Friday, June 5, 2015

Writing Helps Series: Useful Books


I've decided to do a series on different types of tools that authors can use to hone their craft, better their writing, ease their frustrations, or are just cool.

The first in the series of Writing Helps is BOOKS.  There are so many out there on the writing craft. From outlining to character development, ect. That's not what I am focusing on.

These books are practical research or information type of books that really help to sharpen the edges of your work. 

My recent favorite is The Emotion Thesaurus by Ackerman. I follow the Facebook feed for Writers Helping Writers which is where I stumbled across this gem. I started using the blog post at first, which had links to pages of what would eventually become this book.

It lists emotions in alphabetical order, then gives a list of physical signs, internal sensations, mental responses, and symptoms if this emotion is long term. 

Very cool, right? Talk about spiced up action beats! No more simple "clenched fists" or "furrowed brows" to show anger. This book really helps you narrow what you mean to clean physical and emotional images that drive home your character's inner struggle. 

The series also offers Positive and Negative Trait Thesaurus as well as Emotion Amplifiers to help with character motivation. And at less than $5 for the Kindle version...who can beat that?


The next useful little tool in my author box is The Daredevil's Manual by Ikenson. Another book that is similar to this that I also use often is The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook by Piven. 

Both books have step-by-step instructions on everything from hot-wiring a car to jumping from a bridge into a river. 

I have not tested the "Doing a Stoppie on a Motorcycle" or the "Sword Swallowing" but I did use a version of the "Escaping Plastic Wrap Mummification" in a recent WIP...so there's that.

As a reader, nothing throws me from the fictional dream faster than a ill informed scene. Take the time to research lock-picking or how your heroine should really jump from that high rise.  Your story will be all the better for it.

What are some books you find indispensable while writing? Share them with us so we can check them out.
 
Until next time...Go Write!

3 comments:

Erin Kane Spock said...

You turned me on to Maas a few years ago and it's something I consider every time I'm plotting. Are the stakes high enough? Usually the answer, for me, is no and I fix it. Good post.

Liz A. said...

Love the Worst Case Scenario Handbook. Never used it for writing. I got it because it cracked me up, and I hope to never need its advice.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Thanks so much for stopping by, guys. And yes...that book is hilarious. Like, I hope I am never in any of those situations. How did these people's lives take such a sideways turn?