CRW's Recommended Resources for Writers

Websites on Poetry

Websites on Writing

Books on the Craft of Writing

Writing Life

40 Days and 40 Nights: Taking Time out for Self-Discovery: A Guided Journal. Ilene Segalove. Andrews McKeel Publishing, 2004

A Writer's Book of Days: A Spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life. Judy Reeves, Novato, CA: New World Library,1999. Provides writers with topics, instruction, monthly guidelines, dozens of quotes, and tips for special writing sessions such as marathons, cafe writing, and other ways to make the work of writing more creative and fun.

The Art Spirit.  Robert Henri.   Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1958. American artist Robert Henri offers inspiration for individuals wanting to find happiness through the arts.  In addition, he discusses the beliefs and theories integral to being a successful artist.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anne Lamott. New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1994. A humorous and inspirational book about writing and the writer’s life.

Ordinary Genius. Kim Addonizio. New York: W.W. Norton, 2009. Provides many tips and exercises geared for the beginning poet.

The True Subject: Writers on Life and Craft.  Edited by Kurt Brown.  Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf Press, 1993.  Conference lectures by some of our best writers.  They cover secrets concerning technique, craft, and survival.

Wild Mind. Natalie Goldberg.  Wild Mind.  New York: Bantam, 1990.

The Writer’s Idea Book: How to Develop Great Ideas for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Screenplays.  Jack Heffron.  Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 2000.  Filled with more than 400 prompts.  Something for everyone.

The Writer’s Survival Guide. Rachel Simon.  Cincinnati, OH:  Story Press, 1997.   Packed with solid and practical advice for the writing wanting to live the writer’s life.

Writing and Being. G. Lynn Nelson. San Diego: LuraMedia. 1994. A small book with many exercises and tips for the writing personal narratives.

Writing Down the Bones. Natalie Goldberg. Boston: Shambhala,1986. A Buddhist approach to writing that emphasizes paying attention and provides inspiration for all types of writing.


The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing

Poems. Frances Mayes. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2001. This guide to reading and writing poetry emphasizes that poetry is accessible and fun rather than intimidating.

The Making of A Poem, A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms. Mark Strand and Eavan Boland. New York: W.W. Norton, 2000. A great resource for anyone wanting to write sonnets, villanelles, sestinas, and other form poems. It gives a clear definition of the form and examples by famous poets from antiquity through the modern age.       

Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge. New York:Three Rivers Press, 1996. Great little book filled with exercises and with an emphasis on poetry as discovery.

The Poet's Companion. Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux. New York : W.W. Norton, 1997. Wonderful book for beginning poets, written clearly and with great love of the genre by two well-known contemporary poets.

The Practice of Poetry. Robin Behn and Chase Twichell. New York: Harper Perennial, 1992. THE PRACTICE OF POETRY is a compendium of poem-producing exercises devised by many poets and teachers.  Rita Dove's "Ten-Minute Spill" is a good one.

Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry 5th edition. John Frederick Nims. New York: McGraw Hill, 2006. Anything and everything you might want to know about writing poetry and includes an anthology of poetry, both classic and contemporary. (This is used as a textbook for ENG 205 at GCC)

Writing Metrical Poetry. Willima Baer. Cincinnati: Writers Digest Books, 2006. Clear explanations of poetry forms such as sonnet, villanelle, and others by contemporary masters of form, using a systematic, step-by-step approach.


Characters & Viewpoint.  Orson Scott Card. Cincinnati, OH:  Writer’s Digest Books, 1999.  All of the books in the Elements of Fiction Writing series are excellent.  This installment is an in-depth and innovative look at making distinct and unforgettable characters.

Creating Character Emotions.  Ann Hood.  Cincinnati, OH: Story Press, 1998.  This is a gem.  The “good” and “bad” examples of attempts to evoke feelings in fiction and the mini-lessons are exquisite.

Creating Fiction. Julie Hathaway. Cincinnati, OH: Story Press, 1999.

Handbook of Short Story Writing.  Preface by Joyce Carol Oates.  Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 1981.  A collection of the most articles from Writer’s Digest that covers all of the essential aspects of writing a successful story.

Plot & Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish.  James Scott Bell. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 2004.  Award-winning author James Scott Bell offers thorough and practical advice on the craft of plotting.

Story Matters.  Margaret-Love Denman and Barbara Shoup.  New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006.  The interviews with the featured writers and the exercises make this book unique and inspiring.

Turning Life into Fiction. Robin Hemley. Cincinnati, OH: Story Press, 1994.  This book emphasizes techniques to make the most of real-life situations when generating ideas for plot, characters, and themes. Writing the Short Story: A Hands-On Guide for Creating Captivating Short Fiction.  Jack M. Bickham. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest, 1998.  Takes the writer through an individualized process of every phase of writing a short story.

What If? Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter. New York: HarperCollins, 1990. Identifies the major elements of fiction, provides a mini-lecture on each, and tons of exercises to inspire ideas and refine style.


The Art & Craft of Novel Writing. Oakley Hall Cincinnati, OH:  Writer's Digest Books, 1989.  Literary masters offer advice about strategies and essentials of writing a powerful novel. 

The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing.  Meg Leder and Jack Heffron and the Editors of Writer’s Digest.  Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 2002. This book is a compilation of insightful articles written by the finest novelists and publishing insiders.  

How to Write & Sell Your First Novel. Oscar Collier with Frances Spatz Leighton. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 1997.  Literary agent Collier and writer Spatz provide practical marketing advice, essential writing instruction, and inspiring first-novel success stories.

The Novelist's Notebook.  Laurie Henry.  Cincinnati, OH: Story Press, 1999.  The 115 activities make planning and writing the novel fun and rich with possibilities.


The Art and Craft of Feature Writing.  William E. Blundell.  New York:  A Plume Book:  New American Library, 1988.  Blundell’s famous seminars have been incorporated into this guide for producing resonant articles.

The Art of Creative Nonfiction: Writing and Selling the Literature of Reality. Lee Gutkind. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1997.  Award winning author and editor Lee Gutkind offers a comprehensive guide to professional reportage and dramatic narrative.

Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Crafting Stories of Real Life.  Philip Gerard.  Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc., 1996.  Gerard focuses on ways the writer can express the truth while being a brilliant storyteller.  This book is compelling.

Handbook of Magazine Article Writing. Edited by Jean M. Fredette. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 1990. The how-to advice is practical, the guidelines thorough, and the instruction insightful.

Tell it Slant. Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paula. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., 2004.  The innovative exercises, exemplary anthology, and thorough instruction make this an indispensable book.

The Truth of the Matter: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction.  Dinty W. Moore. New York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2007.  By addressing the how and why particular techniques work, beginning creative nonfiction writers are exposed to the essentials of the craft.

Winding Roads: Exercises in Writing Creative Nonfiction.  Diane Thiel. New York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2008.  The exercises are invigorating and tackle the different elements of writing creative nonfiction in an inspiring manner. 

Writing Creative Nonfiction. Edited by Carolyn Forche and Philip Gerard. Cincinnati, OH: Story Press, 2001.  There are more than thirty essays talking about the craft in a direct and thorough way.  The exercises and reader are extraordinary.

Your Life as Story. Tristine Rainer.  New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1997.  A great sourcebook!  It teaches the writer to find treasures that seem fragmented and scattered and transform them into gripping narratives.

Writing Tools

The Describer's Dictionary.  David Gramb. WW Norton & Co, 1993.

The Elements of Style.  William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2000.

The Flip Dictionary  Barbara Ann Kipler. Writers Digest Books, 2002.

The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics.  Alex Preminger (Editor), T.V.F. Brogan (Editor)

On Writing Well. William Zinsser, Harper & Row, 1980.

The Oxford Dictionary of Word Histories. Ed. Glynnis Chantrell.  Oxford University Press, 2002.

Oxford Rhyming Diction.  Clive Upton and Eben Upton.  Cambridge: Oxford UP, 2004.

The Synonym Finder. I. Rodale and Nancy LaRoche. New York: Warner, 1978.

Visual Dictionary Merriam/Webster

Publishing Resources

Directory of Poetry Publishers.  Len Fulton, editor.

2009 Guide to Literary Agents. Editors of Writer’s Digest Books.  Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 2009.

2009 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market.  Editors of Writer’s Digest Books. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 2009.

2009 Poets Market.  Burke Leon, Editor Chantelle Bentley. Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 2009.

2009 Writer’s Market.  Editors of Writer’s Digest Books.  Cincinnati, OH: Writer’s Digest Books, 2009.

Writing Conferences

The Associated Writing Programs Conference --Held at a different city each year, this event is especially geared to MFA students and teachers of creative writing.

Breadloaf Writers Conference in Middlebury, VT.--The country's oldest and most prestigious conference for writers.

Napa Valley Writers' Conference at Napa Valley College in St. Helena, CA--features workshops in poetry, fiction and non-fiction with well-known writers leading the sessions.  Focus is on both creative process and revision.  Also features lectures, panels and readings by faculty.

The Port Townsend Writer's Conference held on July 18–25, 2010 at Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington.

Split Rock Arts Program sponsored by the University of Minnesota at two sites in northern Minnesota--week long residential workshops focusing on creativity enhancement.

Squaw Valley Community of Writers held at the ski resort in the Sierra Nevadas of northern California near Lake Tahoe--this conference has been held for 31 years.  Workshops in poetry, fiction, screenwriting, and nature writing.

Tucson Poetry Festival in Tucson, AZ--a little-known gem of a week-end conference held each spring.  Features readings, workshops, and panel discussion.  Each year  a different  theme.

Black Writers Reunion and Conference (sponsored by Black Writers Organization)

Taos Summer Writers’ Conference —weeklong and weekend workshops.

   For information, contact Johnnie Clemens May, M. F. A.
Coordinator, GCC Creative Writing Program, Phone:
623-845-3538, HT2-111, GCC Main campus


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