A Burglar’s Guide To The City, Geoff Manaugh
Start with heists, tunnels, and break-ins, and then let your imagination take over. Manaugh guides you through the secrets hidden between the walls of the world around us. Ready to plan a crime for your next novel? Then this is the study guide you need to think like a thief.
59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot, Richard Wiseman
Psychologist Richard Wiseman reveals how small changes in human behavior can not only change us but also those around us. If you’re looking for insights to flesh out characters, this will give you quite a few unique ideas. It might also inspire you to put a plant on your desk and change your artwork.
A Spy’s Guide To Thinking & A Spy’s Guide To Strategy, John Braddock
Braddock, a former CIA case worker, explains Zero Sum thinking and how to size up any confrontation. A handy thing to know when outlining character motivations and in a battle of wills, who will win. I’ve purchased Strategy based on the quality of Thinking and will add a review soon.
Body language is the tell that unconsciously shows the world how you feel and what you’re thinking. Exactly what writers need to do for readers without falling back on cliched reactions. If your characters are trying to hide something, their body is giving it away. Ex FBI agent, Joe Navarro shares real-world non-verbal skills that that will add realism to your fiction and show readers everything you want them to see. Navarro has several more books, but these are the ones I’ve read and highly recommend. Three Minute To Doomsday is riveting, not only for the tight writing but also for the chilling fact it’s non-fiction.
Software for Writing
Grammarly is more than a grammar checker. It’s like having your high school language arts teacher standing over your should while you edit and pointing out how you can strengthen your copy, fix errors, and put those commas exactly where they belong. After having the same issue highlighted several times, you’ll find you naturally begin to incorporate the advice as you write. Grammarly works in-browser, as a desktop app, and as a Chrome plugin that extends its function to email, online forms, social posts, and anywhere you type. In fact, it’s pointed out two errors (now fixed) in this paragraph. You can use the free version which points out basic errors or purchase the full version for a more robust version for heavy editing. See a video review here to decide which level of Grammarly works for you.
Evernote is an essential organizer. Think of it like a desk covered in stacks of notebooks, only these orderly, searchable, files can be moved from one notebook to another, and you can even attach emails and files to the notes to keep projects all in one place. Evernote has a free option which gives you generous flexibility and a paid version that gives you more storage, the added functionality. As with any SaaS (software as a service) that offers free and paid levels, use the free version first to see if it fits your workflow and becomes part of your daily habit. Once you find you’re hitting the functionality ceiling and need more options, then you know your funds are well spent on a tool you’ll use. It also has a mobile app so your notes go where you go.
Scrivener is writing software built for writers. If you’ve ever tried to write a novel with a regular text editor or word processor, you know how difficult it is to move around your manuscript and keep track of notes and research. Scrivener puts all of this within a project with dedicated sections for character profiles, research, and more. Writing can be broken out into chapters and scenes which can be displayed on a virtual corkboard and rearranged as needed. This is a great way to see an overview of how your story is developing, as well as a reference for writing a publication summary. The program is sold via Amazon downloads, but be sure to refer to the Literature and Latte website to make sure you’re getting the latest version. A companion app for iPad is also available in the app store and syncs with the desktop version via Dropbox.