by Annette Dashofy
Last week, I wrote about learning. Today, I’m getting specific. Let’s discuss books on writing. There are a ton of them out there. And I have several shelves in my house devoted to them. Some I use for reference, some I use to check facts. Some I skim through, and others I devour and return to again and again.
Here are some of my favorites.
In the “Devour and Return to again and again” category:
GMC: Goal, Motivation, & Conflict by Debra Dixon- I love this book. When a scene isn’t working or a character feels two-dimensional, I refer back to this equation and usually find I’m missing one of these three necessities.
Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood – This was recommended to me by a former critique buddy and I’ve recommended it over and over ever since.
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – Can’t say enough about this one. I can sit down anytime, anywhere, and open it to any page. I’m immediately drawn in and find myself smiling and nodding in agreement. It may not tell you HOW to write, but it will tell you how to KEEP writing when you’re having a tough day.
In the “Reference and Fact-Checking” category:
Police Procedure and Investigation by Lee Lofland – Too many times I’ve spent hours on phone calls and emails trying to track down a fact only to open this book and find the answer right there. I’ve learned my lesson. Check here FIRST.
Forensics by D.P. Lyle – Another go-to book to save research time.
Deadhouse: Life in a Coroner’s Office by John Temple – Less well known, but great stuff. It’s not a reference book per se, but if you’re writing anything that deals with forensics, morgues and/or autopsies, you really need to read this.
The Crime Writer’s Reference Guide by Martin Roth – The title says it all.
Of course, I have many, many more, but these are my favorites. Now it’s your turn. What books do you keep within easy reach and refer to over and over?