Friday, September 01, 2006

Ask the Authors: Friday

Ask the Authors: Friday

If you have questions you’d like us to ask during a future “Ask the Authors” week, send it to As always, thanks for joining us!

Today’s question: What two writing reference books do you use the most? Or what are your favorite two writing reference books? (Title and author, please.)

Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood and Reading like a Writer by Francine Prose. I am gaga about that last one! It's new and it's wonderful. –Angela Hunt

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, and my latest favorite is First Draft in 30 Days by Wiesner. --Karen Ball

Strunk and White's Elements of Style and Stein on Writing, by Sol Stein. –Hannah Alexander

The two reference books I seem to reach for the most are: CHARACTER NAMING SOURCEBOOK by Sherrilyn Kenyon and WHAT'S WHAT, A Visual Glossary of Everyday Objects - from Paper Clips to Passenger Ships, edited by Reginald Bragonier, Jr. and David Fisher. And a third that is becoming a favorite: THE WRITER'S DIGEST FLIP DICTIONARY by Barbara Ann Kipfer. -- Robin Lee Hatcher

Roget’s International Thesaurus. The original version. I’ve tried others, but for my money, there is no substitute for the original. Not only do I find the word I need, but usually learn something about the word in the process. — Jack Cavanaugh

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, On Writing Well by William Zinsser, and for sheer inspiration and encouragement... Bird by Bird, byAnne Lamott. --Liz Curtis Higgs

I’m always flipping through the Chicago Manual of Style (new 15th Edition from The University of Chicago Press) trying to figure out some grammar or punctuation issue. I worked part-time for years as a proofreader for a group of weekly newspapers, so I’m somewhat of a stickler for correct usage. Another favorite—not sure this is technically a reference book—but Stein on Writing by Sol Stein never fails to inspire me to hurry to my desk and write. ––Deborah Raney

The Thesaurus and the Dictionary. --Lisa Samson

Steering the Craft by Ursula K. LeGuin and Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway. For inspiration I also like On Writing by Stephen King. --Patty Hickman

The two books I refer to on a regular basis is: 20 Master Plots (And How to Build Them) by Ronald B. Tobias and The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes ( And How to Avoid Them) by Jack M. Bickham. –Lori Copeland

Two books I use most:
1. Dictionary (Websters)
Large thesaurus
Two fave writing books:
Getting Into Character by Brandilyn Collins
Ditto #2
(Buy it and know the royalties are going for a good cause. She has a daughter to send to college next year.) ~Brandilyn Collins

Two books I use the most for writing would probably be The Careful Writer by Theodore M. Bernstein, and my Random House Dictionary of the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged.
Two books about writing that I often use are the Modern Library's Writers' Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction by Stephen Koch and The Passionate, Accurate Story by Carol Bly. -BJ Hoff

Nowadays I mainly just use thesauri (all the usual ones). When I first set out to write novels I got the best advice from Sol Stein’s Stein on Writing, and John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction. I think the best references for a working novelist are other people’s novels…and life, of course. —Athol Dickson


At 2:28 PM, Blogger C.J. Darlington said...

Thanks, guys, for taking the time to share these insights this week. It's been great!

At 5:32 PM, Blogger Richard L. Mabry, MD said...

You've all been kind to take time away from your writing to share your experience with us. It's been fun to see the diversity in some areas, unanimity in others. It just goes to show that God truly does make each of us unique. And if I ever have to buy a Christmas present for any of you, I know what to get: a new thesaurus.
Please give us more "Ask The Authors" weeks from time to time. Thanks.

At 9:10 PM, Blogger Southern-fried Fiction said...

I'm sure glad to know I've got a good reference library. I have most of those and then some. I've learned so much from each one, so I thankful the writers wrote them.


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