What’s on Your Shelf?
Before I started writing, I was a reader. I’d read the back of cereal boxes at breakfast, read under the covers with a flashlight when I was supposed to be sleeping. I love reading! I think my parents gave me the reading gene, since they both loved to read. I would go to the library and leave with a stack of books, returning a week or so later for more. As a writer, reading is even more important.
With the age of eBooks, my current To Be Read List has increased to over 1200 books. Some of the books are for research for two of my trilogies, the others concern writing, editing, and self-publishing. The rest are novels. I read novels for fun, but I also read them to learn how that particular author wrote them. Studying the way they use dialogue and weave in descriptions of characters, places, and things. How did they make that scene so emotional? How did they make me feel like I was actually there? What is their secret to great fight scenes? So many questions run through my mind when I read. Some novels I enjoy so much, I tend to read them again, so I set them into a Collection on my Kindle called Read Again. These novels are like comfort food. Something I can read when I want to escape or relax and think of nothing else but the characters in the novel.
When I read for fun, the genres I prefer are Thrillers, Conspiracy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal (so long as the paranormal doesn’t have too much romance in it.), Fantasy, Steampunk, some Science Fiction, Mysteries, police procedurals, Zombie novels (yes, there are a few zombie novels I enjoy), some Horror, and a few vampire novels. (No, I did not read the Twilight series, nor do I plan to read it. Give me Bram Stoker’s Dracula any time.) Last but not least, a book I’ve read over and over is The Complete Sherlock Holmes: with an introduction from Robert Ryan by Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Ryan (Foreword). Since my interests lie in lost civilizations, such as Atlantis and Lemuria, I have a number of books on my shelves and Kindle for these subjects. And last but certainly not least, I have The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien.
I own several books about writing and editing I think every writer should have on their shelf or on their ebook reader. The first is On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King. He offers a great deal of advice to new writers and to writers who have already been published. I’ve read this book countless times and never tire of it.
The next book is a must if you want to be organized when writing your book: Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K.M. Weiland. She takes you through the process of selecting the type of outline that will work for you, shows how an outline won’t restrict your creativity but help to enhance it. I also have the Outlining Your Novel Workbook.
Next up, we have Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story by K.M. Weiland. She explains the structure of your novel, techniques you can use; taking you from the opening sentence to the end and what goes on in between those two points. I also have the Structuring Your Novel Workbook.
Onward! Here’s another you should own Revision and Self Editing for Publication: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft into a Novel that Sells by James Scott Bell. Sure, you can hire a professional editor to go through your work, but editing the manuscript first will help your editor. Even though you’re paying the editor, you aren’t their only client. Anything you can fix before sending it out is a good thing. This is also important when you send out copies to beta readers.
Another one about editing. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Second Edition: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne, Dave King. Again, read the book, follow the advice they give.
Another book I have is How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method (Advanced Fiction Writing Book 1) by Randy Ingermanson. This was a good book and has several interesting ideas to help with your writing. Parts of this were funny too and it was a fast read.
Two more I recently added to my shelf are Fire up Your Fiction: An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Stories and Captivate Your Readers: An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction by Jodie Renner. Again, some good information and tips in both these book.
I own another book, Flip Dictionary Paperback by Barbara Ann Kipfer. This book is great when you want to say something, but can’t think of the word or phrase. Unfortunately, there’s no ebook version for this book.
One other I own is Random House Webster’s Word Menu by Stephen Glazier. This book is organized by categories to help you find the words you need. It’s a cross between a dictionary and a thesaurus.
The books I listed above won’t make you the next Stephen King, but they will help you become a better writer, helping you to create stories that flow and are a joy to read. I know there are other good books on writing and editing out there, but I stick by my list.
May the words ever flow!