A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013


My bookshelf has several well-worn books that I sometimes refer to while I am writing. Although I've been writing for many years, consulting with my one of my research or writing books often serves to remind me of certain things I need to do to jump-start my thinking or figure out a puzzling scene. I no longer need to consult some of the books as much as I used to since I've absorbed a great deal of the lessons and information over the years. But it's always nice to know my trustworthy books are on my shelf should I need them.

I have books that help me define a character arc, sort out weapons, determine proper police procedure, and yes, even accurately describe historical underwear. Other books remind me how to pick up the pace of a sagging middle, how to create a good hook, and how to refuel my fickle Muse.

For all you writers out there--what books do you return to time and again for advice, research and clarity? It just so happens I've got a bit more space on my bookshelf to add a few more!  

Here's a list of a few of my favorites:

The Writer’s Journey by Chistopher Vogler

On Writing by Stephen King

The New Hacker's Dictionary by Eric S. Raymond

How To Write a Damn Good Novel, I and II, by James N. Frey

How to Write & Sell Your First Novel by Oscar Collier and Frances Spatz Leighton 

Police Procedural:  A Writer’s Guide to the Police and How They Work by Russell Bintliff

Cause of Death: A Writer’s Guide to Death, Murder and Forensic Medicine by Keith Wilson

Armed and Dangerous:  A Writer’s Guide to Weapons by Michael Newton

The History of Underclothes by C. Willet and Phillis Cunnington

 How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card  

The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron 

 How to Write, Recite, and Delight in All Kinds of Poetry by Joy Hulme and Donna Guthrie


Marcelle Dubé said...

Great post, Julie. The Orson Scott Card book on How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy is one of my favourite writing books. One that I am constantly flipping through is Deadly Doses: A Writer's Guide to Poisons by Serita Deborah Stevens and Anne Klarner. I'm not sure why I'm fascinated, since I rarely use poisons in my stories, but there you have it.

Thanks for the recommendations!

Jean Harrington said...

A good post, Julie, Thank you. And how about Dwight Swain's The Techniques of a Selling Author? A golden oldie that I constantly pan for gold. Actually read a page a night before going to sleep. Helps keep me in the zone so my subconscious can work on those plot kinks.

Anne Marie Becker said...

I loved Stephen King's ON WRITING. Must go dig that out and re-read sometime. Currently, I've been revisiting Donald Maass' WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL WORKBOOK. (I prefer the workbook because I'm actually crafting a story as I work through it.) I also have a "baby names" book I revisit when stumbling over finding a character name. :) That History of Underclothes book you listed sounds fascinating. ;)

Rita said...

Here’s mine
King’s -On Writing
Donald Maass -The Breakout Novel and Putting the Fire in Fiction
Bob Mayer -Who Dares Wins
Janet Evanovich -How I Write
Less Edgerton -Hooked
Lajos Egri -The Art of Dramatic Writing
Allen and Barbara Pease -The Definative Book of Body Language
Joe Navarro- Advanced Interviewing Techniques
3 Former CIA officers – Spy the Lie
Now I’m depressed because I haven’t visited any of these books in a month.No wonder I'm floundering!

Julie Moffett said...

Thanks, everyone! Anne Marie, I used to own a copy of Donal Maass's book, but I lent it to someone and I never got it back. In fact, I forgot about it until you just mentioned it!! :) Jean and Marcelle, I'm going to have to check out your fav books. They sound great!!

Julie Moffett said...

Ooooh, Rita! you named some books I'm really going to have to check out! Spy the Lie?? Love it!! :)

Dee J. said...

Julie, love your list! I may have to print it out. I love Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Deb Dixon. Deadly Doses is also a favorite (when I need poison).

Elise Warner said...

Annie Lamott's Bird by Bird and Stephen King's On Writing and Strunk and White's The Elements of Style with White's sense of humor a big plus. Have to check out the books you mentioned.

Sandy said...

Two books I use a lot aren't truly writing books, but reference books. The Flip Dictionary (Kipfer) and Crooked Talk- Five Hundred Years of the Language of Crime (Jonathon Green). Thanks for the great list.

Wynter said...

I'm bookmarking this post! Deb Dixon's Goal, Motivation and Conflict is always on my desk, ready to refer to.

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