I get asked a lot about recommended books and writing software, so here is my list of writing tools that I use and recommend. I really use all of these products myself, but this post does contain affiliate links because a girl’s gotta eat. 🙂 Here is the list in order of necessity to me:
1. Scrivener – Scrivener is a writing platform that will change your life. (Thank you @tangomega for changing mine!) Unlike Word, Notepad, Google Docs, and other word processors, Scrivener was created JUST FOR WRITERS. It has tools for plotting, brainstorming, research, formatting, and much MUCH more. It also has a “speech” function that will read your words aloud, which I use ALL THE TIME for editing purposes. Also, if you plan on self-publishing, it has an amazing “compile” feature that will build your eBook in matter of seconds. It costs only $45 (USD) and has a very generous free trial. It is available for MAC and Windows.
Scrivener 2 for Mac OS X (Regular Licence)
Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)
2. On Writing by Stephen King – I read this book religiously once a year and, I’m not even a big fan of his fiction. His writing advice is PRICELESS. See it on Amazon
3. Elements of Style by Strunk & White – This tiny book needs to be on the desk of EVERY WRITER. It’s a quick reference guide for punctuation, grammar issues, common mistakes, and general writing advice. This is the author’s bible. (This book is really tied with On Writing in my order of importance.) See it on Amazon
4. The Chicago Manual of Style – This is an essential editing tool for writing fiction in the US. It is available in print, but they also have a website with all the same information. It has a free trial, but the subscription is totally worth it. http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org
5. Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich – A great reference for fiction writing that includes everything from plot development to revision. See it on Amazon
6. Grammar Girl Website – Someday I’m going to take her out for beers. I love this website and reference it often for common grammar, spelling, and punctuation issues. http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl
7. The Collins English Thesaurus – I’ve recently started using this online thesaurus over thesuarus.com. It tends to return more relevant results and has been a lifesaver in moments of synonym crisis. http://www.collinsdictionary.com/english-thesaurus
8. Writer’s Digest – Their website has some amazing articles on everything from writing to publishing. I DO NOT PROMOTE THEIR FORUMS, however. It seems to be full of bitter writers who wait to pounce and devour the work of others. I was a member just long enough to decide to leave. I never posted any of my work there after seeing what a LOT of members did to other members.
9. Google Drive – I back everything up to Google Drive. It has a handy-dandy auto-synch feature with Scrivener, and now I don’t have to worry about losing my files!
10. Wattpad – I also need to throw Wattpad in here as an honorable mention. It is a self-publishing platform for millions of online readers. It’s completely free and has an awesome online community of writers! I’m spending more time there than on Facebook these days!