Ephron. Even if you don't write mysteries, learning how to keep the reader turning the pages because they want to know what happens next is vital for any author.
Writing And Selling The Young Adult Novel by K.L. Going. This is one of the better books I've found for established writer's who want to make the switch to Young Adult.
Wild Ink: How to Write Fiction for Young Adults by Victoria Hanley. For anyone just starting out and keen on writing young adult novels, this is a good resource that also covers many aspects of submitting and the publishing industry.
Writing Romance by Vanessa Grant. Start to finish advice on how to plan, research, write and publish your romance novel.
How to Write a Dirty Story: Reading, Writing, and Publishing Erotica by Susie Bright. No matter what your genre, Susie gives tips on how to add sparks to your character relationships
Books by Authors on Writing
On Writing by Stephen King. I will freely admit that this is the only book of his I've read. I'm scared silly to read any of his novels. He reminds us that writing isn't all fun and games, there's *gasp* work involved if you want to make-it.
How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author by Janet Evanovich with Ina Yalof. A funny and informative peek into her perspective and writing life.
The Joy of Writing: A Guide for Writers Disguised as a Literary Memoir by Pierre Burton. He covers everything in a witty way that makes turning each page a necessity.
Artists Way 10th Anniversary Edition by Julia Cameron. Reclaim your confidence and work through the blocks you've consciously, or sub-consciously, put in your own path.
Who is buying? What they want? How to submit.
The Canadian Writer's Market, 18th Edition by Joanna Karaplis
2010 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market by Alice Pope
2010 Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market by Alice Pope
2010 Writer's Market Deluxe by Robert Lee Brewer
2010 Writer's Market by Robert Lee Brewer
Christian Writers' Market Guide 2010 by Sally E. Stuart
2010 Poet's Market by Robert Lee Brewer
The Business Bit
Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk. Practical advice for turning your passion into your main source of income.
167 Tax Tips for Canadian Small Business: Beat the Taxman to Keep More Money in Your Business by Stephen Thompson. Make sure you get the most up to date edition, he revises it every year to help you take advantage of new changes in Canadian Tax Laws.
Canadian Small Business Kit For Dummies By Margaret Kerr. A simple, easy to follow guide to set up your business.