Imagine the perfect references surrounding you.
Because what's best for you might just be something you didn't think about or didn't think of trying, here are a few tips on shelving.
I am someone who uses a lot of references on a daily basis.
Research is important to me.
Trust me, details are important for your writing.
Each writer needs tools that are appropriate for his genre and interests.
Here are some tools and their counterparts online you might want to look into.
These references make sense to me as a children writer. What are yours?
From the bottom of the list to the top (see pic):
- Cyberspace for Kids series for different grades. These seem like boring links to websites kids might enjoy, but they are more than that. They are organized by age groups and they help me keep in touch with what's cool for kids. Each one of those links leads to fresh content and contemporary information. I annotate them and add links alike. They give me hints to trends, interests and help me come up with new plots, characters, and hobbies. You can find the equivalent online, at Appropriate Sites for Middle Grade Kids or Common Sense Media where you can read for example this article: What kids are Really Watching on Youtube. Another article worth the read: 10 Popular YouTube Channels That Are Kid Friendly. Other places of knowledge incude Magazines, Top Tens, or Buzzfeed.
- Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. I recommend the book and the workbook. Both are great. This book taught me, for example, the difference between subplots and plot layers or bridging conflict or turn a plot on its head. See online podcast Upgrade Your Novel going through the book with Ally Bishop. She explains why she says it is "the most influential book for writers."
- 10,001 Hints & Tips For the Home by Cassandra kent, Julian Cassell & Peter Parham, Chistine France, and Pippa Greenwood. This is a series of small, concise articles that explain how to do things around the house. I use it for vocabulary and for steps when my heroes repair things. Very practical. The chapters include organizing your household (care and repair, cleaning); decorating; cooking; and gardening. My dream is to have its futuristic twin! I'd love to write its futuristic twin actually.
- The Definitive Book of Body Language: The Hidden Meaning Behind People's Gestures and expressions by Barbara Pease and Allan Pease. This book helps understand body language, silent communication, and helps me build subtext. I like behavioral psychology. Helpful if you're tired of using the same cliche gestures.
- Your Novel Proposal From Creation to Contract by Blythe Camenson and Marshall J. Cook. An essential tool for querying and beyond is important, but this book is so outdated, some of the advice will get your proposal in a waste basket. I keep it because it has nice tips. Make sure the books you buy are current, especially in an industry that changes quickly. There are many reliable information online. Some of the most notorious are listed in Writers and Editors.
- Kaplan Word Power by Meg F. Schneider. This book helps me add to my vocabulary. I also like the online version: http://freerice.com/.You can also read Daily Writing Tips online or Word Hippo or Vocabulary or The Emotion Thesaurus and others books in the series.
- Writing Irresistibe Kidlit by Mary Kole focuses on young readers and is a good reminder of what an agent will look for or shy away from. She has a personal blog where she answers more question, at kidlit.com.
- Totally me, The Teenage Girl's Survival Guide by Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout. This book helps me stay in touch with the way teens think and what they worry about. This guide explains that teens shouldn't, for example, stay friends with their ex, and why. The trick is to take the advice in reverse. These two authors also write YA fiction.
- Writing for Children And Teenagers by Lee Wyndham. Sort of outdated too.
- A Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker. Grammar, grammar! You can also use Grammar Girl online. Pro Writing Aid is a godd resource; they also have a great editing tool.
- Write This Book, A Do-It-Yourself Mystery Written by P. Bosch. This book helps kids write stories. I like the idea that stories can be small and still be good. Sometimes we need something basic to get back in track. The teases and prompts are designed to lead young writers through a series of chapters. It's something you can read when bored, or teaching young kids mysteries, or even when experiencing writers' blocks. In the same vein is the Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book.
- The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell. This is a series of short articles about what writers can try or what they should be mindful of. For example, "Characters all alone should do more than think..." or "Speed is the essence of the opening." You can read randomly and always learn something new from a master.
- A super cool cyberbunk encyclopaedia with machines described in details, worlds, novels, fashion, objects, as well as the history of the genre.
- The language of kids in the future
- Dream Interpretation as in what we can learn about people from their dreams.
- Storyboards by genres and age groups based on famous novels
- Words and their meaning through tme and in context which would describe what people really mean when they say this or that. A vocabulary decoder book.