Shelley Widhalm

A Writer’s Library

In 52 Writing Topics, Shelley Widhalm, Writing on December 23, 2012 at 11:00 am

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.
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