Resource Fest: Reference Books for Writers

resource fest reference booksIn this industry, we rely on each other to weed out the bad information, and discover the good stuff. Word of mouth is invaluable.

What’s your favorite writing reference book? We want to know. In the comments section below, please post the title of the book and the author. In one sentence, tell us why you like it so much. If you have a link to the book on a retail site, that’s even better. We’ll put a pretty book cover up so everyone can see it. Please don’t try to embed an image. We’ll do it for you, honest!

Your comment should look like this:

The Synonym Finder by Rodale Press is my favorite writing reference book because when my brain stops working, the book kickstarts it with an endless list of possible words for me to use. Love this book!
http://www.amazon.com/Synonym-Finder-J-I-Rodale/dp/0446370290/

Go ahead and tell us which book is your favorite. And please, if you’ve written a non-fiction writing-related book, please don’t post your own. Do the honorable thing and pay a friend to post it for you.

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11 thoughts on “Resource Fest: Reference Books for Writers”

  1. The Synonym Finder by Rodale Press is my favorite writing reference book because when my brain stops working, the book kickstarts it with an endless list of possible words for me to use. Love this book!

      1. You know, I bought the book back in 1994 – so I don’t remember exactly what the difference was/is. I think it was laid out a little differently than Roget’s. Either way, I love it to death.

  2. Roget’s Thesaurus by David Olsen and Michelle Bevilaqua
    I might be showing my age here, but I still reach for Roget’s when I get stuck and need a specific word with the right nuance.

    1. Had one for years and years. I get disgusted by writers who say we shouldn’t use a thesaurus. Though I’d say that anymore I rely on electronic versions, the application in Word, or google.

  3. I have a shelf of them, but my “bible” is the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. It also doubles as a fitness tool; my arms have never been so toned.

  4. I’ve found a lot of helpful books on writing over the years, but one I keep going back to Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. Whenever I get the doubts about a story, this book always helps me sort it out.

  5. This isn’t for everybody (just poets, who don’t really count) but is one of the few books I keep around any more. It’s a compendium of poetry formats, from common ones like sonnets and sestinas, through familiar forms you’ve seen but maybe didn’t recognize (you WERE aware that Frost’s “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” is linked rubaiyat, right?) to bizarro welsh forms that should go on Jeopardy and buy a few vowels.
    Even in this day of blank, free, grafitti-esque poesy, writing to form is a powerful tool for building one’s poetics.

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