I'm never going to go back to school for an M.F.A in Creative Writing (the workshop scene in Girls alone made me die) but I can always read. So. Here's my personal M.F.A syllabus.
  1. Steering the Craft by Ursula LeGuin
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  2. Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life by Natalie Goldberg
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  3. What If: Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers by Anne Bernard and Pamela Painter
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  4. Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott
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  5. If You Want to Write, Brenda Ueland
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    This one is hands down my favorite. Published in 1938, Ueland is way ahead of her time with her generous and inclusive approach to writing.
  6. The Elements of Style, Strunk and White
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    For when I want to know the rules.
  7. A Poetry Handbook, Mary Oliver
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  8. The Forest for the Trees, Betsy Lerner
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  9. Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke
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    A well of inspiration. "Ask yourself in the most silent hour of the night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent... then build your life in accordance with this necessity."
  10. The Craft of Fiction, Percy Lubbock
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    This one's my favorite cover. Percy takes the modern novel apart to let you look at all its parts.
  11. The Writing Life, Annie Dillard
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  12. Stephen King, On Writing
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    I let my dad borrow this for a short story he was working on and he still has it.
  13. Mystery and Manners, Flannery O'Connor
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    This is a book of essays, but she has a section about authors/and their personal geography as well as some thoughts on the Southern Gothic as a genre.
  14. And also, while you're here, read George Saunder's essay on what writers do when they write