My Favorite Research Books

» Posted on Jun 15, 2006 in Blog | 3 comments

I have several research books I really like. The first one is Goals, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon. If you ever get a chance to go to her workshop on this, please try to. It is excellent. She goes through her GMC chart and helps you to come up with one for your characters. These three aspects of a story are so important. If your character doesn’t have one of them, then you will run into problems quickly.

Another research book or rather books are the Writer’s Digest ones having to do with murder and crime. Since I’m a romantic suspense writer, I have found these invaluable in helping me with my stories. I have Deadly Doses (a writer’s guide to poisons), Howdunit (how crimes are committed and solved), Murder One (a writer’s guide to homicide), Just the Facts, Ma’am (a writer’s guide to investigators and investigation techniques), and Scene of the Crime (a writers guide to crime scene investigations). If the police saw the books I have on my shelf having to do with crime, they might have some questions for me.

My last book is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. This book helps you go in and polish your manuscript to get it ready for an editor. The chapters cover such topics as: Show and Tell, Characterization and Exposition, Point of View, Proportion, Dialogue Mechanics, See How It Sounds, Interior Monologue, Easy Beats, Breaking Up Is Easy to Do (love this title), Once Is Usually Enough (another good title), Sophistication and Voice. This just about covers everything in telling a story.


  1. Great books! I’m currently reading Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. It’s been neat. It’s not just for writer’s, but it’s applicable to the writer’s life too.

    But it’s more of a craft book I guess than research 🙂

  2. Hi, Margaret –

    I’ll have to check out the Browne & King book! I need help with self-editing.

    Love the background on your blogspot, BTW.

  3. April, that book sounds interesting.

    Merline, Heather Tipton did my blog’s background and she did a great job.


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