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Friday, June 4, 2010

CRAFT: Great Writing Resources

The journey to publication isn't an easy one. As a beginning writer I had no idea of the wealth of resources available to me until I discovered Romance Writers of Australia.

From conversations with other writers, workshops at conferences and visiting the various bookstalls over the years, I've built up a substantial reference library of books that I use to help me in my craft, some more well used than others.

Maybe you might find one you're interested in - most could probably be found at your local library or ordered through a book/internet store.

The Australian Writer's Marketplace (insert current year) by Rhonda Whitton (Bookman Directories) - section headings include The Advice (including info such as what is an agent & what do they do, freelancing, getting appraised), The Markets (newspapers, scripts, publishers, manuscript appraisal services, agents), The Resources (literary organisations, literary awards & competitions, literary courses, literary events)

Martin's Young Writers Guide by R.D.Martin (Era Publications) - a book aimed at upper primary school aged children that explains and gives examples of ther English language in use and techniques for writing. Fantastic even for adults as it's put very simply and the examples are like gold!

Scholastic Dictionary of Synonyms, Antonyms & Homonyms (Scholastic Inc.) - a great resource for helping expand your vocabulary. 

Editing Made Easy by Bruce Kaplan (Penguin Books) - a non-technical book aimed at providing straight-forward, practical guidelines for editing.

ANY Baby Name books.

A good quality dictionary and thesaurus.

The Art of Writing Romance by Valerie Parv (Allen & Unwin) - multi-published Aussie romance author, Valerie Parv has written an easy to read and refer to book with chapter heading you can flit through to suit your need on sense & sensuality, characterisation, viewpoint, dialogue, plot & conflict, setting, query & outline, markets.

Kate Walker's 12-Point Guide to Writing Romance by Kate Walker - another quick chapter reference guide to suit your needs on emotion, conflict, dialogue, focus, sensuality, passion, heroes, heroines, plotting, the black moment, happy endings, practicalities.

On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels (Writer's Digest Books) - written by Harlequin romance author Leigh Michaels this is another good book that shares years of experience and knowledge gained about writing romance novels, the industry and the marketplace.

Passinate Ink:A Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Angela Knight (Lightning Source Inc.) - a much dog-eared and highlighter coloured book, one I use a lot, particularly in the section on Plotting where the author charts the hero, heroine & villain's internal and external conflicts in an easy to read table.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent (Alpha) - another easy to read guide on the elements involved in writing erotic romance. There's a particularly good chapter on The Emotional Journey.

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (Writer's Digest Books) - a practical book on how to take your writing to the next level using examples from work from best-selling authors.

The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference (Writer's Digest Books) - a handy guide for anyone writing in the fantasy genre, romance or otherwise. It covers a lot on world building looking at traditional fantasy cultures, world cultures, magic, witchcraft & pagan paths, commerce, trade & law in comtemporary fantasy, fantasy races, creatures of myth & legend, dress & costume, arms, armour & armies, anatomy of a castle.

Worlds of Wonder:How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by David Gerrold (Titan Books) - a step-by-step book on craft as well as techniques that will help you world build and improve your writing.

Your Novel Proposal:From Creation to Contract by B.Camenson & M.J.Cook (Writer's Digest Books) - another of my well worn and highlighted books that gives excellent examples of query letters, synopses & proposals.

The Dreaded Synopsis by Elizabeth Sinclair (Thomas Max Publisher) - when I write my synopsis this book lives beside my laptop and I refer to it constantly for insight and advice.

Blogging in the Classroom Grades 4-8 (Teacher Created Resources) - for the technologically challenged, an easy to read how to guide for young students (and "young" wannabe bloggers) on blogging, creating an interactive community and developing blogging skills.

Not every writer will find these books meaningful to them, they're just a launching point, a place to start if you need one. What you'll find, over time, is that you'll build up a core resource library of reference books you can refer to time and again. Hang on to them and, better still, recommend them to others!


  1. Great list Kylie. Will be checking out a few of those titles.
    I just finished Stephen King's On Writing and man he can write! He makes a how-to guide read like a gripping thriller and I loved the section on his life.

  2. Hey, Bec!

    I have to admit I've only flipped through SK's On Writing but what I read was good.

    I do like books that give practical examples of how to do something. I'm a visual learner, so analysing and pulling something to bits and then constructing it from the ground up is the way I work. It's why I love Passionate Ink by A.Knight, and the two synopses books I've mentioned.

    Thanks for dropping in!