Each one of the books for writers listed here comes with my personal recommendation.
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No matter what you write, you need reference books...Books that will help you with the technicalities of your writing.
The better your writing is, the lighter the load on your editor. I charge my better writers less because I do less for them.
Writing that is technically correct disappears into the background and allows your message to shine through.
Not only do the reference books below come with my recommendation, they are the books on my desktop within reach as I work on my own writing and the writing of others.
|If you want only one dictionary of American English, this is the one for you. Required by major universities, it is the standard most Americans recognize.
Keep your dicitonary updated. New words come into our language, meanings and even spellings change. If your dictionary is more than five years old, look for a newer edition.
|If you want to write for the Canadian market, you need to know not only how we spell, but what we call things.
And if you are Canadian...
what can I say?
I began using this particular dictionary when I taught for the University of Saskatchewan.
|After the dictionary, the thesaurus is the most important reference book at the word level.
If you've never used one before, you are in for a treat when you find yourself stuck for a word. Look up any word close to what you wish you could say, and presto!
...several choices lie before you.
Roget's is the classic.
Keep your thesaurus current because the English language keeps growing.
|Value for money!
This little classic fits in your pocket along with the money you'll still have because it costs nearly nothing.
Lovingly called "Strunk and White" by generations of writers, it gives concise information on the most common writing errors.
|If you need more detail about usage, this is the most common style guide for American English.
The Chicago Manual of Style includes information on Canadian usage. Note that it is not 100% accurate.
That said, I own this reference book and use it regularly.
|In a class of its own, Eats, Shoots & Leaves rocked the British publishing industry by selling 500,000 copies in its first year.
Amazing for a book on grammar!
I bought this book on-line immediately after hearing an interview with the author and I've never been sorry. She's both smart and funny. And she can write!
I'd buy this book just to read the section on commas, especially the page where she demonstrates how to use commas to take the reader on soaring flight.
|When someone with a PhD in writing writes about writing it's worth paying attention. When the technique she teaches in the book is standard practice in writing classes all over the English-speaking world, the book moves to the must-have list.
I had been teaching writing for years, using Rico's methods before I found her book.
I've worked through the exercises in her book twice and use many of them regularly when I write. I started winning writing contests when I started writing the natural way.
|In a freelance writer's forum I visit regularly, this books gets more recommendations than any other.
Practical advice from someone who has made a good living from his writing, this may be the book that puts money in your pocket...
..and that's a good thing.
|Peter Elbow took me by the elbow and pointed me toward compelling writing that others would pay for. Most days since I first read his book, I recall his advice and his challenge.
To me, this book was not so much a how-to as a call to action. If you want inspiration to write for money, this is your book.
|Everything you could hope to know about self-publishing all in one book written by the king of self-publishers, Dan Poynter.
The section on marketing is important reading for any writer.
You know the book is doing a good job when it has gone through as many editions as this one has.
My copy is dog-eared and well-marked.