Itching to write? Here's THE guidebook
I just pulled out my version of Janet Burroway's, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Decades into my career, eight years after publishing a bestseller in Columbine, I still turn to this amazing book.
If you're just starting out with writing, or definitely if you've been toying with it but feel a bit rudderless, this is THE book. For anyone interested in writing — fiction or non — this is an amazing tool, which I highly recommend.
Each chapter takes you step by step through one core element: plot, character, setting, POV, etc. And while the examples are fiction, the exact same techniques apply to narrative nonfiction.
It's a classic, in its 9th edition, with heavy revisions each time. But I think the revisions are mainly just new writing examples, and there are a slew of them, short and long, which illustrate each point.
It's pricey, with new copies of the 9th edition selling for over $100! Just get a used version of a previous edition. I got the 8th, for about $20. Worth every penny.
Her website says this, and I'm pretty sure it's all true:
The classic text in fiction writing, Writing Fiction has been in print for thirty-two years and is the most widely used creative writing text in America.
I also include this on my Advice for Writers page.