We are well into National Novel Writing Month, or #NaNoWriMo for hashtag users. I’m not writing this year but thought I’d offer support from time to time. Earlier this year, I took a picture of my writing bookshelf with some of the books I use to help me write and edit and used it as my Facebook cover photo. A few people asked about the books in the picture. I won’t write about all of them but I will do my best to cover the ones I use most often to become a better writer.
My Writing Bookshelf: Become a Better Writer #NaNoWriMo
Ready, Set, Novel! A Workbook
Amazon Description: This writer’s block-busting workbook guides authors through planning and plotting a novel before writing it from the initial idea generation and brainstorming through character, setting, and story development. Full of helpful lists, plot maps, character Q&As, field trips, writing exercises, inspiring quotes, and plenty of space to write and outline, Ready, Set, Novel! provides ample inspiration and guidance to first-time novelists and more seasoned scribes alike.
My Opinion: It is a great book to help you plan your novel. While I didn’t write in the book, I used the forms and exercises to create my own templates in Scrivener.
Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1YcunAv
The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications
Amazon Description: The Copyeditor’s Handbook is a lively, practical manual for newcomers to publishing and for experienced editors who want to fine-tune their skills or broaden their understanding of the craft. This book may be used for self-instruction or as a textbook in copyediting classes. The exercises are accompanied by answer keys and detailed line-by-line explanations.
My Opinion: I use this book daily—meaning every day. Not only will the exercises keep you on top of your editing skills but the content of the book is helpful when your work challenges you. If you ever come across sentences that are written so poorly you forget the rules, this book comes in handy.
Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1HNJf4f
Writer’s Guide to Character Traits
Amazon Description: From Sex to Schizophrenia: Everything You Need to Develop Your Characters!
What makes a person commit a white-collar crime? Who is a likely candidate to join a cult? Why do children have imaginary friends? How does birth order affect whether or not a person gets married? When does mind over matter become a crippling problem?
Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, 2nd edition answers all of these questions and many others. With more than 400 easy-to-reference lists of traits blended from a variety of behaviors and influences, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to create distinctive characters whose personalities correspond to their thoughts and actions – no matter how normal or psychotic they might be.
My Opinion: I like reading well developed characters who are authentic. My hope is to write them too. This book will help you identify behaviors for your characters based on their past experiences. If you have a victim of childhood sexual abuse or rape, you might learn how one who has suffered through these events might behave.
Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Ycv1xY
A Writer’s Guide to Characterization: Archetypes, Heroic Journeys, and Other Elements of Dynamic Character Development
Amazon Description: Develop compelling character arcs using the power of myth! In the best novels, characters undergo dramatic changes that keep readers turning pages. A Writer’s Guide to Characterization shows you how to develop such meaningful character arcs in your own work–stories of transformation that will resonate with readers long after the story ends.
In this comprehensive guide, author Victoria Lynn Schmidt examines cross-cultural archetypes to illustrate how they can make your work more powerful and compelling. Plus, you’ll learn how to draw from Jungian psychology to add complexity and believability to your characters.
My Opinion: Developing characters gets fun with this book. Using the lessons on character development as well as exercises on selecting males and female archetypes will help you to develop strong, believable relationships between your hero and heroine as well as your protagonist and antagonist. This book helps you to answer how your character will interact with others.
Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1MgV2Xo
Actions: The Actors’ Thesaurus
Amazon Description: ACTIONS: The Actors’ Thesaurus is a vital companion for actors in rehearsal—a thesaurus of action words to revitalize performance.
Actors need actions. Actors cannot ‘act’ adjectives, they need verbs. Verbs are an aim to achieve, an action to perform.
‘Actions’ are active verbs. ‘I tempt you.’ ‘You taunt me.’ In order to perform an action truthfully–and therefore convincingly– an actor needs to find exactly the right action to suit that particular situation and that particular line. That is where this book comes in….
My Opinion (and Explanation): This book was recommended to me by one of my writing partners. It was recommended to her by an award winning actor, producer and director. We figured he knows what he’s doing so we listened. The reason this book is on the shelf of accomplished writers is because characters need action as much as actors do. When we give our characters action their presence inside the story becomes more meaningful—more real. I pull out this book when I’m editing or if I get stuck on a rewrite where action is necessary to move the story forward.
Buy on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1NVmKLK
I only included books that would help you in your writing and rewriting process. Some of the other books are for pitching to editors for work. If you’d like to know more about any of the books in the picture or would like more information about the ones I covered here, comment below or use the contact form to send an email.
NOTE: Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”