When I decided to become a writer, my first step was to come up with a plan (as I pointed out in my post ROAD MAPS–SETTING REALISTIC GOALS) for education. Formal education was out of the question at the time. The next best thing was self-education.
Armed with this idea, I began to search the Internet. Of course, as many of you are aware, there are so many books, blogs and articles that one could feel as if one was lost in the African Bush. During this safari; however, I discovered Writer’s Digest and their amazing bookstore. I felt like a flea at a dog show. Thanks to Writer’s Digest I have many of the Writing Bibles that I need; and the ones I don’t, I know exactly where to get them.
Every writer has his/her own idea of what constitutes a Writing Bible (or if one is even needed): A book or books that are a must have in ones writing library. I would like to share with you my Top Ten.
- ON WRITING by Stephen King: This particular book is a staple to me. I read it over and over to help me with the different aspects of writing that I need to work on most. I’ve used it to build my “toolbox” and am a better writer because of it. (I didn’t purchase this on WD.com, but from Borders.com).
- GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT The Writer’s Essential Guide to Punctuation, Spelling, Style, Usage and Grammar by Anne Stillman: This is a true “Bible” to me. As a writer, it’s a given that we will do rewrites and edits on our own work (if you’re not, then you aren’t giving your best to the reader.) Having a guide that helps you with the CORRECT grammar usage is as vital as air for breathing. If you do not own one, I highly suggest you go out and purchase one immediately. Stephen King speaks highly of THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by William J. Strunk and E.B. White.
- THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY: Any writer worthy of the title has a dictionary. Enough said.
- ROGET’S SUPER THESAURUS, SECOND EDITION by Mark McCutcheon: Same explanation as the dictionary.
- ROGET’S DESCRIPTIVE WORD FINDER A Dictionary/Thesaurus of Adjectives by Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D.: This and the Thesaurus can help in eliminating the nasty habit some of us have of using the same words repeatedly.
- THE WRITER’S DIGEST HANDBOOK OF NOVEL WRITING from the Editors of Writer’s Digest: If you want to learn the blueprint for writing a novel, this is a great source.
- HOW TO WRITE SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY by Orson Scott Card: Because I am a novice Sci-Fi writer, I thought it might be a good idea to learn the basics of the genre. Each genre has different rules which sets them apart from others. Learning those particular rules will help you to write a better novel. WD.com has several HOW TO books in different genres that you might find useful.
- BREATHING LIFE INTO YOUR CHARACTER How to Give Your Characters Emotional & Psychological Depth by Rachel Ballon, Ph.D.: One of the most important aspects to learn about fictional writing is how to make characters believable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at my work only to see that the character was as flat and lifeless as road kill.
- THE EVERYTHING: GET PUBLISHED BOOK by Meg Schneider & Barbara Doyen: It’s always a good idea that if you want to get published, whether traditionally or through a vanity press, to learn about the business of Publishing.
- AGENTS, EDITORS AND YOU The Insider’s Guide to Getting Your Book Published edited by Michelle Howry: It wasn’t until I cracked open this book that I learned I needed a “team” to help me get published. I had the fairy tale thought that the editor worked for the publishing house as did the agent. Boy was I wrong!
So there you have it. There are my Top Ten Writing Bibles. I couldn’t imagine pursuing a writing career without them. Learning the craft and the business will give you the ammunition that you need to fight the battle of becoming a published author. Take the time to invest in and educate yourself. Build up your own Writing Bible Library today.