Friday, May 15, 2009

Tool Boxes


by G.Parker

A couple of months ago (okay, almost a year) I borrowed a book from one of my critique group members called Stephen King on Writing. I was intrigued by the stories of his youth. His history, and how he got to where he is now, was fascinating. Once he started in on his advice though -- I began to loose interest and ended up not finishing the book.

Sigh.

What I did glean from his pearls of wisdom, was that our equipment as writers could be compared to a tool box. Our tool boxes should contain the things that are going to help us the most in getting the writing done.

King went through various techniques, but what I took from it was that reference books are a great asset to have within reach. I have three books; A Grammar Book for You and I (Me), a Thesaurus (although I look up most of my stuff online now) and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. The group could be bigger, had I funds to purchase more. As it is, I use these and go to friends, past writing conferences and the library for my education.

I have to admit, I have rarely looked at the grammar book, and my critique group will tell you that grammar is definitely something I struggle with. I also haven't finished the self editing book -- it's just a bit too dry for me.

What is in your writing tool box? What would you recommend? I'd like to know.

7 comments:

Karlene said...

The Chicago Manual of Style. I've used it for years and love it.

David J. West said...

I was the exact opposite, I wasn't as interested in his youth,(partly because I am not a fan and its the only book of his I have read all the way through) but I did really like his suggestions. I got an audio copy from the local library and have listened to it about 2 and half times.

Carolyn V. said...

Hey, I didn't finish his book either. Although it's sitting on my front room shelf.

I just finished a writing class at BYU, the book we used was Writing for Children and Adolescents. I don't know if it's my favorite, but it had a lot of useful information. Opps, I just found out it's out of print. =(

Weston Elliott said...

I have an old, tattered baby name book that was my first "my own earned money" purchase hundreds of years ago (right after my second tour in Viet Nam). That little book cost me about $4 and is worth several hundred times it's weight in gold!

Evelyn Curtis said...

I have the internet at my fingertips. That has proved to be my most used tool. Actually, it seems to be my tool box. I can google anything that might be pertinent to my story. I can look up pictures to help me get a better visual an almost anything! It is my best tool.

LexiconLuvr said...

The Chicago Manual of Style
The Elements of Style--Strunk & White
Plot and Structure--James Scott Bell
20 Master Plots and how to build them--Ronald B. Tobias
Merrium-Webster online

Those are my main favs. I have more but those are the most commonly used ones I have. =]

Krista Darrach said...

I'd have to agree that the internet is my toolbox too. BUT..I did just find an excellent little book (that I knew existed, but it took me awhile to find it.)
Random House - Word Menu - http://www.amazon.com/Random-House-Websters-Word-Menu/dp/0345414411
Its everything you need! Now I see they have a computer program of the book - Hmmm might have to get that too.
Check it out...it's a lifesaver for me!