A writer should have a few reference materials, preferably on a bookshelf or within easy reach.
A dictionary, thesaurus and a couple of style guides are essential for grammar reminders and finding the right word or phrase. Also, subscribing to a monthly writer’s magazine, like the “Writer’s Digest,” “The Writer,” and “Poet & Writer,” keeps writers up to date on writing and publishing trends, different aspects of the craft and writing contests, residencies, retreats and conferences.
In addition, I found these seven books to be incredibly helpful in improving my writing craft. (Note: This list will continue to grow as I continue to read other books on the writing craft. I have a half-dozen in a box yet to read):
- Creating Poetry, John Drury – A complete guide to writing poetry, this book includes poetic terms, poetic forms and advice on writing.
- The Novel Writer’s Toolkit, Bob Mayer – This guide to writing fiction and getting published covers the elements of writing, writing techniques, where to get ideas and the business of publishing.
- The Fire in Fiction, Donald Maass – The most informative chapter, “Tension All the Time,” explains how to create tension in individual scenes and within th entire novel. The book covers every element of structuring a novel from plot and setting to character.
- Writing the Breakout Novel, Donald Maass – This book explains what you need to do to amp up all aspects of your writing to make it bestseller quality.
- Writing Alone and With Others, Pat Schneider – This book in two parts provides tips for sparking creativity, understanding the writer’s mind and starting a writer’s group.
- Write That Book Already, The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now, Sam Barry and Kathi Kamen Goldmark – This book explains the writing process, the steps to take to find an agent and what happens to your manuscript from the agent to the finished product.
- How to Get Happily Published, Judith Appelbaum – This provides a complete guide on self-publishing and publishing through a traditional publishing house.