Writing Resources — Let’s Share!

There are a number of resources to use when you’re writing, but they’re often dependant on your genre. Even after deciding a genre, the sub-genres can be exacting, requiring meticulous research.

If you write historicals the dates and history have to be correct. While Regency is considered historical, you craft stories in a finite time period with particular dress, furnishings, class and demeanor. And the Regency Police are waiting in the wings to pounce!

A few books I use regularly are for names. Sherrilyn Kenyon has done CHARACTER NAMING, a beautiful sourcebook for African, Anglo-Saxon, American, Celtic, German, Teutonic and too many others to list, of surnames with brief histories about each one. It helps keep surnames true to storyline or region. For first names I have an assortment of baby name books, and on-line sources to ensure the names stay true to the period. (I cite the Regency Police again. Yes, they are that persnickety!) I even picked up a Cajun French phrase book since all the Cajun French I learned in the oilfield is generally non-repeatable in polite company, and I love the cadence of the language as well as the realism it lends to a story.

Yes, I'm waving hello through the cover!

I love the psychology of a character and I use resource books to tweak them into shape using books such as Rachel Ballon’s BREATHING LIFE INTO YOUR CHARACTERS. I also love the perfect word, which means J.I. Rodale’s THE SYNONYM FINDER gets a real workout. The spine is broken, the pages bent and curled, and the cover damaged past hope. I included the first photo of the Rodale to show just how well used it is. I can literally wave hello through the cover. I said it was well used! It’s such a favorite of mine it’s included in every writing raffle or gift basket I make.

For my stories based in New Orleans I’ve done quite a bit of Voodoo research. I’ve been given voodoo dolls, gris-gris, mojos and numerous books. Papa Legba, a voodoo Loa (or demi-god) is the guardian to the gate of the Spirit World. He’s often represented as a skull wearing sunglasses with one lens missing; the missing lens signifies he sees into both worlds. 

Voodoo is alive and well in New Orleans!

A good book for accurate local haunted history is NEW ORLEANS GHOSTS AND VAMPIRES, JOURNEY INTO DARKNESS…  Take a New Orleans Haunted History tour if you ever have the opportunity. You’ll remember it for the rest of your life! If nothing else, arm yourself with a Place Map and spend the day on a walking tour. Good sources for books while there are Reverend Zombie’s and Esoterica.

A few of Runere's well used resource books.


Herbal books, Spellbooks, bells, candles, sage, salt, stones, crystal balls and crystals. Items common to healing and the Craft.

For centuries there has been a failure to make the distinction between healers and witches. I have a number of research books for both those areas. Though I love to share, I’m squeamish about lending one particular book out. It has White Magick in it, but it also has some pretty horrific Black Magick spells in it as well. And yes, that book in the left forefront does say The Supermarket Sorceress!  

For Werewolf stories I have a few histories on Werewolves. I was really surprised to find their presence recognized in a large number of countries, on equal footing with Vampires! I’m particularly fascinated with their connection to Native American cultures.

Werewolf books, playing wolf cub, wolf knife and medicine pouch.


I’ve shared a few resources from my genre, the paranormal. I’d really like to hear which resources you use for writing in your genre. Hope we have a really good exchange here to share with visitors!  Thanks!

6 Responses

  1. Um…*thinks* When I was in college, I was curious about Wicca, so I have a lot of books on green witchcraft, aromatherapy, astralprojection and the like, but I rarely ever use them for research. Most of my “research” is very basic, like how to tinker with a car without making it obvious. I pick people’s brains more than anything. Like the day I called my cousin’s firefighter husband and asked him how to start a fire without leaving evidence. Yeah, that was an interesting conversation and his family (also firefighters) were wondering why he was giving this woman such dangerous information. *angelic smile*

    • We have to get into the heads of our characters, right? lol My Dad was a fire chief and fielded a number of odd questions at strange times so I understand.

      Quick suggestion for tinkering with cars w/o someone knowing: Don’t just yank the coil wire and toss it atop a nearby roof; too obvious and easily found. Instead snap the two side clips off the rotor cap (the thingy that looks like an eight, six, or four snaked Medua head, depending on number of engine cylinders) and remove the little bar (rotor button) from inside. Clip the cap back on and they’ll grind on the starter trying to start it long enough to drain the battery as well. Double Header in disablement!

      Did that help? *folds hands innocently in lap*

  2. Wonderful resources, Runere! As you know, I hit you up for some ideas a while back and I’m proud to say I got some great resources based on your recommends. Mine are on their way to being dogeared but I have a bit to go til they look like yours! I hope to use them for many years! ! You’re awesome!

    • Thanks, Jillian. Was feeling puny from bad Mexican food so it’s not my best, but glad to know I did at least one thing to help someone! lol

      Looking forward to the GCCRWA meeting tomorrow! The program sounds interesting!

  3. Hey – I forgot a great resource I have – it’s a book called Signs and Symbols Sourcebook by Adele Nozedar. It is full of great info.

    • I worked a rough draft on a story involving a traveling band of gypsies, and found SIGNS, SYMBOLS & OMENS by Raymond Buckland carried symbols the Travelers used to communicate between bands.

      A triangle with stick arms and hands extended meant “Owner has a gun”, and a sickle blade with handle meant “Dishonest person”. A long horizontal rectangle with a four-pronged capital E with tines facing donward inside it meant “Dangerous dog”. They even left messages on who could be persuaded: A large triangle followed by a line of three small triangles meant “Tell a pitiful story”. LOL

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