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My Shelfie, Pt. 2

So, continuing on from Pt. 1, here’s a look at the second half of my shelf, which, aside from the first book,  contains books on the writing process or writing tips….

12. Flame in My Heart: St. Aidan for Today, by David Adam. Another book by David Adam, the Vicar of Holy Island. This one is about Aidan, the first Bishop of Lindisfarne, and a major character of my book. Good historical information, and Adam writes this in a way that relates to our lives today. It’s a devotional format, which I quite enjoyed, with opportunities for further reflections, prayers, etc at the end of each chapter. This helped me to see what Celtic Christianity looks like in practice, which helped me to flesh out the life of Aidan in my own mind.

13. The Synonym Finder, by J.I. Royale. The big red book….and oh, how I love thee! Sometimes you get stuck for a word, and all the ones you come up with just don’t work. Or you are looking for a different way to describe something you’ve already described quite a few times already. Yes, I know you can go online and find these sorts of things, but I have to say I used this book way more than I Googled for synonyms. Fantastic tool. I owe J.I. (male? female? who knows?) a hearty thank you for this book!

14. The Emotion Thesaurus, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. Picked this one up at a writer’s conference last summer. It’s a great idea – listing various emotions and giving writers different ways of showing that emotion in their characters. The authors include physical signals (crossing arms, looking away, etc), internal sensations (dry mouth, flush in cheeks), mental responses (anger, hurt feelings), cues of long-term exposure to the emotion (blaming others, becoming closed-minded), emotions this one might escalate to, and cues of repressed emotion (avoiding eye contact, refusing to argue, etc). I got it after my book was finished, but plan on using it more as I do more writing. Sometimes you get stuck on one particular way of showing a character’s emotions, so this book will be a great help.

15. Faithwriters – Abundance of Life, anthology. Whoops! One of “my” books snuck in there somehow. A short story I wrote called “The Color of Love” is in this one.

16. Writer’s Yearbook 2012, magazine. A special issue of Wrtier’s Digest magazine, subtitled “Your Annual Handbook for Writing Success”. Good tips and articles here.

17. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Brown and Dave King. Pretty much self-explanatory. Each chapter tackles a different topic, i.e. Characterization, Point of View, Interior Monologue, etc and gives you some exercise to work on using your manuscript. I thought I had read this whole thing but I see my bookmark is at Chapter 2. Oops. Oh well, another one to return to!

18. The Art of Compelling Fiction, by Christoper Leland. Picked this one up at a Value Village thrift store when i was first beginning my writing journey. Was an excellent primer to get me thinking on the whole process of writing.

19. Mystery and Manners, by Flannery O’Connor. A selection of essays by the brilliant Flannery O’Connor on the writing process. All of them are worthy of much reflection, but of particular interest to me is the section on religion and writing; in particular, how does a devout believer write honest and true fiction without being preachy. This is something she managed very well, and she has much to teach the rest of us. Reading this book is to hear the voice of a wise mentor who passed along the way before you and is pointing out the challenges and glories to be found. I highly recommend it for any writer, and particularly so for those who have a faith.

20. Webster’s English Thesaurus – never use this one. My beloved Big Red Book is MUCH better.

21. The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, by Jeff Gerke. A good primer on writing in general with a little encouragement in there for the Christian writer. Not as contemplative as Mystery and Manners, but worthy of a read.

22. Nigel Dempster’s Address Book, by Nigel Dempster and How to Write and Sell Historical Fiction by Persia Wolley. Only dipped into both these – the first book is a compilation of 400 people whom Dempster feels have been largely responsible for the triumphs, excesses and scandals of the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties. The second book is pretty self-explanatory. Both thrift store finds, the Wolley book is a bit dated but has some good info in it. The first book has potential for some good time-travelling characters, methinks!

23. Room to Write, by Bonni Goldberg. Writing prompts and inspiration for when you get stuck.

24. Pen On Fire: A Busy Woman’s Guide to Igniting the Writer Within, by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett. Pretty self-explanatory. I confess that I got three-quarters of the way through it and then got too busy to finish it. Sigh.

25.100 Ways to Improve Your Writing, by Gary Provost. Quick little tips, with a paragraph or two on each and examples.

26. The Canadian Writer’s Handbook, by William Messenger and Jan de Bruyn. Left over from my University days, I’ve kept this as I thought it might come in useful “one day”. All the boring nitty-gritty stuff on grammar that a competent writer needs to know. I should probably study this one HARD but it has sentences like, “A preposition is a function word that is part of a phrase – which it usually introduces – and that has an object dependent on it. As its name indicates, a preposition usually precedes in position the rest of the phrase.” You know, life is too short. But it’s a good reference book for when i need it.

That’s it, my shelfie complete! My little review has reminded me that I really should read some of those books on the second half again – some good stuff there!

So, have any of you read any of the above, or have them on YOUR shelf? Let me know!


  1. Can’t say I’ve ever read any of these books, except dipping into a thesaurus once in a while. I doubt that I’ll ever read these, but I will benefit from you reading them Lisa, when I finally get to read your book!

    1. L.A. Smith says:

      Hopefully that day will be soon, Les!

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