Monday, December 17, 2012

My Toolbox - Part I


 As a writer, you often hear about having a “writer’s tool box.” The first time I heard this phrase was on Orson Scott Card’s Hatrack writer’s workshop. Writer’s toolboxes vary. They are the reference materials and experiences we rely on when we find ourselves wrestling with a story. So, here are the top 10 things in my tool box:

10.  The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell.

Everyone needs inspiration from time to time. I love this little book.

 9.      Garner’s Modern American Usage, and other usage guides.

We’re writers. We’re supposed to get the grammar right. But, I have to confess, it’s not always my strongest skill. I have a number of usage books for reference.

8.      Every book, and podcast by Grammar Girl.

The rational is the same as #9, but sometimes I can often the answer faster with Mignon Fogerty’s (aka Grammar Girl’s) resources. And I’ll admit it; I like the funny little illustrations. Grammar Girl takes the often highbrow discussions about usage and makes them easy for everyone to understand.

7.      The Describer’s Dictionary by David Grambs

Okay. There are only so many ways to say someone has blue eyes. Or is there? The Describer’s Dictionary helps me vary my descriptive prose. It also helps when I’m suffering from the tip of the tongue phenomenon. Often I can visualize what I want but recalling the proper word escapes me. This little dictionary helps ensure I don’t have any malapropisms that I didn't plan.

6.      The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kennon.

I admit it. I’m crap at naming things. If it were up to me, the entire universe would be named “Bob”. My oldest son is. Anyway.  I’ll thumb through the book at least once a writing project.

That's enough for the moment. Please check back on Wednesday for the top 5 things in my toolbox.


Heather H. said...

These all look like great books for a writer's toolbox! The Describer's Dictionary seems especially appealing to me. I have the hardest time describing things whenever writing!

Jan Flores said...

Some good reference books here, especially the naming sourcebook. Character names have always been vitally important to me, both given and surnames. My surmame reference book is literally falling apart after all these years. Now I'll look for the one you mentioned. Thanks for the tip!

Nancy DiMauro said...

Heather and Jan - I'm glad you found them helpful. I love both the Describer's Dictonary and the Naming Sourcebook. Thanks for following me.