Aside from your own books, which books do you recommend every novelist should own? Stephen King's ON WRITING, of course, and Strunk and White's ELEMENTS OF STYLE. But is there more? (I have more, I just want to know what you'd list out.) What about Chicago Manual of Style?
Aside from my own books? That's like asking me, "Where should I live, aside from planet Earth?"
Here's where all those writing books come from:
Publisher: What are you working on now?
Publisher: Creative juices aren't flowing, eh? While you're waiting for your muse to return, why don't you dash off a book about how you write?
Author: How I write? I sit there and write. What more is there to say?
Publisher: That'll do. I'll have one of my junior editors expand it into a book. I think we've got a winner here.
Books on writing are nonfiction. What does someone who writes nonfiction know about writing novels? And what does a novelist know about writing a nonfiction book? Would you buy your favorite automobile mechanic's book about how refrigerators work? And how the hell do refrigerators work?
Picasso didn't become a star by reading Cezanne's On Painting. Would you trust a book called Become a French Horn Virtuoso in Ten Easy Steps? I can't even put together a prefabricated Danish bookcase following ten easy steps.
Of course you need to get your spelling and Grammar and usage down, but that's stuff that can be looked up when needed. Read good books, read the best books in the genre you write in, and trust osmosis. Think up good stories. Write a lot.
That said, I do recommend you pick up a copy of How I Got Published. We need you at the next book chat.