Tag Archives: Debra Dixon

I get by with a little #help from my #friends..

and by friends, I mean books!

Every year I like to share the list of reference tools and books that keep me sane as a writer. Since I spend sosososososososos much time alone, writing and thinking about writing, I sometimes need tools to help me figure out plots, people, motivations, and dialogue subtexts. Here’s a list of my absolute favorites and the books that keep me sane when I’m trying to swim through the quagmire that is my imagination. Maybe if you haven’t finished making your Christmas and Holiday wish list yet, you’ll consider asking for one of these valuable tools. Believe me, it is money well spent and worth the cost.

1-4  The Emotional Thesaurus ( and amplifier) , The Postive Trait Thesaurus and the Negative Trait Thesaurus


5.Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon. This is like a bible to most writers!thes8

6.The Romance Writer’s Phrase Book. Little snippets, words, and descriptions to tweak your dialogue and writing


7. Master Lists. Every conceivable list you need for character, description, setting. Also fabulous as a reference when you play Trivial pursuit!


8. The title says it all. Rated Triple H for hothothot!


9.Nothing better for getting into the mind of your character and their inner conflicts and struggles


And if you’re looking for a great little romantic fiction read for yourself or as a Holiday gift, well, here’s my newest ( shameful plug) A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS 


When I’m not doing research I can usually be found in one ( or more!) of these places:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//


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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Author Branding, branding, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Editors, Life challenges, love, research, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

No, it doesn’t take a village; it takes a …..library


There’s an old adage in surgery that goes “you see one, you do, you teach one.” Hey, why do you think they call it the “Practice of medicine?” Why am I telling you this medical saying when I usually blog about writing? I’m glad you asked.

No one can actually teach you how to write. You either have the innate, God-give talent, the desire to create pictures with words on the page, the all consuming need to tell your stories, intrinsically. It must be a part of your makeup, your creative DNA, so to speak. No, the talent of writing can’t be taught.

But you can learn the mechanics.

I’m a much better writer today than I was even yesterday ( and the years before) because of books and manuals I’ve studied which have helped and foster my ability to write.

I’ll admit I’m not the best speller in the world, sometimes my tenses get mixed up and I often tell you more than I show you in my stories.


All those things can be taught, improved upon, and ultimately make you a better conveyor of the stories you need to tell.

I’ve listed some of my all time favorite manuals/books here; the ones that I’ve devoured and have helped me become a better writer, and which have helped me find the road to publication a little easier. If publication is your goal, you will not get past the very first reader/agent/editor, if your craft is shoddy and unpolished. Your work must be clean, mistake-free, and tell the reader/agent/editor that you are a writing force to be reckoned with.

Even the best and most prolific writers in the world need a refresher course every now and again.

Here’s my list. See if some of yours are on it. And let me now your favorites if you don’t them listed here.

G.G.C. Goal, Motivation and Conflict  by Debra Dixon

The Emotion Thesaurus, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

Writing the Synopsis by Pam McCutcheon

Show, Don’t Tell by William Noble

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Filed under Characters, Dialogue, Editors

Summer reading list

Remember when we were all in school and at the end of every year we were given a summer reading list by next year’s English teacher? I was the dorky kid who actually liked getting that list because reading was, and still is, my favorite thing to do – during any season.

For the past two summers I’ve started up that summer reading list again for myself, but it’s not filled with literary classics, or modern contemporary fiction.  My reading lists now are filled with “how to” books or what I like to call the refresher  series. Those books that I read, every now and again, to remind me of the craft I love. The books that remind me how to “show,not tell,” the power of strong words not adverbs, the structure in plotting books, the dialogue helping books, and the general this is how you do it for “dummies” books.

Writing is a craft, an art, a talent, and a career. Like any career, you must learn the basics, the tools, and the procedures to be an effective worker. Sometimes, when I am lost in the throws of writing ecstasy,  I tend to forget the rules and just write what is in my head. When I edit, I remember the reason I should get rid of that “ly” word and replace it with a stronger one, the reason why saying “he thought” is probably redundant, and the reason saying “she turned her gaze..” instead of ” she turned her eyes..” is a better descriptor.

My crafting books are helpful in allowing me to remember the power of plotting, and how to do it so to reach a maximum of writing force. Plot structure, scene structure, and point of view refreshers are all helpful when I edit, and re-reading the basics of how to do each has benefited my writing enormously.

I love dialogue, probably because I love talking so much in real life. My dialogue refresher books are always helpful, especially when they help me find two words that will take the place of twenty.

Summer reading lists. Not just for kids, anymore.

Some of my favorite re-reads:

Plot and Structure,  James Scott Bell

Showing and Telling, Laurie Alberts

Writing for Emotional Impact, Karl Iglesias

The Emotional Thesaurus, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

G.M.C., Debra Dixon

Character Traits, Linda N. Edlestein, Ph.D


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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Editors, research