The Art of Dramatic Writing (Lajos Egri): Although intended for screenwriters, this book provides impassioned instructions for creating a premise and writing compelling characters that any writer would benefit from. It is worth studying.
From Where You Dream (Robert Olen Butler): The style and content is different from the Art of Dramatic Writing, but no less meaningful. Especially helpful for writers of literary fiction.
On Writing (Stephen King): A by-turns funny and dark look into the life of an extremely successful author. I love this book because I read all of King’s novels as a middle schooler, and can’t help but think that somehow screwed me up in the head.