10 best books for fiction writers published in 2023

10 best books for fiction writers listed below encompass a range of invaluable resources offering practical advice and inspiration to enhance your writing skills. These books cover various aspects of fiction writing, making them essential companions on your journey to becoming a successful fiction author. They can help hone your craft and create captivating and impactful narratives. Because one of the most effective ways to improve your writing is by learning from those who have mastered the art of fiction.

(Don’t) Stop Me if You’ve Heard This Before and Other Essays on Writing Fiction by Peter Turchi (January 2023)

10 best books for fiction writers published in 2023

In (Don’t) Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before, Peter Turchi dives into the complex mechanics of storytelling. He offers a combination of personal narrative and insightful close readings of various stories and novels. Turchi’s exploration uncovers how writers craft fiction that resonates deeply with readers. Drawing on classic authors Charles Dickens, Anton Chekhov and Mark Twain and contemporary writers Toni Morrison and Colson Whitehead, Turchi sheds light on the nuances of character authority, point of view, information release and more.

In sum, Turchi emphasises the value of discussing works in progress and offers a perspective on learning from admired texts. And his book is an insightful resource for writers looking to elevate their craft, transcending the basics of storytelling.

Peter Turchi is an accomplished author with a teaching background known for his insightful contributions to the literary world. Turchi’s journey encompasses achievements such as the Washington College’s Sophie Kerr Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He also held positions as a faculty member at Northwestern University and Appalachian State University.

How to Write Erotica by Rachel Kramer Bussel (February 2023)

10 best books for fiction writers published in 2023

How to Write Erotica by Rachel Kramer Bussel is one of the best books for fiction writers seeking to understand the world of erotic fiction. Rachel Kramer Bussel is a prolific author, editor and educator known for her captivating storytelling and extensive editorial work. Bussel has a remarkable portfolio of over seventy anthologies, including Best Women’s Erotica of the Year and The Big Book of Orgasms. She provides an accessible guide to crafting captivating and enticing narratives, whether you are a seasoned writer or a newcomer to the genre. Bussel’s expert advice, practical examples and interviews with successful erotica authors will help you navigate the complexities of erotic writing.

Drawing on over twenty years of experience as an erotica author and editor, her anthologies have earned prestigious accolades, including 3 Samois Anthology Awards and the 2021 John Preston Short Fiction Award. Bussel’s storytelling extends to empowering others to share their voices through writing, reflecting her mission to inspire and encourage writers to bring their narratives to life. Bussel’s book is your roadmap to becoming a captivating erotica writer and making your mark in the world of fiction.

How to Write a Science Fiction Novel: Create a Captivating Science Fiction Novel with Confidence by Hackney and Jones (March 2023)

The cover of "How to Write a Science Fiction Novel: Create a Captivating Science Fiction Novel with Confidence" by Hackney and Jones (2023)

How to Write a Science Fiction Novel by Hackney and Jones teaches how to create a compelling narrative featuring futuristic technology, artificial intelligence or intergalactic travel. With plenty of prompts and tips, the authors provide a step-by-step plan on how to outline and write a sci-fi novel in 30 days. Furthermore, Hackney and Jones explain how to create compelling plot twists, engaging characters and substantial endings.

Meet the authors behind How to Write a Science Fiction Novel, Claire Hackney and Vicky Jones. Claire, a former English literature teacher, joined Vicky, an author and singer-songwriter, to create this invaluable resource. Claire’s passion for history and Vicky’s adventurous spirit have contributed to their unique perspectives on writing. They offer practical insights and tools to aspiring writers embarking on their novel-writing journey.

Word Sorcery 101: A Guide to Better Writing by Vanessa Ricci-Thode (April 2023)

The cover of "Word Sorcery 101: A Guide to Better Writing" by Vanessa Ricci-Thode

Word Sorcery 101 by Vanessa Ricci-Thode serves novice writers and explains the publishing process. With clear and concise language, the book offers essential insights into the foundations of compelling storytelling. Additionally, one of the standout features of this book is its emphasis on self-editing — an indispensable skill for any writer. Ricci-Thode’s expert advice on refining one’s work ensures that your manuscript reaches its full potential before submission. Moreover, the book provides a roadmap through editing stages in the publishing journey, clarifying what to expect and how to navigate them. Ricci-Thode’s approach is grounded in practicality, making Word Sorcery 101 a user-friendly guide that demystifies the writing and publishing processes.

Write Yourself Out of a Corner: 100 Exercises to Unlock Creativity by Alice LaPlante (May 2023)

The cover of "Write Yourself Out of a Corner: 100 Exercises to Unlock Creativity" by Alice LaPlante

Write Yourself Out of a Corner by Alice LaPlante is a source of inspiration for writers of all levels. Alice LaPlante‘s resourceful constraint-based prompts provide the necessary nudge to ignite your creative spark. LaPlante offers a collection of 100 exercises that serve as both creative constraints and liberation for your imagination. Each exercise has a distinct purpose, be it refining your dialogue skills, conjuring vivid imagery or tapping into intense emotions. LaPlante breaks down student examples to effectively illustrate how to achieve these goals.

Alice LaPlante’s expertise as an accomplished writer and writing instructor resonates throughout the book. Her acclaimed novel, Turn of Mind became the New York Times bestseller. Now, she shares her insights to inspire and guide your fiction writing journey.

The Art of Writing: A Comprehensive Guide to Crafting Your Masterpiece by Bill Vincent (July 2023)

10 best books for fiction writers published in 2023

The Art of Writing: A Comprehensive Guide to Crafting Your Masterpiece by Bill Vincent offers a wealth of knowledge to elevate your writing journey. At its core, Vincent prioritises world-building, demonstrating how to construct immersive environments that captivate readers. Furthermore, chapters dedicated to shaping unique worlds, describing settings and mastering character dialogue provide invaluable tools for your manuscript. By exploring elements such as voice, point of view, pacing and tension, the book shows how to keep readers engaged.

The Art of Writing ranks among the best books for fiction writers that address the artistic and technical dimensions of writing. It dives into themes, fostering depth and meaning in your narratives. Moreover, Vincent tackles challenges writers commonly face, offering strategies to overcome writer’s block and encouraging continuous improvement.

Bill Vincent is an author of 50 books who brings a unique perspective to writing. With over two decades of experience in ministry, Bill combines his calling with his passion for writing.

World-Building for Writers: The Workbook by H. C. Harrington (August 2023)

10 best books for fiction writers published in 2023

World-Building for Writers: The Workbook by H. C. Harrington is among the recent must-read best books for fiction writers. With practical exercises and thought-provoking prompts, this book steers you through crafting captivating fictional works. It is not just about world-building in isolation. Harrison makes a case for seamlessly intertwining these elements into the plot, enriching the narrative with resonating details that captivate your readers.

H. C. Harrington is an accomplished American novelist and teacher with a background in anthropology and history. As the author of the Amazon #1 bestselling novels Daughter of Havenglade Fantasy and The Inquisitor, Harrington brings a wealth of literary experience.

The Plot Skeleton by Angela E. Hunt (August 2023)

10 best books for fiction writers published in 2023

The Plot Skeleton by Angela E. Hunt is one of the best books for fiction writers, especially if you are eager to enhance your storytelling prowess. Angela Hunt, a seasoned novelist and writing instructor, uncovers the fundamental structure that underpins every captivating story. Comparable to the skeletons, which all humans have, beneath the surface, all stories share a common framework. Hunt’s lessons are purposefully succinct, empowering you to translate theory into practice and elevate your writing skills seamlessly. All in all, this book grants you access to Angela’s invaluable insights, ensuring your writing journey takes a transformative turn.

Angela Hunt, an author and Christy Award winner, is known for her talent in delivering unexpected twists in her novels. With over 5 million copies sold, she has authored over 150 works across various genres.

The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Alternate History: A Handbook on Craft, Art, and History by Jack Dann (August 2023)

10 best books for fiction writers published in 2023

The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Alternate History by Jack Dann navigates the complex world of alternate history storytelling. Jack Dann is a prolific and globally recognised author, editor, lecturer and anthologist. He is a research fellow at the School of Communication and Arts, University of Queensland, Australia. Dann discusses the particulars of counterfactual fiction, helping you understand the art of creating divergent points and building immersive worlds. From essential techniques like ‘Heinleining’ to paratextual elements and layering, this book equips you to overcome the challenges of crafting alternate histories.

The Fiction Writer’s Guide also features Q&A sessions with alternate history authors like Kim Stanley Robinson and John Birmingham, offering insights into their approaches and strategies. This book is an essential companion for those seeking to master the craft of alternate history fiction and enhance their storytelling.

About Editing: An Essential Guide for Authors by Sallianne Hines (August 2023)

10 best books for fiction writers published in 2023

About Editing written by Sallianne Hines, a seasoned author and editor, highlights the often-underestimated power of proper editing. Hines skilfully takes you through the editing world, showcasing how this essential step can elevate your manuscript. Thus, About Editing is a must-read if you want to understand the editing process holistically. Hines covers various types of editing and highlights when each is necessary.

Moreover, this book provides a comprehensive roadmap for crafting polished and impactful writing. It covers everything from preparing your work to maximising your editing budget and identifying tasks you can tackle yourself. Perhaps the most valuable aspect of About Editing is its guidance on selecting an effective editor and ways to save on editing. Drawing from her experience as an editor and author, Hines provides insider tips on refining writing and optimising budget.

Other resources

In the pursuit of crafting a remarkable fiction book, remember to harness the power of professional editing. While the 10 best books for fiction writers provide essential insights, collaborating with an experienced editor may further elevate your text. For instance, a skilled editor may refine your prose, fortify your plot and ensure it resonates with readers. This partnership may enhance your book’s quality, readability and publishing success.

Developmental editing focuses on shaping and enhancing the text’s structure, content and storyline or argument. Working with a qualified developmental editor may provide authors with direction on topics like organisation, narrative flow and material presentation. Furthermore, they may offer advice on improving clarity and the logical evolution of ideas and keeping the readers engaged. 

Later on, line editing may help bring out the authorial voice, tighten the sentences and ensure the text will resonate with its target readership. Line editing is important because it works on the effectiveness of every sentence and paragraph. Finally, copyediting and proofreading prepare the presentation of the text to make it clear, consistent and correct and ensure it is ready for publication.

Final thoughts

In fiction writing, knowledge is the key that unlocks the door to creativity and success. As we have explored the 2023 publishing landscape, we have uncovered the essential resources you should have in your arsenal. From honing your craft to navigating the complexities of the publishing world, the 10 best books for fiction writers published in 2023 provide invaluable guidance and practical exercises. From Rachel Kramer Bussel’s expertise in crafting compelling and engaging erotica to Jack Dann’s mastery of alternate history, each author brings unique insights.

Still, you may consider hiring a professional editor, which may help turn a draft into a polished, marketable book. Contact me for a free sample edit (and remember to use my early bird discount) to determine which editing service may help your manuscript. If you want to hear more from me, follow me on Mastodon, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn or join my newsletter.

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I am an editor, indexer and a lifelong lover of literature with a PhD in literary history. I am an Intermediate Member of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading (CIEP), a student member of the Society of Indexers and a vetted partner of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).