Writer’s Reference

These books have been helpful as I’ve worked to lift my fledgling writing career off the ground…


The Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspirations for Writing and The Pocket Muse Endless Inspiration: New Ideas for Writing by Monica Wood

PocketMuse1   PocketMuse2

Have writer’s block? These neat little books will help get the creative juices flowing…

“These small, handsomely designed books are stuffed with writing prompts and exercises, quotations (fresh ones) from a variety of writers, mini-lessons on technique, strategies for battling writer’s block, suggestions (and marching orders) for maintaining your writing life, horror stories from the book world, advice on everything from finding time to finding an agent, and even a few laughs.  Black-and-white photographs intensify the directions or advice on the page or stand alone as  idea-starters.  I’m a firm believer that a writing life should contain more light than darkness, and I hope these books will help you turn on the light.  For creative types of all stripes.” (www.monicawood.com)  

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The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

Elements of Style

“Asserting that one must first know the rules to break them, this classic reference book is a must-have for any student and conscientious writer. Intended for use in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature, it gives in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style and concentrates attention on the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated.” (www.barnesandnoble.com)

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Eats, Shoots & Leaves:The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss


“In 2002 Lynne Truss presented Cutting a Dash, a well-received BBC Radio 4 series about punctuation, which led to the writing of Eats, Shoots & Leaves. The book became a runaway success in the UK, hitting number one on the bestseller lists and prompting extraordinary headlines such as Grammar Book Tops Bestseller List (BBC News). With more than 500,000 copies of her book in print in her native England, Lynne Truss is ready to rally the troops on this side of the pond with her rousing cry, Sticklers unite!

Through sloppy usage and low standards on the Internet, in e-mail, and now text messages, we have made proper punctuation an endangered species. In Eats, Shoots & Leaves, former editor Lynne Truss dares to say, in her delightfully urbane, witty and very English way, that it is time to look at our commas and semicolons and see them as the wonderful and necessary things they are. If there are only pedants left who care, then so be it. This is a book for people who love punctuation and get upset when it is mishandled. From George Orwell shunning the semicolon, to New Yorker editor Harold Ross’s epic arguments with James Thurber over commas, this lively history makes a powerful case for the preservation of a system of printing conventions that is much too subtle to be mucked about with.” (www.barnesandnoble.com)

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The Craft & Business of Writing by Writer’s Digest, edited by Robert Brewer


“This collection of the articles and essays drawn from the best of Writer’s Market, offers timeless advice to help writers achieve their goals, all in one handy reference. The Craft & Business of Writing teaches writers not only the basics—from concepting to drafting and finally submitting their work—but also offers insight into more advanced writing and publishing topics. The book covers finding and working with an agent, negotiating contracts, and conducting book tours, as well as timeless advice about crafting more vivid characters, writing in rhyme, and testing article ideas—all from the source writers have trusted for decades: Writer’s Market.” (www.barnesandnoble.com)

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Curious Attractions by Debra Spark


Curious Attractions: Essays on Fiction Writing is a book about what makes fiction work. In nine entertaining and instructive essays, novelist and master teacher Debra Spark pursues key questions that face both aspiring and accomplished writers, including: How does a writer find inspiration? What makes a story’s closing line resonate? How can a writer “get” style? Where should an author “stand” in relation to his or her characters?

While the book will have immediate appeal for students of writing, it will also be of interest to general readers for its in-depth reading of contemporary fiction and for its take on important issues of the day: Should writers try to be more uplifting? How is emotion best conveyed in fiction? Why are serious writers in North America wedded to the realist tradition?

When she was only twenty-three, Debra Spark’s best-selling anthology 20 Under 30 introduced readers to some of today’s best writers, including David Leavitt, Susan Minot, Lorrie Moore, Ann Patchett, and Mona Simpson. Almost twenty years later, Spark brings this same keen critical eye to Curious Attractions, discussing a broad range of authors from multiple genres and generations.

A collection of essays in the belles-lettres tradition, Curious Attractions offers lively and instructive discussions of craft flavored with autobiographical reflections and commentary on world events. Throughout, Spark’s voice is warm, articulate, and engaging as it provides valuable insights to readers and writers alike.” (www.barnesandnoble.com)

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Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz

“Becoming visible is more crucial to landing a book deal than ever, according to agents and editors in every facet of the publishing industry. Simply churning out a book isn’t enough. Aspiring authors need to develop a marketing platform in order to get noticed. This book empowers writers to take charge of their writing careers and partner with agents, editors and publishers. Introverts and extroverts alike will find effective and diverse strategies for growing their platform in their areas of expertise in ways that complement their own style and pace of working. From developing a readership, to increasing the odds of a book deal, to having a greater impact on book sales, this book is every aspiring writer’s guide to success in the world of publishing.” (www.barnesandnoble.com)

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2011 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market by Alice Pope

“Now includes a subscription to CWIM online (the children’s publishing area of writersmarket.com). The 2011 CWIM offers more than 650 listings for book publishers, magazines, agents, art reps and more. It’s completely updated and is the most trusted source for children’s publishing information. CWIM also contains exclusive interviews with and articles by well-respected and award-winning authors, illustrators, and publishing professionals as well as nuts-and-bolts how-to information. Readers will learn what to do, how to do it, and get loads of information and inspiration.” Also, Alice’s CWIM blog can be found at http://cwim.blogspot.com. (www.barnesandnoble.com)

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Antwan Schnorr
    Jun 09, 2011 @ 03:13:07

    Wonderful blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it


    • psychofwriting
      Jun 09, 2011 @ 11:47:37

      Honestly I’m not really sure how my blog ended up there, but my guess is that it’s all in how you tag your posts. Try to tag with frequently searched terms! Thanks for visiting 🙂


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