Oops… is that a tongue twister? Not intentional, but I hope it got your attention.
As writers we need to read. It’s part of learning the tools of the trade. We read fiction, non-fiction, and what some call self-help books. I want to share a few of them.
The first one is STORY by Robert McKee, whose success comes through in his voice. It’s available in both audio and paperback. I strongly recommend the audio version. McKee reads the work himself and is enjoyable to listen to. It has been slimmed down, and it really, really teaches a lot of vital structure. Though he teaches on the principles of screenwriting, it’s so much more than that. You will benefit from this amazing work.
Another great book is James Scott Bell‘s Write Your Novel From the Middle. It doesn’t matter if you are a pantser (like I am), a plotter, or anyone else in between, this book will help you on the many aspects of structuring your novel. It is available as an eBook, and in paperback. This quick under-100-pages read packs a punch, and delivers a quick method. I highly recommend it.
One amazing tool no writer should be without is The Emotions Thesaurus,by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. If you struggle with ‘show don’t tell’, this book is a must-have for you. Don’t tell me your character is angry. Show me his nostrils flaring, and his clenched fists. It gives you not only physical signals of someone who’s angry, it also tells you the internal sensations, like grinding one’s teeth, muscles quivering. What about mental responses like irritability, poor listening skills, and jumping to conclusions. Yup. They’re in there. This work came out in 2012, and it still ranks #4, #7, and #21 in three different categories on Amazon. It is by far the best thesaurus you’ll ever get your hands on.
Did you ever hear someone say I love my Flip Dictionary,but you had no idea what they were talking about? You’re about to find out. Barbara Ann Kipfer‘s FLIP DICTIONARY is a must. It’s for those times when you know what you’re trying to say, but can’t come up with the exact word. It doesn’t give definitions but instead, words related to the one you’re looking for. It’s a reference book you absolutely need on your desk, next to your keyboard (that’s where mine is at all times). Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, you will benefit from this book, which provides thousands of entries.
I have one more for you. The Writer’s Book of Matches by Staff of Fresh Boiled Peanuts and Phillip Sexton. It contains with 1001 prompts to help you ignite your fiction and get over writer’s block. When I’m stuck and can’t come up with any ideas, I have to walk away from the computer, and from my office. This book gives me a chance to do that. I go sit in my recliner, and flip through it.
We all need resources to help us on our writing journey. What books have helped you?