Monday, September 28, 2009

The Bestest Tools In the World!

I hope you had a fabulous weekend! Mine was absolutely, positively, INSANE but that story is for another post on another blog. :)

I'm SO excited about the blog topic this week and last week! I loved seeing everyone's favorite books - it appears that I'm overdue for a trip to the bookstore!

This week, we wanted to share a few of our favorite writing tools. Be it a blog (umm...hint, hint :) ), a book, a reference guide or a website. Maybe even a laptop or a computer program or whatever. For example, I have always wanted to know if those plot creator programs are actually helpful. I always see them when I'm in Best Buy (this makes it sound like I'm in Best Buy a lot. Okay, I've seen the program the three times I've been in there).

So, without further delay, here are my bestest friends when it comes to writing!

When it comes to naming characters:

The Name Book by Dorothy Astoria - This book is so great - my copy is ragged from so many years of usage. If you read my personal blog, you know already know about this book. It's amazing. I get inspired for stories by just reading some of the names in it! - This website has a list of all of the most popular baby names by each year. So, say you have a character who was born in 1930 and you need a name that would have been common back then? Type 1930 in the year box and there you have it - the top twenty names (Mary is #1, in case you were curious!).

When it comes to learning the ins and outs of writing:

Getting Into Character
by Brandilyn Collins - Awesome, awesome reference on how to add layers and personality to your characters. If you're having problems giving your characters depth, check out this book.

Plot and Structure
by James Scott Bell - I have had the ultimate privilege of sitting in on several of James Scott Bell's workshops and he definitely knows his way around a plot! His way of explaining how to craft a storyline is both complex and simple to understand. If you want to write well, this is a must-have in your bookshelf.

Guide to Getting Published by Sally Stuart - This book gives you the details on how to write a proposal, how to find a good agent, how to find a publisher to propose your story to and what happens behind closed doors. Fabulous reference!

And my #1 resource?

My mom and my sister. Never underestimate the power of having someone to tell you whether an idea is dumb or not! :) These two have talked through storylines with me, planned plots and helped climb over the incredible hurdle called "Writer's Block". Pretty much, they are awesome!

How about you guys? Any helpful resources you wouldn't mind sharing? :)

Have a great Monday!

Erynn :)


  1. Aw, thanks, Erynn! I love that Cayce and I can be such a help to you! Seeing your books in print is the ultimate for us. It's such fun to be a part of it...

    I love you!! :)

  2. Yay! I was hoping this would be the next topic. I love, love, love learning more about the craft of writing. Here's a short list of my favorite writing resources:

    The Pocket Muse (both editions) by Monica Wood
    Page by Page and Chapter by Chapter by Heather Sellers
    If You Can Talk, You Can Write by Joel Saltzman
    Writing Brave and Free: Encouraging words for people who want to start writing by Ted Kooser (poet laureate) and Steve Cox
    Time To Write by Kelly L. Stone

    Also, Brandilyn's book that you mentioned.

    I'm a subscriber and avid reader of The Writer and Writer's Digest magazines as well.

    As far as blogs go, the only two I visit on a regular basis (because they're so helpful and fun) are Erynn Mangum's blog (she's this great, new, up-and-coming writer with three books out and three more on the way... maybe you've heard of her?) and of course, Scribble Chicks!

    One of my favorite places to go to learn more about writing, is to my writer's group, Pennwriters. I love hashing out ideas and debating the various writing techniques with people who actually get how I feel. It's a secular group though, and I was missing that Christian writer influence in my life. You girls have provided that here with Scribble Chicks, and I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I am to the five of you! You're such a blessing to me. :o)

  3. Oh my gosh! I just finished Plot and Structure and you are absoluetly right, Erynn. It's so easy to understand and helped me enormously. I second that reccommendation! As for your other resources, I will be sure to check them out. Another great post! Thanks, Erynn. :]

  4. Three cheers for moms and sisters! I'm blessed that my mom and sister fulfill the same role for me. :)

  5. Mom - You're indispensable! :) Love you back!

    Christiana - you are SO sweet!!! :) So glad we're helping to fill that missing link in your writing world (it's SO nice to hear that!)! I'll have to check out some of your recommendations!

    Kirstie - I love that book! So glad you found it helpful too!

    CJ - They are pretty awesome!! :)

  6. I love how I don't have to compete on here with who gets to post the best resources first, since I write non-fiction. :) Great list, and great post!

  7. Definitely Brandilyn Collins' Getting Into Character. I like to use for character names, for creative words, and for character personalities. You take the test how your character would answer the questions, and the good thing about the site is no matter how many times you take the test, it never remembers your last results, so your charaters will be as unique as you make them.