I don’t know about you, but I used to be a compulsive reference book collector. The kind of books I’m talking about are the ones specifically aimed at writers. This has come to mind because as I set up my work area in my new place, I find myself unpacking boxes and boxes of reference books.
A sampling of titles:
The Dictionary of Clichés
A Writer’s Companion
20 Master Plots
Dictionary of Modern Slang
Barlett’s Familiar Quotations
The list goes on and on. The thing that I find funny is that once I purchased each book, I would typically put it on a shelf and never open it. It was a comfort just to know that they were there. In a way, I think I purchased them to prove to myself that I was serious about being a writer. Weird, I know, but it worked.
Nowadays I seldom even open my dictionary as my computer has a perfectly adequate one. Even when I’m looking to name a character, the baby name books I own sit on the shelf, there are now better resources on the Internet.
I contemplated getting rid of some of my growing reference library, but just couldn’t do it. And chances are in the future, if I’m browsing through a bookstore and see a reference book I think might be interesting, I’ll probably buy it. It’ll join the others, but I’ll be glad it’s there.
And by the way, if anyone wants to know “How to Create A New Identity,” I have a book on that, too.