Last week I talked about my writing tool box. Today, I want to share some of my favourite reference books.
A regular: The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi – this is a fantastic aid which I try to refer to a lot when I’m editing. Could be a scene, a short story, piece of flash fiction. When my brain freezes when I see the word ‘felt’ or ‘feeling’ and know I’ve got to ‘show and not tell’. This publication was produced by the Bookshelf Muse which has a new home at Writers Helping Writers. They have also developed two other resources, Positive and Negative Personality Traits which I may look into at some time. If this was a paperback on my bookshelf, it would more than likely be the most thumbed but I have it on Kindle so I can scroll and search.
Just read: Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. This is fresh in my mind and I’ve just ordered the paperback version as I found it one of the most informative resources on story structure. Whilst it may be a little overwritten, the message is clear. All writers need some sort of structure to hang their story on otherwise it’s not much of a story. Doesn’t matter whether you consider yourself a panster or a plotter, understanding the basics can only enhance and make your story a better one. For me, I’m hoping it will make the editing and rewriting process easier (a little!) as I will be able to determine better where things need fixing. Larry is a succesful author himself and runs the website Storyfix.
An old favourite: How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson from Advanced Writing Fiction. This is another kind of story structuring book which I have used and I like it because it is centred around characters. This is how I like to grow my initial idea as it works on the premise of starting small and then building up the story. A lot of the stuff you do in this process can be useful for writing a synopsis and back page blurbs once your novel is ready to go, which is such a bonus!
Must refer to more: Brewers Dictionaries – Rogues and Villains and Phrase and Fables. I bought these two hefty reference books many years ago in an bundle offer. I flip through them occasionally when I’m dusting (which is probably a lot less then occasionally, if I’m honest) but they are great fun to get lost in. And they can provide lots of inspiration for character development and setting. So I’m going to put them next to my desk, where I can see them gathering dust.
One To Read: The DIY Guide to Social Media Marketing and eBook Publishing by Coral Russell. I’ve got this downloaded on my Kindle but not yet read it. I’m trying to build up an ‘author platform’ essential to all writers. But like most, I’m not very good at it and resent the time it takes me away from the real stuff of ‘writing’. But I also know that it’s a ‘have to’ and like all jobs, being a writer doesn’t meant that it’s a dream occupation – there are elements I like more than others…
What are your favourite books you return to or wish you could buy for your shelf?
Next Week: I shall be starting a monthly regular post on my Works in Progress. These will be published on the 1st of the month and shame me into getting my writing muscle exercised more regularly in terms of word count and pages edited. More of a stick than a carrot.