Basic Reference Books for Writing-Research

Since a writer, no matter how seasoned, doesn't know everything, having reference materials available is imperative. They may be your own personal property or may be found in libraries.

Every Christian writer must have a Bible.

Inspiration, forgiveness, peace, wisdom, knowledge, correction, hope, fulfillment, guidance, direction and love all come from the Bible.

A basic dictionary is also essential.

Spelling only takes a moment to check. Poor spelling is a plague for writers. If you use a computer for your writing, do not depend on a spell-checker. While it is helpful, it doesn't always differentiate between words.

Next in importance is a thesaurus.

Although we needn't use big words to impress, we need to use a variety of words to express the meaning of what we are writing. Knowing what those words mean and how they are used and misused is wise.


Another essential tool is Sally Stuart's Christian Writers' Market Guide. 

Lists Christian publishers and their requirements. This book is updated each year and is extremely important for Christian authors. It also includes a lot of material for beginning writers. The book is available by direct order from the author at http:/ and is also available in many bookstores and libraries.

Writer's Digest Books publishes a Writer's Market.

Issued each year with up-to-date markets for your work, if you wish to write for secular publishers (and there are many good periodicals),

Writer's Digest and Writer are excellent magazines about the craft of writing.

Subscriptions are reasonably priced.

An inexpensive subscription to Writer's Digest Book Club can also be a source for reference books. Writer's Digest magazine frequently has application forms for the book club. The books offered will help you become a better writer.

When you are ready to submit your writing, you will need a book on formatting your manuscript. Publishers want to see work done in a professional manner.

I consider The Writer's Digest Guide to Manuscript Formats one of the most important reference books. It gives you the ABCs of formatting a professional looking manuscript. Poems, articles, fillers, books and scripts all have their own unique format.

Belonging to a writers' group.

(a group of writers who meet together to share ideas and learn from each other) in your area is also an important source of reference. Christian groups are listed in the back of Sally Stuart's Christian Writer's Market Guide. She also lists contests, agents and various necessary bits of information. At a writing conference one leader said that reading through Writer's Digest magazine is like taking a course in writing.



Depending on the kind of writing you do, you will want to find other books to aid you in your work. Writer's Digest Book Club is an excellent source. Since most beginning writers don't know what their writing genres will be, it is wise to purchase more basic books at first. One can waste a lot of money on the wrong books. Some of your writer friends may also be willing to share their library of reference materials with you.


Strunk and White's The Elements of Style.

This is an excellent book to help with knotty problems of word usage and sentence construction.

Building your own library can be a foundation for your writing future. It all starts with basic reference books.