My Favorite Resources for Writers
Books on writing:
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression (Second Edition) by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi — This is a part of a series. They are all helpful for avoiding repeated descriptions. If your characters are always sighing (sighing is all mine used to do!) this is the book for you.
“I Give You My Body:” How I Write Sex Scenes by Diana Gabaldon — Yes, THAT Diana Gabaldon. The author of the Outlander novels provides a clear path to writing tricky scenes. Applicable to description sequences in general, not just the naughty ones.
Save the Cat! Writes A Novel by Jessica Brody — Detailed breakdown of the elements of a successful story.
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print by Renni Browne & Dave King — A must have for improving the prose quality of your drafts. This book taught me how to see my manuscripts with fresh eyes.
Writing in an Age of Silence by Sara Paretsky — I’ve got to give a shout-out to the Grande Dame of crime fiction who formed my favorite professional organization, Sisters in Crime.
DIY MFA Radio with Gabriela Pereira — Check this out for wonderful interviews on world building, character development, and more.
Unlikeable Female Characters — The focus of the podcast is discussing female characters, particularly in thrillers. All three hosts are published writers so they include tips on creating complex characters along with their book reviews.
This website provides a wealth of free and paid services for writers. I consistently get thoughtful critiques of my work from other writers. The critiques are excellent because they are from strangers with no personal investment in my writing. There are also vibrant forums for discussing craft issues.
Read and heed the hundreds of query letter critiques.
Janet Reid’s blog provides a wealth of information about the business and craft of writing. There are regular flash fiction contests and I even know one of the winners personally. (ME! It’s me! I actually won something, which is proof anything is possible.)
Moniza’s blog has examples of how to write a query, including my guest sample query of Jane Eyre.
A fantastic, detailed resource for writing diverse characters and avoiding harmful stereotypes.
Companion website to the podcast.
Best-selling suspense author Lisa Gardner provides articles about research, plotting, and writing submission materials. I found her guide on writing a synopsis invaluable.
Perfect place to start for anyone wanting to learn the basics about writing professionally. This site gives a comprehensive overview of different career paths and provides plenty of links for more information. Special thanks to the fellow writer who shared this valuable resource with me!
A database of thousands of agents, this website helps you research, organize, and, well, track your queries. User comments on individual agents give approximate response times. Ideal for fueling the obsessive fires of a querying writer’s brain.
There is a vibrant community of writers on Twitter. To connect with them use the hashtags: #writingcommunity #amwriting #amediting #5amwritersclub #storysocial #writerslife #momswritersclub #ThrillsandChills
Introduce yourself, ask and answer questions, follow and follow back fellow writers. Like, retweet, and comment on posts you find interesting. You will build a solid following.
Many literary agents answer questions under the hashtag #askagent. Agents announce that they will be answering questions for a set period of time.
#MSWL (manuscript wish list) is a great hashtag to follow if you are querying agents. Agents use the hashtag to let writers know they are looking for a specific story, genre, or category.
Alexa’s educational videos are fun to watch. She goes into detail about challenges like pacing, querying, and outlining.
Industry professionals answer questions about publishing and provide insightful comments about the querying process.
Two authors discuss balancing writing with mom life. Valuable for anyone who struggles to find time to write.
Your Local Library:
If you have access to a local library take advantage of it! Many libraries offer free writing workshops, critique groups, and seminars by industry professionals. Of course, there are also tons of free books to borrow on writing. Browse through the 800s and find some priceless resources.
Librarians are available to help you find books in your genre and category. This can be useful when trying to find comparison titles (comps) to pitch your own work.