Here’s a selection of the many books, television shows, movies, applications, programs, courses, and other products and services I recommend. Check back; new recommendations are added often!
Many of the links on this page are to products and services with which I have an affiliate relationship. If you purchase a product or service through a link on this page, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. It’s a great way to support this site and my creative endeavors, so thanks in advance!
Writing and Writing Aids
Software, hardware, books, apps… these are the tools and resources that help me be the best writer I can be.
Outliner / Notes / Commonplace Book / Planner
Yes, Workflowy really is all those things in one… and it’s cross-platform and syncs across the web, Android, iOS, and the desktop! Oh, and hey, it’s got a free level of service that you’ll find perfectly serviceable (but the for-pay level isn’t unreasonably priced, either). I depend on it consistently and constantly throughout every part of my day and in every part of my life: personal, professional, and creative. Check out my article on using WorkFlowy for writers to learn more about WorkFlowy and to find out how to get your own WorkFlowy fiction template.
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks is an excellent reference for learning the architecture of storytelling, using examples from popular fiction. My second novel benefited enormously from the lessons in this book.
The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri is the classic work on dramatic construction, especially as applies to playwriting but equally relevant for film, novels, and short stories.
Story by Robert McKee is one of the bibles of the screenwriting craft, and has tremendous value for anyone interested in learning the structure of… story!
The Hero With a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell is the book that launched a thousand movies, books, and TV shows structured around the monomyth… and while you should read this and understand the concept, please don’t use the monomyth or “hero’s journey” as a template for your story outline. It’s, um, done to death.
Writing Down the Bones is Natalie Goldberg’s classic, invaluable, graceful melding of Zen Buddhism and creative writing. A balm.
Podcast and Music Audio Production
It takes hardware, software, and services to create and maintain a podcast. Here’s what I use to get the job done.
I use the Aurycle a460 large diaphragm studio condenser microphone to record my voice, as well as acoustic guitar. It’s an excellent, warm-sounding condenser microphone.
The Zoom R16 Recorder:Interface:Controller is a full-fledged portable multi-track recording device. And because it’s a controller, you can even connect it via USB to act as an external audio input device. Very cool; an indispensable part of my hardware kit.
Sometimes you don’t need a full-fledged portable multi-track recording device… sometimes, you just need to get some analog signals (a mic and a guitar, perhaps, or two mics) into your computer’s digital audio workstation. For that, I’m crazy about the Behringer U-Phoria UMC202HD, a super-clean, zero-lag audio interface. It’s perfect for podcasting.
I’m not a drummer, but the Akai Professional MPD218 lets me play natural-sounding realistic drum parts with my fingers! It connects directly to the digital audio workstation software of your choice on your computer via USB. So much fun, and with the right samples, sounds great!
My Sennheiser HD 202 headphones are closed-ear “cans” and very lightweight. When you’re recording your own music to playback or doing a podcast interview, you want headphones like this that will do a good job of keeping external noise out of your ears.
Music and Loop Creation
Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio is a really nifty program that’s both a full-fledged multitrack digital audio workstation and, thanks to its extensive collection of loops and samples, a music creation factory, too!
Digital Audio Workstation / Audio Editor
Adobe Audition CC is a fantastic audio editor and mixer for single tracks and multi-track audio projects. It’s where all of my podcast and audiobook production happens for myself and for clients.
Podcast File Hosting
Podcast audio files will eat up the bandwidth and server resources of an ordinary website hosting company, so I depend on a podcast media file hosting service… specifically, Zencast.fm.
Stuff and Things Mentioned In My Articles and Podcasts
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a hilarious and often wrenching exploration of love, diversity, friendship, and mental illness from the mind of Rachel Bloom and her cohort, told across four seasons of television.
The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia by Sir Philip Sidney is available in paperback and ebook from Amazon.com.
Mozart In the Jungle is an absolutely beautiful, moving, and absurd meditation on the friction between art as career, vocation, passion, and compulsion. It’s a four-season Amazon Prime dramatic series.
I look to Pacific Rim to show us every way to tell a plot-driven story at the expense of character development.
Hercules The Legendary Journeys is just good silly fun.
R is for Rocket is a short story collection from Ray Bradbury, and, near as I can remember, the first book of his I owned way back when I was ten years old.
Always Coming Home is a remarkable mosaic novel from Ursula K. Le Guin; my favorite of her works.
Walden is Henry David Thoreau’s classic on self-reliance and living close to the natural world.
Letters to a Young Poet is the poet Rainer Maria Rilke’s correspondence with a young budding poet, in which the older author explores the artist’s relationship with life, maturity, and the creative process itself.
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the influential children’s television series, can be seen on Amazon Prime.
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