Ten writers for children. All with something to say.

2/9/10

Resources for Writers

So many great posts about writing resources by my fellow bloggers! Reference books, journals, “how-to” books written by famous authors – all have their place on a writer’s desk, in my opinion. To the varied list already posted over the last week or so, I will add a few additional titles that I consider my primary resources.

In an earlier post, I mentioned Masterplots as a personal favorite when it comes to resources. This seven-volume edition covers literally hundreds of titles in children’s and young adult literature, giving a plot synopsis and critical context for each. I use it after I read a particular title, to help dissect the text and to store what I learn into my long-term memory, but I also peruse it when I am simply looking for inspiration about plots, characters, etc.

Another resource in the same vein as Masterplots is the Bookrags website, which offers hundreds of “cliff note” type files on children’s titles, in addition to their adult fiction and movie files. More in-depth than the entries in Masterplots, many of the Bookrags titles have a chapter-by-chapter analysis of works, along with character and thematic information, all of which helps me “see” how other authors create their magic.

The Annotated Charlotte’s Web is also another gem. There is something about seeing all the changes, false starts, revisions, and headaches that went into making a masterpiece that gives me solace when I struggle with my own writing!

Of the several books about plot that I own, Building Better Plots, by Robert Kernen, has proved the most useful to me. Picture Writing, by Anastasia Suen, also has loads of good information. And, finally, I would recommend The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories for Children, by Nancy Lamb, which is a lot like Suen’s book but with exercises at the end of each chapter.

It was my turn to choose the topic for this round of posts, and I will admit to a private agenda in suggesting we all share our most trusted resources: I wanted to learn what my fellow bloggers depend on to inspire them and to help them with the “nuts and bolts” of writing, so I could add their suggestions to my own list and library. I believe that no matter what stage of your career you are in, you can always learn more, and I hope you find some of our suggestions helpful.

4 comments:

Lauren said...

Mark-- you are so transparent! I knew you were adding to your collection of resources and thanks to your suggestion, I have added to my resources. You by the way, have some really great suggestions which I have never looked into! Thanks.

Edie said...

Yes, Mark, this has been a great round of posts. We're all gathering new resources.

Stephanie said...

I'm definitely going to check these out, especially the plot ones...

Christy said...

I agree, Mark; these are great tips. Time for a book buying spree!