My Favorite Writing Resources

Hi Friends,

I’m in the middle of writing my romantic comedy rough draft (17,000 words so far) and working on the 2nd draft my YA supernatural fairy tale. As I write, I’m refreshing on all things that go into constructing a novel. Along with a couple of handwritten signs that are tacked to my bulletin board: “Emotion, Thought, Decision” and “A scene is never about what a scene is about,”  I have a few reference books that I always keep handy during this time.

STORY: substance, structure, style, and the principles of screenwriting by Robert McKee: Now I know this book is for screenwriting, it says so right there on the cover. However, it works for writers of novels and short stories, as well. I highly recommend it. I’ve had mine since 2000, and now it’s crazily highlighted. This book will really make you think and rethink about your work-in-progress.  There are so many important points I would like to share, but I believe these two points from the first paragraph in the introduction say it all:

Story is about principles, not rules. A rule says, “You must do it this way.” A principle says, “This works … and has through all remembered time.” The difference is crucial.”

“Anxious, inexperienced writers obey rules. Rebellious, unschooled writers break rules. Artists master the form.”

The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes (and how to avoid them) by Jack M. Bickham: I’ve had this book for about 7 years. When I thought I’d lost it, I searched frantically until I found it. This book is thin and simple. However, the straight forward advice in it is anything but.  Just reading the chapter titles will give you quick reminders.  And, like the title suggest, there are 38 points – here is a sample of a few of them:

  • Don’t Have Things Happen For No Reason
  • Don’t Forget Stimulus and Response
  • Don’t Forget whose Story it is
  • Don’t Mangle Characters Speech
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Say, “Said”

 Webster’s New World Dictionary and Thesaurus: Okay, this one might seem like a doh, butI appreciate my two-in-one book. It was a gift from my aunt, but I have no idea how long ago that was. It sits right on my desk. The front cover is all bent and the plastic is coming off of it and the first page is torn in half. I’m a little lapsed when I’m writing blog posts, which you can probably tell, but I really love it when I find just the right word for my story. Okay … and I can’t spell. I also have this massive Encarta World English Dictionary, which I drag to my desk and refer to maybe a couple of times a year.

So there you have it. Those are the books I can’t do without while writing a book. I would love to hear about your favorite books that you keep by your writing area.

Love & Laughter,



  1. Darah

    It’s not a book, but the quote that I write by is: “‘Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be'”- Mark Twain


  2. Thanks Darah! I’m going to add that to my list!


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