I am a firm believer that so long as people are given the tools to work with and know how to implement them, that they have a higher rate of success. As my upcoming novel, Secrets of the City of Gold is in the editing stages, getting polished up nice to be released to you in its golden bow, I thought it would be a shame to keep my own secrets to myself.
So tonight, I’m here to share with you my Top Four Reference Books that have changed me, and hopefully will help you!
I’m partially inspired by M.C. Grimm’s previous and fantastic blog post about books that have shaped his soul, and partially inspired by last month’s (01/09/21) Creative Minds monthly communal meeting. Where members of the Creative Minds community gather over Zoom to discuss our work, ourselves, and ways we can better them. The President of RPH (M.C. Grimm himself) went over a fun and highly effective exercise called “1000 Words.” Where we take a visual and describe what it is that we see, which for me inspired an entire scene and everything surrounding it, highlighting emotion and description, and all sorts of fun.
Are we ready? Here are my Top Four!
#1—The Writers Helping Writers Series (Angela Ackerman & Paula Puglisi)
My first discovery of this series was the Emotion Thesaurus, where you’ll find just about every emotion you could think of, and how to implement it into your writing in a believable manner.
Joining this series is:
The Occupation Thesaurus—to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers (It’ll tell you what personality types fit the job descriptions)
The Rural Setting Thesaurus—Personal & Natural Places (this helped me describe an amazing beach scene)
The Urban Setting Thesaurus—City Spaces (if you ever have trouble describing a restaurant, or an apartment)
The Positive Trait Thesaurus—Character Attributes (all the fluffy and fun attributes)
The Negative Trait Thesaurus—Character Flaws (to help round those characters out)
The Emotional Wound Thesaurus—Psychological Traumas (If you’re ever touching upon some hard-hitting topics, this may be worth looking into!)
In print, these books will run you approx. $15-$20 each; approx. $5.00 each e-reader format.
Click the link below to check out the website:
I put these books in no particular order, but I love this series and what it provides for writers. Seriously, they deserve the #1 slot. I cannot say enough about them.
#2—Thinking Like a Romance Writer (Dahlia Evans)
This book is a thesaurus of sensual words and phrases associated with love scenes, obviously depending on how far you wish to go with your work. It could be as sweet, or as lusty as you desire. This book will help you up the ante to that romance-related scene.
I personally love how indepth the descriptions are pertaining to hair and eye color, styles, and textures.
You can find this book on Amazon for $6.42; $2.99 e-reader format.
Dahlia Evans also has the following thesauruses to sink your teeth/claws/sharp implement into:
The Dialogue Thesaurus
The Body Thesaurus
The Weather Thesaurus
#3–Master Lists for Writers (Bryn Donovan)
This book is always handy to have around! Another thesaurus that is just a series of helpful lists from descriptions of facial, emotional, and body language, to plotting, words for different scenes, ways for people to say hello/goodbye…the list truly is beautifully endless!
Paperback: $12.99; E-reader: $4.99
Also by Bryn Donovan:
5,000 Writing Prompts
#4–I Give You My Body (Diana Gabaldon)
The author of the critically acclaimed book and television series, Outlander, that has been with us since the early 1990s, shared her secrets on how she writes her sexy and sensual scenes.
(And, I mean, she wrote Jaime Fraser…so it works…)
She takes examples from her novels to demonstrate how she makes her magic happen, giving you a worthy course of 132 pages on how to differentiate between the varying types and uses of love scenes in novels to progress the story forward. So, having a reference in the emotional and psychological aspect is an exceptionally helpful tool!
My favorite thing from this book is that Gabaldon says the characters will tell you if they want to. You can’t force them, otherwise, it just won’t work. Because as crazy as this is going to sound, our characters will very well communicate with us as we write them. Sometimes they even write themselves!
I Give You My Body is only available for e-reader at the low cost of $2.99.
While there is plenty more to discuss and uncover, I’ll leave you with these four to perhaps inspire you to look into others that may work for you.
The most important thing I can suggest is read. If you want to write better, read more. Read things you didn’t think you would before (maybe that’ll be a future blog post). Open yourselves to new avenues to learn about different characters and how they operate, learn how different writers write different scenes (action, thriller, suspense, sexy, etc.).
I truly hope my reference books have helped! Let me know, leave a comment below, message me!