Given that November is National Novel Writing Month, the Bookshelves Abound series naturally continues with my Writer’s Bookshelf. This is the fifth of the five bookshelves on the upstairs landing. It sits between the New Bookshelf and my bedroom door.

Writer’s Bookshelf

My writer's bookshelf, where all the books on the craft of writing go, as well as useful reference works.
My writer’s bookshelf, where all the books on the craft of writing go, as well as useful reference works.

The Writer’s Bookshelf is where I’ve collected books about writing, language and other reference works that I think might be useful for writing or editing stories. It also has some general background works as potential research for stories that I have planned outlines for, or have written as short stories and think that I could expand. Let’s start with the top and work down.

Reference Works

The very top shelf has a whole bunch of popular science and practical reference works. Most of these aren’t for writing, they’re inspiration for things to do with my kids. There’s also a bit of political theory, some of this is stuff I did at university (the first time around, not my OU degree). I’ve added to it a bit to help with background on games I’ve designed.

Writing Books

If you are a writer you may also have a shelf like this one. It’s crammed to the point that I cannot fit any more books on it. They are all about some aspect of writing, or the research for a novel length prequel to Hunting Nazis, starting with Dot meeting Reggie while on SOE operations in France in 1943.

Books on Writing

The only one conspicuous by its absence is the Big Red Book from A215. It’s on the academic bookshelf because it didn’t comfortably fit on this one. Of the others I’ve found Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled excellent for writing poetry. The Writer’s Journey is an excellent explanation of the classic hero’s journey and how to use it. Self-Editing for Writers by Browne & King is also an excellent reference on how to re-write your work and give it the structure it needs.

Hunting Nazis

Hunting Nazis was the short story that I wrote for my end of module assessment for A215. It followed a couple of former SOE agents dealing with some unfinished business from WW2 in early 50s Berlin. I’ve been writing the story backwards, it started out as a writing exercise set in 1957 called Planting the Past. Hunting Nazis was set in 1953. I’ve written how the two met, on a cold dark morning at RAF Tempsford as Reggie gets off the Lysander that has just flown him back from France. I think that there might be a series in the period of 1943 to 1953 (and beyond). It’s a slightly supernatural story, crossing the X-Files with nazis and spies. Anyway you’ll find quite a lot of the background material on this bookshelf, and some on the History Bookshelf. It isn’t just SOE operations and war crimes, there are also books on inter-war childhood, social histories of the 1930s-1950s and a bit of the Spanish Civil War (Dot would be too young, but Reggie could have been involved).

More New Books

Some of the new books from the New Bookshelf have spilled over onto the writer’s bookshelf. Mostly I try to keep these to a minimum and also closer to those that might end up on the writer’s bookshelf. This shelf includes some brand new notebooks, including an architect’s notebook that has patterns for buildings and notes on style of architecture. I bought that to sketch things that might help me to write consistently about places (either notes on buildings, or sketch maps).

World War One

There is a shelf and a half of World War One related material on the writer’s bookshelf. There’s no relation to writing with these. I just have a lot of history books and they can’t possibly be confined to a single bookcase. These start behind the new books and continue on the shelf below, partially obscured by the banister. There’s a heavy emphasis on infantry memoires as a result of my game design effort for Hot Blood & Cold Steel, which is a skirmish level game about night patrolling in no man’s land. The rules are free to download.

Hidden Things

Like the other bookshelves, the writer’s bookshelf is overloaded. There are interesting things to be found on the shelves, and books hidden behind other books.

Share Your Own Shelfie

I’m looking for other people’s Shelfies. If you’d like to give me a guest shelf then drop me a line. I’ve got a few more of my own to go, but I’ll squeeze in the guest ones too.