Every writer has tools they use through the journey of learning to hone their craft. A small collection of books they’ve learned certain aspects from.

For instance there are four books that I use when working on a new project, to make my writing the best that I can.

For the craft or writing itself I bought: Stein On Writing by Sol Stein. Very informative. It has many tips and tricks for all phases of writing. I particularly enjoyed his tips on dialogue and the markers of quick characterization.This book was recommended  to me by a critique partner and I cannot thank her enough.

For plotting woes I bought: Advanced Plotting by Chris Eboch. An awesome little book that teaches you step by step the importance of knowing exactly what is required for a gripping plot and how to improve saggy middles.

Although Martha Alderson AKA “The Plot Whisperer” has some fascinating tips in her books too.

However, for plot structure I recommend: Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. He’s a writer/editor and his blog is awesome, so is the book.

My favorite though are the writers courses available by Holly Lisle. This lady has gone above and beyond to help so many writers, while postponing her own writing career for many years. Thankfully she has her courses still available on her website and has gone back to her true passion… writing. I particularly enjoyed her How To Think Sideways lessons.

For editing I bought: Self Editing For Fiction Writers by Rennie Browne and Dave King. This book has explained some of the most important aspects of self editing a manuscript, which helps writers polish up their MS for the submission stage. I especially enjoyed their section on interior monologue. The book was recommended to me by a writer friend. I cannot thank her enough for the recommendation. It’s worth it’s weight in gold.

The newest addition to my writing arsenal is: The Emotion Thesaurus {The Book Shelf Muse Descriptive Thesaurus Collection} by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. In my humble opinion this one is an absolute must for those who struggle with interpreting body language. It goes beyond the physical aspects and cues, into the emotional and mental aspects of seventy-five emotions. Thanks to this book, I’ve said goodbye to repetitive descriptions of emotions throughout my current WIP. I now show rather than tell the emotions, which adds more action to my scenes. This is the best investment I’ve made thus far, to improve my writing. I highly recommend this book to all writers. You will not be disappointed!

What’s in your writers tool box? Have you used any of these books? What do you think of them? Feel free to comment below. I’m always happy to hear what other writers and readers think.

P.S. I’m pleased to have this post featured in an awesome writers/editors collaboration here.


About kittyb78

Catrina Barton is a licensed Kung-Fu Instructor of the Black Dragon style, and draws on that experience to make her fight scenes both realistic and action packed. She enjoys being surrounded by the stark beauty of mother nature. Whether it's a moon-lit starry sky, or a picnic by a peaceful waterfall cascading from the mountain side. Growing up no matter where she was physically, she always had at least one book in her hands and spent every free moment lost in a book. It's only natural that as she grew up, her passion for reading grew into an even stronger passion for writing, especially Young Adult Paranormal Romances. She is a proud member of many writing and marketing groups, and an active participant at Critique Circle and several other crit groups. Favorite personal quote: "An author cannot grow without both constructive criticism and encouragement."

14 responses »

  1. She Started It says:

    That Emotion Thesaurus sounds intriguing. I’m going to order it NOW!

  2. susanroebuck says:

    Thanks for the recommendations (can never have enough!). I’ve joined Holly Lisle and now off to Amazon for the Thesaurus…

  3. Kitty, I am bowled over to find the ET here. I am so happy it’s helped you so much! This makes me so glad we decided to put this in book form.

    You’ve named one of my favorite tools here–Self Editing for Fiction Writers. This is like the BIBLE for writers. Another great one is Description by Monica Wood. That book taught me a lot. 🙂 And, if you’re feeling adventurous, try Save the Cat. (Snyder). This is a screenwriting book, but there is a lot that writers can learn from it 🙂

    Have a great weekend–finding this today made my day!


    • kittyb78 says:

      Absolutely. You two have done the entire writing community a huge favor! I’m glad I could bring you some happiness and thanks for the recommendations. 🙂

  4. […] a couple of writers recommended two books to me that I’ve really been enjoying. Kitty recommended The Emotion Thesaurus, a lovely book with lists of physical characteristics/actions to […]

  5. Arlete says:

    i’m flattered by your kind words, thanks for sharing this info with your readers!http://www.maladiretasegmentada.com.br

  6. […] Barton presents Writers’ Tools posted at Kitty’s Inner Thoughts, saying, ”Every writer has tools they use through the […]

  7. shriiram says:

    Awesomeeee article…that Emotional Thesaurus is hounding my thoughts..

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