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I received an email from Writer’s Digest today imploring me to purchase writing books from them. Normally I delete these types of emails but this time I decided to see what they had. While perusing their selections, it occurred to me that the sheer variety of books could be overwhelming for the first time or beginning writer, i.e. Me.

Instead of purchasing nearly $500 worth of books, I decided to use my typical pattern of behavior and check out Amazon to see if these particular books were any good. If they were, I’d hop over to my local library’s intranet to check if they had any copies.

They were and I did.

Which, of course, saves me a bundle of cash. Here’s a list of what I requested through my library to borrow from other libraries (because my local library is pretty much on the shallow end of the writing book pool):

  • Book in a month : the foolproof system for writing a novel in 30 days by Schmidt, Victoria
  • Bullies, Bastards and Bitches: How to Write the Bad Guys of Fiction by Morrell, Jessica
  • The everything guide to writing a romance novel by Craig, Christie*
  • How to write a damn good mystery by Frey, James N.
  • How to write science fiction and fantasy by Card, Orson Scott
  • The little red writing book : 20 powerful principles of structure, style, & readability by Royal, Brandon
  • No plot? No problem! : a low-stress, high-velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days by Baty, Chris
  • On writing romance : how to craft a novel that sells by Michaels, Leigh*
  • The pocket muse : endless inspiration : new ideas for writing by Wood, Monica
  • The portable writer’s conference : your guide to getting published by Mettee, Stephen Blake
  • The weekend novelist by Ray, Robert J.
  • Write is a verb Sit down. Start writing. No excuses by O’Hanlon, William Hudson
  • The writer’s little helper : everything you need to know to write better and get published by Smith, James V.
  • You can write a story! : a story-writing recipe for kids by Bullard, Lisa (for my 8 yo)

These are in addition to the other books I’ve borrowed like 20 Master Plots and Revision & Self Editing (both fab books and I recommend them for any writer). So, I’m feeling pretty good about the aboveĀ  list but it brings me back to one point I’ve been avoiding lately.


Not just for this blog, although that is part of it, but writing short stories and working on a novel I started last year through the insanity that is National Novel Writing Month. I found that I like to come up with ideas and figuring out where they go (you can read some of my shorts over at The Write Chronicles).

I want to be creative but it takes me longer. I tend to be more structured (you ought to see the outline for my novel…oy vey!) and logical so tapping the Muse for inspiration and creativity is a bit more elusive for me. But I shall persevere and write.

Maybe the books I checked out will help and maybe they won’t. I do know this though: the only way I’m going to be a better writer is to write. And to keep learning.

Do you have any tips, tricks, or favorite writing resources? Please share!

* I don’t write romance. Mostly. I write fantasy or science fiction which typically has a romantic subplot. Just so we’re clear here. Right.

I’ve always wanted to write a novel. Creating characters, directing their lives, dreaming up new and interesting places for them to visit has always appealed to me.

However, I’ve always found it a daunting task. It is a lot of work to write a novel. I have every bit of respect for authors who can put stories together (and do it well).

But I still want to write a novel. Just not by myself. So I thought it might be fun to create (and cool to watch unfold) a wiki for a community written novel.

Anyone can sign up for the wiki and then add a word, sentence, page, graphic, etc. to the novel. I don’t care what your particular skills are. I firmly believe that each of us has a spark of creativity inside. Some just burn brighter than others. It’s still there, though.

Anyway, think of it as a great social experiment, if you will.

I invite you to come and get your creative juices flowing over at Once Upon a Time: A Wiki Novel. You’ll have fun. I promise.


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