Resources for Writers

Below are links to writing-related resources I've found on the web that were useful, interesting, or helpful to me. If you're interested in writing, you may find them of value as well.

Mentors and Inspirations:

Though none of these authors has actually sat down one-on-one and worked with me, all of them have given me something significant that helped or inspired me.  I therefore recommend their blogs and books:

  • Michael A. Stackpole's Web Site:  New York Times Bestselling author Michael A. Stackpole shares insights on writing, the publishing industry, and other topics on his web site.  I've learned a lot from him and recommend the various writing products he sells in his web store.  I've posted notes I've taken at seminars he's taught in the "Writing Tips" section of this site.

  • Joe Konrath's Blog - A Newbie's Guide to Publishing:  Author Joe Konrath is a proponent of self-publishing, and shares tips and recommendations via his blog.  His Jack Daniels thriller series is great fun to read.

  • Storyfix:  Writing tips from Larry Brooks, author of Story Engineering and Story Physics, two very good books on how to construct a novel

  • Immediate Fiction:  The web site of author and writing teacher Jerry Cleaver.  His writing book of the same name is one of the best I've read.
  • Austin Kleon:  Author of Steal Like an Artist and other books, creator of blackout poems, and musician.  His advice for supporting an artist you love?  (1) Give them money.  (2) Share their work with others.  (3) Leave them alone so they can make more of it.  His 33 thoughts on reading should be of interest to fiction writers.

  • Janine K. Spendlove:  Janine is the author of the fantasy book series War of the Seasons.  Like me, she's a student of Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston.  She took what they taught her and ran with it. Her example has inspired me to do the same.
  • Chuck Wendig:  His blog is a pleasure to read, his success as an author is inspirational, and his writing tips are often useful to me.

Writing Tips, Advice, and Stories:

How-To Publications for Writers:

  • Michael A. Stackpole's Web Store:  From this site, Michael A. Stackpole sells his short stories, novels, and various "how to write" guides.

  • Writer's Digest:  This magazine and web site provides tips for aspiring authors and publishes a number of valuable "how to write" books.

  • Online Novel Writing Workshop:  Says it will help you write a novel from start to finish.  It's a four-week workshop delivered by email.

  • The Writer Magazine:  This link goes to their index of articles on fiction, freelance writing, nonfiction, poetry, and other topics.

Online Tools of Value to Fiction Writers:

  • Social Security Administration Baby Name Database:  If you're looking for a name to give one of the characters in a story you're writing, this can be helpful in picking something realistic.  It contains data about popular baby names going back several decades.

  • Textalyser:  An online text analysis tool that can provide word count, readability measures (Gunning-Fog Index), average syllables per word, average sentence length, word frequency, phrase frequency, etc.

  • Seventh Sanctum:  This site offers a number of "generators" for things like character names, magic spells, government and organization names, gadgets, spaceships, etc.

  • Behind the Name:  This random name generator can help you generate a real-sounding name based on criteria you specify, such as names based on various ethnicities, mythologies, etc.

  • Document Readability Tester:  Supply it with a sample of text, and it will count the characters, words, and sentences.  It will tell you the average number of characters per word, syllables per word, and words per sentence.  You'll also get readability ratings using Coleman Liau, Flesch-Kincaid, ARI, SMOG, and Flesch Reading Ease.

  • Slanguage:  This rather chaotic looking site contains information about "slang language" used in various parts of the world, different professions, etc.  It may help your dialogue sound more authentic.

  • AutoCrit Editing Wizard:  Provides information about overused words, repeated phrases, sentence length variation, dialogue tags, repeated phrases, and more.  Some features are free, others cost money.

  • Word Frequency Counter:  Provides statistics on the frequency of certain words in your text.

  • Random Name Generator:  Provides randomly generated names of a variety of types.

  • Town Name Generator:  Provides randomly generated names for towns.

  • Red Dragon Inn Town Generator:  Provides detailed information and randomly generated names for fantasy towns

  • Cliche Finder:  Searches for "just the right cliche to use"
  • Grammar Check:  An online tool for checking your grammar.
  •  An online style and grammar checking tool with some free functionality and some paid-for functionality.

Writing Contests, Projects, and Workshops:

  • National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo):  This site runs a contest each year in which participants try to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days or less.  I participated in 2009, and expect to do the same in 2010.  It boosted my confidence by showing me that I really could crank out a novel in that much time.

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