The Writer's Guide to a Meaningful Reference Library

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Whether you are just now entertaining the idea of writing a book or have been writing for a while, all authors need certain tools if our goal is to publish and make money with our work. Now, if your goal is to simply create a piece of literature that “says something deep and probing” about society or life or is esoteric and selling the book doesn’t matter? Then that is a noble goal and I wish you the very best.

There are works that have broken all the rules and come to be known (usually much later) as classics. I will, however, respectfully point out that the majority of those who follow this blog want to write commercially and make a decent living, so my list is geared toward a certain group of authors.

What this means is that anything can go in writing. Rules are not to be a straightjacket, rather guideposts.

I will say, however, that if we deviate too far from what audiences expect, then most agents won’t rep it because they won’t have a clear way to sell it. Readers might steer clear because it becomes what I call “Blue Steak.” It might be yummy, but it is just so dang odd that only a handful of the adventuresome might dare take a bite.

But look how CLEVER it is! Really, it's YUMMY.

But look how CLEVER it is! Really, it’s YUMMY.

When I wrote my post Five Mistakes Killing Self-Published Authors, I did get some push-back regarding archetypes and three-act structure. To be clear, I never said, “All authors must adhere to boring and predictable rules that turn a story into a ridiculous trope.” Nor did I say, “You can only write a good book if you reverently follow every rule.”

I merely stated that we need to understand the basics before we can get to creating “art.” If we don’t, we’re relying on “happy accidents.”

If we don’t understand the rules, we don’t know how to intelligently and artfully break them. Maybe we will write something unique and successful without ever understanding POV. But then how do we duplicate that success if we don’t know how we created it in the first place? This is akin to going in the kitchen and tossing ingredients in a bowl without knowing what they are, how they taste or how they work together (or don’t). Maybe we’ll make something yummy…or maybe we’ll make a chemical bomb.

Image via Frank Selmo WANA Commons

Image via Frank Selmo WANA Commons

When it comes to promotion, experience has taught me that if we are doing the latest fad? It’s already outdated. Algorithmic alchemy has a short shelf-life and I predict that soon it won’t work at all. Automation is ignored, spam filters are better at eating newsletters, and people are drowning in FREE! This means we need to be vigilant to grow, even in areas where we are fearful or weak.

I’m blessed to know thousands of writers, many of them legendary. The interesting thing I’ve found, is that normally the most talented writers, no matter how many zillions of novels they have sold have something in common. They continue to learn.

Last week, I was on the phone with a writer most of you would recognize. He was telling me of the books he was reading to help his current project, the social media and computer books. This author is a widely recognized genius. His books have been made into iconic movies and even assigned to college students. But, despite all this success, he’s wise enough to appreciate that, if we want to master our craft and thrive in our profession? We must always refresh and be open to new works, ideas and techniques.

For instance, craft evolves as readers evolve. Marketing doesn’t stay static. We need to always keep our fingers on the pulse of change and be open to getting out of that comfort zone.

In my career, I’ve read countless books, but these are the ones I would recommend as a staple in any writer’s library. Maybe you can use Christmas money or gift cards to begin stocking your resource library.

For Structure:

Hooked, by Les Edgerton

Scene & Structure by Jack Bickham

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

Story Engineering by Larry Brooks

Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

For Character Development:

The Art of Character by David Corbett

The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

I STRONGLY recommend Angela and Becca’s Positive Trait Thesaurus and Negative Trait Thesaurus. In fact, I think you get a deal if you buy them all together. Do yourself a favor. These tools will keep your characters psychologically consistent. When you do want to vary or surprise, these books can help you do it artfully. We don’t want readers thinking WTH? 

That is bad.

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout

Mind Hunter by John Douglas (Profiling is good for the FBI and writers)

DSM-5 (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders 5th Edition) Helpful for characters, dating, the workplace, and family reunions ;).

For a Swift Kick in the Pants:

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

The Successful Novelist by David Morrell

Linchpin by Seth Godin

Mastery by Robert Greene

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Failing Forward by John Maxwell

Guides for Social Media:

Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World by Kristen Lamb (of, course, LOL)

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Buyology by Martin Lindstrom

I’ve read many other fantastic craft books and guides (often written by the same authors). I’m not listing them all because this is just what I recommend should be standard in our stores of resources. If you guys have any others you’d like to mention, I am always learning and growing, too. Feel free to mention them in the comments!

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of January, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less)

Will announce December’s winners tomorrow. Sorry. My check-up took three and a HALF HOURS (which is why I only go to doctors about once a decade if I can). I apologize.

I hope you guys will check out my latest book Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World and get prepared for 2014!!!!


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  1. Thank you for this list! This is a very useful post, as usual 🙂

  2. Fantastic post – I love the thoughts here and blue steak made me wrinkle my nose…

  3. Thanks, Kristen! I have quite a few of these in my own library, but now I have some after-Christmas shopping to do! Who do I send the bill to? 😉

    1. Obamacare. Tell them it counts as anti-anxiety medication :D.

  4. Excellent list, Kristen! You could also consider adding a category called “Revising and Editing Your Novel” and add James Scott Bell’s excellent book, REVISION & SELF-EDITING, Jessica Page Morrell’s THANKS, BUT THIS ISN’T FOR US, Elizabeth Lyon’s MANUSCRIPT MAKEOVER, Jack M. Bickham’s 38 MOST COMMON FICTION WRITING MISTAKES (AND HOW TO AVOID THEM), Brown & King’s SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS, and Jodie Renner’s award-winning STYLE THAT SIZZLES & PACING FOR POWER. Thanks!

  5. Thanks Kristen, I’m making the transition from writing non fiction to fiction and it’s opening up a whole new set of challenges. Your list will come in very useful I’m sure.

  6. Thank-you for the great list to add to my toolbox, 🙂 I would suggest any of Mary Buckham’s books on Writing Active Settings and GMC by Debra Dixon, both were a huge help to me

  7. Reblogged this on jbiggarblog and commented:
    great list of must haves for your writers toolbox

    • pakaalito on January 6, 2014 at 2:09 pm
    • Reply

    “If we don’t understand the rules, we don’t know how to intelligently and artfully break them.”

    Oh, if only writers were not so amazingly focused on the idea that since they have some facility at speaking and writing things, they simply MUST be able to write a good story. I often make the analogy to surgery. You don’t just pick up a scalpel, walk into an OR and say “I’ve cut a steak, so I’m a surgeon!”

    Writers need to remember that there’s a craft to writing as well as an art, but if you don’t know your craft, you’re at a disadvantage when trying to master the art. Even “self-taught” artists like Grandma Moses had to learn how to mix paints, study lines, figure out how different brushes work, practice different techniques…. Art may be unteachable, but learning the craft is crucial.

      • jrosebooks on January 6, 2014 at 2:38 pm
      • Reply

      Exactly. I think anyone who has a music/art degree has a one-up on understanding this. Because we understand that the first 2-3 years are taught learning all the rules, so that in the fourth year of study, they can teach us how to break the rules!

        • pakaalito on January 6, 2014 at 7:11 pm
        • Reply

        Yeah, I’ve been drawing for decades, and went to film school a while back, maybe those experiences have helped me explain the advantages to knowing the rules of grammar to my editing clients. Plenty of good analogies to be made with other artistic media. Thanks for posting, I shared your thoughts with my writers.

  8. Kristen, thanks so much for the shout-out (again!). I hope I’m returning the favor a bit by telling everyone I know to glom onto your amazing book, RISE OF THE MACHINES–absolute masterpiece. I may have missed it on your list, but if it’s not on there, I’d hugely recommend Janet Burroway’s WRITING FICTION. IMO, it’s the single best book on writing ever written. Again, thank you!

  9. Great list and I have a few of them that I’ve even read 🙂
    FYI, if you don’t wait a decade to go see the doctor, it doesn’t generally take half your day. I recommend annual visits, but I have drug prescriptions that need refilling so I’m somewhat obligated to this schedule (yes, I think it’s a power play on their part, but my doctor is an amicable lady so I don’t mind chatting with her once per year). If insurance didn’t pay for it, I’m sure I’d have an entirely different attitude.

  10. I love the Emotion Thesaurus and have used it a lot since I bought it last year. I’m looking forward to the authors’ Positive and Negative thesauri (?), as soon as I can scrape together the $$$. Others have mentioned James Scott Bell–he is a treasure, and I have his Revision & Self-Editing as well as Plot and Structure. Alderson’s The Plot Whisperer has also been a help to me, and two I love are Ursula Le Guin’s Steering the Craft and Elizabeth Cooks, The Ordinary & The Fabulous. The latter is long out of print, but well worth a search.

    And many thanks for the recent horror-focused blogs. I found several books I’ll be tracking down and buying.

    1. I agree. Alderson’s Plot Whisperer is an excellent plotting tool. She’s also great if you ever get a chance to do one of her workshops or phone coaching sessions.

    • jrosebooks on January 6, 2014 at 2:34 pm
    • Reply

    For me, when I finally read Larry Brooks “Story Engineering” ‘everything’ clicked. Sure I had read several other WD books over the course of 8 years before this was finally published, but this one just laid it out so logically. <3

    Come to think of it, after I read his book, I was able to kick out a rough draft (with no outline) in 1.5 months, after it took me 8 years to finish the first one…

    The book I am going to recommend is a new one: "Outlining Your Novel" by KM Weiland. The techniques in this book finally gave me the tools for structured brainstorming, which I had been searching for before this book was published!

  11. Thanks for all the wonderful resources! It’s good to have a long list of places to search to make the writing process better.

  12. Thanks for the list. I love your statement, “… we need to understand the basics before we can get to creating “art.” If we don’t, we’re relying on “happy accidents.”

  13. Wonderful post, as usual, Kristen…might I humbly suggest Stephen King’s “On writing?” It’s aimed more at the beginning writer – but then, who needs guidance worse? It’s also written in King’s jagged, almost irreverent style, and continually makes excellent point on all the facets of good writing. I read it twice, and found it invaluable…

    Keep up the good work 🙂


      • jrosebooks on January 6, 2014 at 2:56 pm
      • Reply

      I agree!! I continually remind myself that he said even HIS first drafts are trash. (don’t remember exact wording…)

      1. I don’t think “trash” was the word he used. LOL

  14. Thank you for posting this! I have my list now and I look forward to reading them. I’m kind of new to WordPress and I’ve recently joined the Zero to Hero challenge and it’s been wonderful, simply writing every day. I do have some novels I’m writing and yes it’s art and I agree learning the craft is a must. I’m constantly learning and I’m always looking for ways to improve.

  15. Thank you for this list. I am just starting out and will devour them. Funny you mention the “Sociopath Next Door”, one of my favorites. I work as a therapist and often recommend this book to clients that are out of touch with red flags in relationships! Great post.

  16. I’ve read 4 books on the list (including yours) . . . so that’s a good start! Can always read more though! Thanks for the recommendations.

  17. Synchronicity abounds in the blogosphere. I’d say that about 50% of my blog post ideas pop up everywhere. Some before mine and some after. It’s like we all get the same ideas at the same time.
    Kristin: Glad to see you plugging The Emotional Thesaurus (always on my desk as I write).
    Thomas Rydder: Just picked up Stephen King’s “On Writing” this last week. 🙂 Awesome!
    Another great source that I always have on hand is “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Browne & King (That’s Dave King not Stephen)

  18. Great blog, Kristen. I’ve read a lot of craft books and don’t recommend many, but three of my four faves are on your list (The Writers Journey, Save the Cat, and The War of Art, plus On Writing by King.) I also recommend strongly SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by King and Browne (can’t remember their first names!) which was hugely important for me, personally, when I edited the book I ultimately sold. It taught me to look for common mistakes, some of which I broke myself from, and some I still have to look for.

    I don’t like rules, but I think I have an intuitive grasp of them. I don’t plot or plan, but I understand story structure. I think it comes from reading a lot and watching a lot of movies and television.

    At this point in my writing, I like to experiment more. I never obeyed most of the POV rules because I thought they were stifling — my debut novel had 13 different POVs. But it wasn’t until book #15 that I incorporated a first person villain POV, and book 23, the one I’m editing now, is my first with a few strategically placed omniscient POVs, including two scenes that are only one paragraph.

    I believe strongly that practice is the best teacher. I wrote four books that will never be published, and that’s okay because I learned so much from writing them. Too many writers think that writing a book is a waste of time if you can’t sell it, but for me, it was trial by fire and I wouldn’t have learned to write without the failures.

  19. This looks like an awesome list….are there any that you think would help children’s writers? Especially picture book writers?

  20. I’d highly recommend The Art and Craft of Storytelling by Nancy Lamb.

  21. Reblogged this on Michelle Rene Goodhew's Blog and commented:
    Good read!

  22. Thank you so much for the informative lists. Sometimes when I read a craft book I get a little bit of writing paralysis and have a hard time getting back into writing, worrying about “how to employ” my new learned knowledge. Does anyone else have that problem?

      • jrosebooks on January 6, 2014 at 3:55 pm
      • Reply

      Yes! One technique I used that helped was to do my ‘3-words’ exercise where I randomly choose three words from the dictionary and free-write a story including those words. I think it helps break the ice between study and diving into larger projects/novels.

  23. I love the Emotion Thesaurus, and the Positive & Negative trait Thesaurus. I keep them on my desk.

  24. I love, love The Emotion Thesaurus and tell people about it all the time. I only recently found out about the other two books, so I’ll need to get those.

    Thanks for this list, I see some titles I haven’t heard of/forgot about and I’m looking to get a few more books on craft before I edit my next project. Thanks!

  25. Kristen; I could write a million words about what you just stirred up in me. When I set out to write my first complete long work (around 50,000 words) I had some vague idea of the W, and tried to do it without a clue. For Christmas I got Story Engineering and Save the Cat. OMG, I did it all wrong. And I can see I have no clue about characters, so I will get some of the books you listed. Anyway, thanks for ruining my life again (lol), Silent

  26. I would not be the writer I am today without Brandilyn Collins book “Getting Into Character”

  27. Interesting post. Thanks for the list.

  28. Wonderful list, thank you, Kristen! I have read several of these, and am excited to explore the ones I haven’t.

    • Melissa Lewicki on January 6, 2014 at 5:34 pm
    • Reply

    I love Ray Bradbury’s Zen in the Art of Writing.

    1. I’ve heard good things about this one before, cheers for the reminder

  29. I learned so much from Jesse Lee Kerchevel’s “Building Fiction” — it’s not sexy, but it’s vital if you want to write short stories. 🙂 Also Stephen Cannell’s breakdown of three act structure.

  30. As a former psych nurse…and now a writer, I would never had thought of the DSM as a writer’s tool for character development, but it makes a lot of sense. I know many psychiatrists who proudly proclaim that they can find a DSM label for any human alive.

  31. I rather liked The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler. It’s basically a concentration of the basic structure and archetypes of the monomyth in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces, but specifically oriented to writing and scripts. It’s easy to read through and well organised and comes with tons of examples from pop culture movies.

    Gonna add some of these to my neverending reading list lol, thanks Kristen!

    1. Oops, somehow overlooked it already being in the list lol. Well, if anyone’s reading, I can personally swear by the usefulness of that one in particular in unclearing the foggy structural haze if you’re in any doubt. Pretty straightforward stuff.

  32. Yeah, what about the great book Rise of the Machines!?!? 🙂 Thanks very much for this reading list. I read a book on writing every day for 15 minutes (for the last five years, so you can imagine how many I’ve read) and now am adding 15 minutes of marketing reading. You’ve got some favorite titles on this list and some ones I’m definitely going to read. Thanks!

  33. What a fantastic list! Thank you! For building characters, I also recommend The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Riso and Hudson. For breaking down fictional elements, I suggest The Art of Fiction by David Lodge. For writing stretching exercises, I like The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kitely.

  34. Some fantastic resources here that I haven’t checked out. The Sociopath Next Door sounds AWESOME ;). I’d like to recommend K.M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel. Excellent breakdown of story structure and scene structure. Thanks for putting this together, Kristen!

  35. I’ve been chewing through that list. Some work for my writing style and some don’t. I just read Conflict and Suspense by James Scott Bell and I’m working through Plot and Structure. Love this guy!

    1. I love James Scott Bell’s books, too! I recommend those two and Revision & Self-Editing to my clients all the time!

  36. Reblogged this on Pen in Her Hand and commented:
    For all you writers out there, check out Kristen Lamb’s resource list (as well as the comments). Happy reading, everyone!

  37. This is a great list you’ve made. Thanks for putting the time and effort into it. I’d also like to suggest The Art of War for Writers, another great book by James Scott Bell. Thanks Kristen for helping us newbie writers with more resources. Always welcome.

  38. I now own four of these books! One I’d also recommend is Word Painting by Rebecca Mcclanahan. It’s a wonderful resource for description both in terms of characters and setting. It really helps sharpen your perception!

  39. I’m glad to say I have a few of those, but it looks like a trip to Amazon is in order.

  40. The Positive & Negative Thesaurus books are fantastic. I also highly recommend Stella Starsky & Quinn Cox’s Sextrology book. Extraordinarily insightful and completely applicable to both life and fiction. Thanks for the great resource list!

  41. I keep the Emotion Thesaurus on my ereader and reference it quite a bit! I’m happy to say that I’ve read quite a few of the others you list. Great resources here!

    One craft book not included here that would make my list: Wired for Story by Lisa Cron.

  42. Great post. I completely agree with your view of the guidelines or rules. These aren’t designed to box writers into writing a dull, formulaic story. I’ve always called them guidelines — proven techniques. Master them, then decide when and how to deviate and experiment.

    I have a library of books on the art and craft of writing fiction. However, we’ve recently moved and they’re all in boxes in storage until we buy a house. I’ve read about everything by James Scott Bell already listed here. Another that I really enjoyed and found helpful was Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass.

  43. SKNichols wrote:
    LOL. As a (no longer practising) psychologist, I’d say this comment captures the essence of the average psychiatrist perfectly! I second the praise for James Scott Bell’s books. I’ll read anything he writes on the art of novels.

    Another GREAT book is Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook. The emphasis here is on Workbook, as he has a book by the same name which I didn’t find nearly as useful. The workbook isn’t designed to help with first drafts, but it’s unparalleled (IMHO) for editing a draft to it’s maximum impact. It contains 34 short lessons followed by exercises. Ordinarily I ignore exercises, but these are fantastic; if you do even a third of them for your manuscript, it’s almost guaranteed to be improved.

    I attended Maass’s WtBN workshop several years ago. I found it useful, so I bought the workbook–only to discover that I needn’t have attended the workshop at all. The meat is all in here.

  44. I bought all three of Angela’s and Becca’s books. Cannot recommend them enough. Excellent.

  45. Thanks Kirsten! This list is exactly what I was looking for today!! 🙂

    1. Ugh, can’t edit – I meant Kristen. 🙂

  46. Oh wow–I can’t believe the Emotion Thesaurus is right there BAM on the big screen. Thank you so much Kristen–this makes my day. And I feel like you read my mind because I have 35 buckaroos to spend at Amazon, and was wondering which reference books I should buy with the certificate. I see a few here I didn’t know about and three that are already on my TBR list, so a great reminder. *hugs post*

    If I were to add some recommendations, I would have to say MUST READS are

    Writing Screenplays That Sell (Michael Hauge–a wonderful mentor & great guy–he actually has done some work with Vogler)

    Structuring Your Novel by Katie Weiland (seriously amazing blueprint for novels..a must have I think)

    Style That Sizzles by Jodie Renner is also an excellent choice.

    And I have to say Donald Maass’ 21st Century Fiction is also worth buying in print (love me print reference books!)

    1. Thanks for the recommendation of my Style That Sizzles editor’s guide, Angela! So nice of you! I recommend your Emotion Thesaurus to all my clients! And have started recommending the Positive and Negative ones!

  47. Thanks, Kristen! I have a few of these already (most from your earlier recommendations). I love having them all on one page here. The ones I don’t have are going on my craft book list for my 2014 plans, so I can add them to my library as I can. I also saw a few great suggestions in the comments.

  48. I found Jeff Gerke’s “Plot Vs Character” very helpful – looking at each element from the other’s perspective.
    I already have a few of the books you list and am planning to buy some more. Like “Rise of the Machines” – I hear it’s really good 🙂

  49. Reblogged this on djsanjo.

  50. I’m strapped for cash at the moment, and am still learning the basics. If you could choose just one book from each of your categories above, which would it be?

  51. Kristen, your list is excellent inspiration and together you all have created a wonderful library for writers. Thanx.

    I have to admit, that I red with some jealousy The Emotion Thesaurus;. I have been teaching emotional intelligence over 20 years and I could not prepare the better material. It is an important tool for showing not telling..

    1. For a newbie writer, I recommend Writing Fiction for Dummies, by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy. Just excellent! Also, Writing Your First Novel, by Hallie Ephron.

  52. Thanks for the tip Kristen, always appreciated. 🙂 The only one on your list I own is I will pick up a few more.

    • Dellah on January 7, 2014 at 10:32 am
    • Reply

    I love my Emotion Thesaurus. I’m also always flipping through Plot & Structure, too. Thanks for such a great list, I think I’m going for Scene & Structure, and Hooked next, followed probably by the thesauruses. I’m great with character arcs but really weak on plot!

  53. Kristen, you seem to have a talent for providing me with information I didn’t know I needed. I can’t wait to start going through this list. Thank you!

  54. I’m so glad you informed me of the Emotion Thesaurus. In fact the entire list is so compelling I posted your blog on FB so all my writing friends could benefit from this treasure trove of writing skills.

  55. The dull thing about this post is that there’s nothing to argue 😛

  56. Awesome list! I’ve been compiling a list of books I want to add to my reference library as you mention them (several of these are sitting in my Amazon gift cart, and the Positive and Negative Traits Thesauruses – or is that Thesauri? – are currently on their way to my door), but it’s handy to have the list in one place.

  57. Great reading list. As an amateur writer, I need all the help I can get. I have the ideas and some skill, but the more I learn the better I can be.

  58. I love this book!

  59. Reblogged this on Scarlette D'Noire and commented:
    Great post!

  60. Thanks, Kristen. I appreciate the selflessness of your blog.

  61. oooh, I love a good book list! Thanks Kristen.

  62. Kristen, any suggestions for self-editing resources?

    1. I’m about to have a class on it :D.

      1. woohoo!

          • Melissa Lewicki on January 8, 2014 at 2:31 pm
          • Reply

          Does this include revision?? Or editing only? My inquiring mind wants to now. So does my recently finished first draft of a mystery….

            • Melissa Lewicki on January 8, 2014 at 2:32 pm

            Know….not now. I should have edited the comment….

            • Heather on January 8, 2014 at 2:52 pm

            I’m hoping for revisions then editing.

          1. Heather, I’ve got a bunch of revision and self-editing resources on my blog and in my book, Style That Sizzles & Pacing for Power. Also, I highly recommend James Scott Bell’s book, Revision & Self-Editing.

  63. Reblogged this on "CommuniCATE" Resources for Writers and commented:
    Kristen, thank you for an awesome post. It’s incredibly helpful!

  64. Thanks for the list. I am still adding to my resource library. I hope some of the books that you recommended come in handy and inspire me.

  65. Reblogged this on Sherrey Meyer, Writer and commented:
    Kristen Lamb provides a glorious list of meaningful references for the writer. If you are serious about writing, this list should be kept handy at all times!

  66. I have so much still to learn..

  67. This is a great list, Kristen – Thank you!

    • madeline40 on January 16, 2014 at 6:29 pm
    • Reply

    Reblogged this on Choices and commented:
    I first received a reblog of Kristen Lamb’s post from Sherrey Myer’s Healing by Writing Website. I think the list of writing and social network resources is terrific. I plan to follow up with a list specifically for memoir in the next few days.

    • jrtomlin on February 20, 2021 at 3:45 pm
    • Reply

    it is old so perhaps outdated, and it is very much a matter of personal opinion. But I do have to question a writer’s reference list that does not include any dictionary, thesaurus, or style guide.

    1. Then you’re likely not writing fiction. While those guides are helpful, they are only helpful for the mechanics of line-editing. No one gets to the end of a book and proclaims, “WOW! Not a single misplaced comma in the ENTIRE book!” So while those tools are great for Nf or a paper, they are VERY limited for helping refine storytelling skills like POV, dialogue, etc.

  1. […] Kristen lamb wrote a blog post today recommending many books to aid writer’s in learning about structure, character development, motivation, and social media. She stresses continued self-education and I can’t agree more. […]

  2. […] If we don't understand the rules, we don't know how to intelligently and artfully break them. Maybe we will write something unique and successful without ever understanding POV. But then how do we duplicate that success if …  […]

  3. […] Lamb, social media maven and writer extraordinaire – so that she can provide some wonderful suggestions on building (or improving) your very own Writer’s Reference Library. I wholeheartedly agree with pretty much all of her suggestions, so take […]

  4. Expect Success Book Gift

    […] who follow this blog want to write commercially and make a decent living, so my […]

  5. […] Whether you are just now entertaining the idea of writing a book or have been writing for a while, all authors need certain tools if our goal is to publish and make money with our work.  […]

  6. […] her January 6 blog, Kristen Lamb posted The Writer’s Guide to a Meaningful Reference Library. It’s a list of awesome books on the craft of writing, including everything from structure […]

  7. […] If we don't understand the rules, we don't know how to intelligently and artfully break them. Maybe we will write something unique and successful without ever understanding POV. But then how do we …  […]

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