September 23, 2016



I’ve spent the past five years working my manuscripts through to polished glory. Though we all work in different ways, there are five books I highly recommend you don’t live without. That’s right LIVE WITHOUT. They’re that good. Here’s why.


The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.

Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi




Whether you write and edit as you go along or draft the bare bones and add to it later like myself, you’ll need The Emotion Thesaurus by your side. I recommend you get the paperback edition. I have both but the paperback is easier to use. If you do go for the kindle edition I strongly suggest you bookmark the table of contents. It takes a dull sentence (and I write many dull sentences on a first draft), and helps you to add the necessary emotions to your scene to separate it from all your others.  For example, you might write:


Darren raised an eyebrow at Tamsin, “Did you really think I was that stupid?”


While we may believe we are describing an annoyance, a raised eyebrow can mean lots of things. Using the Emotion Thesaurus I can draw attention to exactly what I mean.


Using Frustration  (p78) – Darren paced in short spans, his jaw clenched. He spoke through his teeth with forced restraint, “Did you really think I was that stupid?”


Using Smugness (p144) – Darren tilted his head, a smirk on his lips. Waving his hand in dismissal he bragged, “Did you really think I was that stupid?”


This book never leaves my side once I begin reworking my first draft. As we say in Yorkshire, “It’s worth its weight in horsemuck.”


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TheSEXaurus: Sexy Words for Writers

Stefanie Olsen



What if I need to write a sex scene and I’m not feeling in a sexy mood? What if I’ve written ten for that book already and I’m sick of the word moist? (I’m joking, never use the word moist, like EVER.) This inexpensive book provides pages upon pages of ideas. The way I use it is to go through the book and write down words that appeal to me, thinking of the potential scene ahead.  The descriptive words are listed under headings such as doing it, afterglow, undressing, so you can hone in on the words you’d like.


I'll show you an example again.


James trailed a finger up the side of Lila’s leg and slipped it under the material of her silk briefs.


Using the book:

James brushed his fingertips softly up the pinkening skin on Lila’s thigh. His digit delved under the lacy edge of her otherwise transparent panties.


Whoa! Is it getting hot in here?


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My final three books are all by the same writer Victoria Lynn Schmidt.  I was introduced to her Book in a Month when I was writing my first novel during Campnanowrimo back in 2012. I’ve never looked back. My writing process though it has developed over time, still harks back to advice from this book.



Book in a month Victoria Lynn Schmidt




The best piece of advice I was ever given when writing a draft. Secret #1, write “As if”. So for example 20k through you decide you need the main characters parents to have died in an automobile accident, (come on, fess up, how many of you have written that?). So from that point forward they have and you make a note of it on your manuscript, but you don’t go back. You don’t delay getting that draft done and you carry on “as if” that’s what has happened. The corrections to the earlier part can happen on your first re-write. With advice every step of the way through your thirty days I highly recommend this book when you need to produce a draft quickly or when you’re taking part in Nanowrimo.


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Story Structure Architect

A writer’s guide to building dramatic situations & compelling characters.



Do you have a writer’s notebook or a file for each project? Where do you note your ideas? Are your scenes based around a standard 3 section ARC of a book with Beginning (set up), Middle (throw lots of problems and grief at your character) and End (resolution)? What this book does is to get you to think of your story before you write a word. I recommend a glance even if you’re a pantser, rather than a plotter, as it may cause a change in direction.


You’ll be asked questions such as is your book character driven or plot driven?  What dramatic throughline runs through your book, eg does the main character succeed or get defeated? Then you’ll consider the conflict, that makes people care about your book. Does it come from relationships? Is it an inner conflict?


In the second part you’ll choose a structure. Perhaps a typical 3-act structure doesn’t fit as well to your story as the rollercoaster structure does, with its ups and downs throughout? If that isn’t enough there are then listing upon listing of various situations such as flight and pursuit, or adultery with questions for you to ask about your characters and advice to take you forward. This book is complex to describe because it’s so stuffed to the brim with useful information. You might find at the end of it that your storyline has changed as the book has directed you towards a stronger plotline.


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 45 Master Characters



Finally, Victoria turns her talented hand towards describing characters and once again I’d be lost without this book which goes into great detail about different types of men and women and how they would act. When I have my main characters in mind, I go through this book and search for the personality nearest to them. Then I make notes of how they act in certain situations. It means that when I come to write my book my characters are so three-dimensional to me that I know them as real people and they act within the boundaries of their archetypes.


For instance if I was to make a character in the suggested The Father’s Daughter archetype, she would:


Care about aligning herself with powerful men.

See women as the weaker sex.

Likes challenges that use her strength.


Compare that with the Nurturer Archetype:


If doesn’t have children, she’ll help and care for others.

Forms friendships with similar women.


The book also explores how others view these characters and how to develop them in your stories. Again a book packed with information.



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So that’s it. The five writer’s resource books I can’t live without. The depth they’ve added to my writing over the years is incredible.

If you have any books that have done the same to you, drop me a line. Writers are always looking to hone and to grow!


Love, Andie xxx


This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a nominal commission if you make a purchase using this link.





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