Monday, October 21, 2013
Good Writing Books?
Has anyone ever asked you this?
Someone tossed this question my way last month. The setting was not conducive for discussion, so it caught me off guard. As I scrambled for an educated answer, I pictured the shelf on my desk where I keep important resources and thought, what books do I use most?
It's not a bad question, just a broad one, kind of like another I've been asked.
(You know the one - "How do I get started as a writer?" Well, let's see, where to begin...)
As for good writing books, are we talking about general writing and grammar? Ones on writing for children, young adults, or adults? Fiction? Non fiction? A how-to on magazine articles, novels, or self publishing?
What seems like a simple question has many answers, depending on what you're looking for.
The first book that came to mind was The Elements of Style by Strunk and White, then Roget's Super Thesaurus, and Barron's Essentials of English.
I felt a little tongue tied. Here I was, a writer who's having trouble thinking of good writing books. But I figured I could use the setting and timing as an excuse, right? :)
Other books then came to mind in light of my historical fiction work in progress, such as The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi, Characters, Emotion, and Viewpoint by Nancy Kress, and Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. I even thought about two books on my Amazon wish list, Ackerman/Puglisi's newest releases, The Positive Trait Thesaurus and The Negative Trait Thesaurus.
More titles crowded in, like Edit Yourself and Writer's Inc. In addition to The Elements of Style, these provide backup when double checking grammar and coaching my teen writing students.
So my on the spot final answer was The Elements of Style. Figured you couldn't go wrong with this classic guide. Next time I'll be better prepared. What do you think? How would you respond to this question?
Has anyone ever asked you a question like this at an unexpected time or place?
Have a great week! :)
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