Friday, November 5, 2010

Two More Great Books

This is my last post before the three winners are announced in my Back From Hiatus Contest. If you haven't entered yet, click here now!!!

Today's post is about two books that didn't make my top five list, but which are still awesome and deserve a mention.



#1 - Flip Dictionary by Barbara Ann Kipfer
Amazon.com price: $18.00
The Flip Dictionary is a thesaurus, but better. It doesn't just give synonyms, it also gives related words. For example, if you look up "minerals," you'll find synonyms listed for "mineral deposit," "to search for mineral deposit," "divination to find mineral ores," "mineral spring," "mineral water," "nonmetallic mineral," soft mineral," "to place minerals in a mine to deceive," as well as a list of 225 minerals.

To be honest, I used to use this book all the time, but nowadays I keep dictionary.com open on my laptop and usually use that. But there are times when, like the cover says, "you know what you want to say but can't think of the word." Or I need a list of music terms or types of bread or 81 shades of brown. That's when this book is a life saver.


#2 - First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Wiesner

Amazon.com price: $13.59

I consider this the ultimate guide for plotters. I've used this book to outline my past two novels, and I plan to keep using it for future novels. I don't actually have a first draft after thirty days, but I do have an exceptionally thorough outline that makes the actual draft much easier to write, because I have a "formatted outline capsule" for each scene, telling me who, when, where, relevant research, and a draft of the scene. It also walks you through your timeline, story evolution, plot sketch, and more.

Have you switched to using more online resources, like dictionary.com?
Do you outline before you write? If so, how long do you usually spend making your outline?
Happy Friday, Everyone!

26 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That second book would've been great BEFORE NaNo!

Jen Daiker said...

I second Alex on his comment, that would have been nice. Luckily I am a powerhouse when it comes to ideas and knocking them out with little to no time.

The first one however, sounds like something I'd love to have by my side!!

Old Kitty said...

Oh I try NOT to use dictionary.com but sometimes - oh it is so DARNED convenient ya know?!!?!?!? LOL!!! I love my old and used and about to disintegrate print thesaurus though!

Thanks for the info for these books - the second book "first draft in 30 days" might teach me the joys of plotting - me being a very bad panster!! Take care
x

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I'm still studying First Draft...It is really good! (So far, I'm a pantser.)

Dictionary.com....Thanks!!!

Have a great weekend!

Joanne said...

I definitely outline first. First roughly, in a journal with a compilation of notes and ideas, but then in a Word file, more organized, to be sure the story will pan out the best I can.

lotusgirl said...

I'm outlining first these days. It makes things go better in the end. Those books look great.

Creepy Query Girl said...

Oooh- thanks for the resources! I'm definitely a plotter. I have to have an outline before I'll start the first draft and it can take weeks to pull together- adding new details and character traits as they come to me.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow, Susan! Those both look awesome. You are going to make my hubby very mad at me when I feel the pull to buy all of these! LOL. :-)

Brian said...

I like the 2nd book. I wouldn't need the first one, I have plenty of words, they just end up in the wrong place sometimes!

Talli Roland said...

Hi Susan!

I haven't heard of either of these books, but they sound like winners! I'm a plotter, but not obsessively. I just need to know what I'm writing towards - where my characters are going and what the crunch point is. Thanks for reviewing all these fab books.

Lenny Lee! said...

hi miss susan! so far all the books you been talking about sound just soooo good. i been learning about plotting stuff out so maybe i could need a book that could help with that. wow there soooo much to learn on being a good writer. im glad theres so much books that could help. thanks for all those reviews. i hope you have a real nice weekend.
...hugs from lenny

Jennifer Shirk said...

I have heard of Karen's book but I haven't read it. I do like to outline but not too extensively. It usually takes me a few days but it's very brief.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Cool resources! I use dictionary.com a lot, too, but this sounds really great! I often struggle to come up with a word that is close to what I want, but not exactly! That second one sounds like it's perfect for NaNo!

Stephen Tremp said...

I use Dictionary.con all the time. I use their Thesauraus too. And I do outline, using bullet points so I don't lose n idea. And I bounce around a lot. Then I'll take a week and really fill out the chapters.

Julie Musil said...

Welcome back, friend! Sorry I'm late to the party.

These books sound great, and I haven't heard of either one. I sometimes refer to my dictionary/thesaurus, but I just use the one that came with my Mac.

And I loosely plot an outline. I use index cards so that I can insert things along the way. So far it's working for me!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I still use the old fashion dictionary. But I have on I loved.

I spend about two weeks on an outline, and it might still change while I'm writing the first draft or two. The one for my current project took awhile because I was doing another project at the same time. When I needed a break from my wip, I would work on my outline. :)

Susan R. Mills said...

I so need that second book!!!!! I just did my first outline ever. Not sure if it's up to par, but at least it's a start. I'll have to check into this book.

Laura Eno said...

Thanks for visiting my blog!
I use thefreedictionary.com a LOT! My outlines are rather minimal, but Karen Wiesner's book sounds intriguing. Thanks for the suggestion!

Paul C said...

This is the second mention of Kipfer's Flip Dictionary I have run across. You provide vivid examples of its potential uses.

Lydia Kang said...

I am definitely an outliner and it takes usually a few weeks to get it all down. I flipped through that second book and realized I was already doing a bunch of what they suggested so I never bought it!

Elizabeth said...

First Draft in 30 Days is an awesome book, but like Alex said, it's best if found BEFORE NaNo! I'm also fond of anything by Donald Maass--especially the Breakout Novel workbook.

I'm a hardcore plotter, and I like efficiency, so I do a little mixing and matching of physical and virtual tools. I plot on post-its and index cards, because there's something about being able to touch and feel them that is key to my creative process, but I also type them into Scrivener so I have them when I'm at school or the library or the vet. I'm also partial to an online dictionary, just because it's easier, but prefer to study writing in an actual book. It's all about the aesthetic.

Jai Joshi said...

I always have a detailed outline before I start writing. It makes everything so much more easier.

Jai

Clara said...

I use the free dictionary on line, it contains not only thesaurus words, synonims, and everything else but also Wikipedia texts! The best thing ever!
I'd love to have that second book, drolling all over it already!

Fragrant Liar said...

Working on two first drafts, and it's slow going, as usual. I use the dictionaries and other resources online, so I have less need of anything in print these days. Unless it's a good novel. I like those in my hands.

Lynda Young said...

The second book would be good for NaNo in particular. As for reference books I prefer online ones because they are so much easier and faster to look up words.

Clark said...

Those are two great resources, thank you! I used to use the Flip Dictionary a lot in my writing, but switched to the Thinker's Thesaurus after a friend recommended it to me. The book is tremendously entertaining to read and took over 15 years to create! Definitely a great tool to use in your writing and to expand your vocabulary.