The write stuff
How to write and why to write are these books' subjects.
The Art of Character: Creating Memorable Characters for Fiction, Film and TV (Penguin) by David Corbett, a novelist and teacher, is a writer's tool kit for using detail, emotion and more to create compelling, believable characters.
How to Not Write Bad: The Most Common Writing Problems and the Best Ways to Avoid Them (Riverhead) by Ben Yagoda, author and journalism professor, is a breezy, contemporary but comprehensive guide to improving the accuracy and clarity of anyone's writing.
Why We Write: 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do (Plume), edited by Meredith Maran, gathers intriguing essays on the question by a wide array of authors, including David Baldacci, Jennifer Egan, Michael Lewis and Terry MacMillan.
Colette Bancroft, Times book editor