What resources do you have in your own collection?
As part of the Advanced Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing) that I am now undertaking, there are a number of resources that are required and a number that are recommended. In discussion with other writers, I have had some options as well. The first one that any writer needs is the Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers. I have already referenced this several times in the first assignment for the ‘Edit and Present Manuscripts’ subject. It covers not only punctuation, spelling and grammar, but other topics such as design and publishing. Well worth the $50 for a paperback edition, or less if you can find it second hand.
Dictionaries! There are so many out there on the market these days, just don’t go for the cheapest option on the shelf. A fellow writer (Amanda J Spedding) recommended a good Oxford Dictionary. She uses the word exsanguinate as the basis of selecting a good one. I had a good hunt around but the cheapest for brand new was around the $70 mark, so I headed to my favourite second hand book store and picked up a hardcover edition of the Oxford English Reference Dictionary for $20 along with a copy of the Collins A to Z of Grammar and Punctuation.
Last but not least, another invaluable resource is the Collins Dictionary for Writers & Editors. This one covers what needs to be capitalised and common mistakes where it should either be one word or two words. I had a flick through and learnt that the word Gestalt is meant to be capitalised, but can be lowercase but this is less common. If you are looking at becoming an editor, highly essential!
The number of resources for any writer these days is growing. Google is your friend when it comes to searching for anything, along with Wikipedia for a basic overview on a given topic. Even dictionaries are available for free or a small paid subscription online. I also recently picked up a copy of a Steampunk book, out on the cheap at the local book store to use as research for the Ravagers story (was previously titled The Never Ending Pilgrimage), which I am rewriting for a submission. The story is going through an extensive rewrite to change from a future setting to a Steampunk one and has been an excellent resource. The short was around 1,700 words and is now nearing the 3,000 mark with more to come, expanding to a novelette/novella length.
So what resources in your collection have you found to be invaluable?