Every writer I know has a bookshelf full of books they’ve purchased to help inspire the writing process. In my case, I
have so many, I’ve pretty much lost track of them.
Except for those that I can’t write without. In my office, I have my computer table, an oak rolltop desk close enough my left elbow bumps it when I really get going on the keyboard and behind me, about two feet away, a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf of reference books. Those books are constantly in motion. I pull them out by piles, stack them on my desk and riffle through them to augment particular parts of my stories. Sometimes, I’m looking for facts on nature, animals, buildings. Other times, I’m working through some prickly syntax. Either way, there are those books I can’t write without.
Here’s my list. Read through it. Tell me what your list looks like:
- Bill Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors, by Bill Bryson
- Blockbuster Plots: Pure and Simple, by Martha Alderson
- Careful Writer: A Modern Guide to English Usage, by Theodore Bernstein
- Creating Character Emotions: Writing compelling fresh approaches that express your characters’ true feelings, by Ann Hood
- Elements of Style by EB White
- First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile, by Noah Lukeman
- Garner’s Modern American Usage, by Bryon Garner
- How to Write A D*** Good Novel, by James Frey
- Lexicon, by William F. Buckley Jr.
- Marshall Plan for Novel Writing: A 16-step program guaranteed to take you from idea to completed manuscript, by Evan Marshall
- National Audubon Society Field Guide
- New York Times Practical Guide to Practically Everything
- New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge
- Novel Writer’s Toolkit: A guide to writing great fiction and getting it published, by Bob Mayer
- Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus
- Oxford Book of Aphorisms, by John Gross
- Oxford Concise Dictionary of English Etymology
- Oxford Dictionary of Difficult Words
- Penguin Dictionary of Epigrams, by MJ Cohen
- Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence, by David Keirsey
- Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne
- Synonym Finder, by J. I. Rodale
- Webster Dictionary
- Writer’s Coach: An Editor’s Guide to Words That Work, by Jack Hart
- Writer’s Guide to Character Traits, by Linda Edelstein
- Writing from A to Z, by Sally Ebest
- Writing the Blockbuster Novel, by Albert Zuckerman
- Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, by Janet Burroway
- Writing the Breakout Novel: Insider advice for taking your fiction to the next level, by Donald Maass
- Writing the Novel from Plot to Print, by Lawrence Block
The links are to book reviews I’ve done. It’ll be a while before I complete the entire list.
I’d love to hear your list.
Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-sixth grade, creator of two technology training books for middle school and four ebooks on technology in education. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, IMS tech expert, and a bi-weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s editing a thriller for her agent that should be out to publishers this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, will be out this summer. Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.