Links on Writing

2 Feb

Please scroll down if you’d like to skip my preamble and see all the links.  Also, for a more updated list, check out my “Links” page on the menu atop. :)

Let me just start off by saying that the Internet is an amazing tool.  It’s ridiculous how much is out there nowadays.  Really.  (And it’s free!)

Over the years I’ve done oodles of research into how to write a novel, a lot of it online.  I knew absolutely nothing starting off and wanted to learn as much as I could.  Along the way I kept track of all the useful websites I’d visited under my “Favorites” tab on Internet Explorer and I’ve been referring back to this collection of links ever since.

So, I figured, why not share the wealth?

If you’re at all like me, having a voracious appetite for knowledge, then you might make great use of this resource.  Please do!  There are a lot of wonderful authors out there (like those listed on the right column of this blog) who have shared their knowledge via websites and blogs.  If it weren’t for them, I’d know next to nothing about writing.

Below is an extensive list of links to articles about writing.  It is listed topically in alphabetical order (should be, anyway).  That way, if you have a particular interest in one aspect of writing you can just look under that topic and browse accordingly.  I plan on adding sites along the way if I come across new ones that I believe share information that might be helpful to fiction, particularly speculative fiction, writers.

Now, if you’ve taken a look at the list and already want to flee, I can recommend a few good sites for beginners (below) that go over the basics:

Larry Brooks does a great job of covering the basicswhat he calls the Six Core Competencies of writing: concept, character, theme, story structure (plot), scene construction and writing voiceon his website, and it isn’t particularly focused on any one type of genre.  However, I do find his site a little difficult to navigate through at times.  Still, it would certainly be a good start content-wise.  Also, check out Holly Lisle‘s site for writers and Martha Well‘s list of links for beginners.  (Martha lists some good books on writing to check out or purchase, too, if you get the chance.)  Now, if you’d really like everything laid out in a straight line for you, then you should check out how-to-write-a-book-now.com because that’s exactly what you’ll get there.

Suite101 is another great free resource available to writers and has tons of articles written by professionals, not just on writing but on other topics like music, history and technology.

If anyone knows of any other links that would fit nicely on this list, do feel free to share and I will check it out and add it.  I’ll be sure to make a list of names to thank and credit for any additions. :)

Helpful Links for Writers:

Action Scenes

  1. Action? Write spare to get the most. – Night Bazaar
  2. Thriller: Writing the Action Scene – FM Writers
  3. Writing Action Scenes – About.com
  4. Writing Action Scenes – Magical Worlds

Agents

  1. Agent Query
  2. Guest Blog: Ginger Clark on How to Handle an Offer of Representation – Nathan Bransford
  3. How to Find a Literary Agent – Nathan Bransford
  4. Publishers Marketplace (requires a monthly fee of $20 for access to some of the information, though not info on members–i.e. agents!)

Chapters

  1. Dividing a Novel into Chapters – Suite101 (I’m thinking chapters tend to be a bit longer for fantasy and epic fantasy novels, but this article is still good reading, in any case)
  2. How Long Should Your Story Be?  – Fiction Factor (general guidelines to go by)
  3. How to Write a Strong Novel Chapter – Suite101

Character Creation & Development

  1. Antagonist in Fiction: He Is Powerful – Writing.com
  2. Building Character(s) – Deep Genre
  3. Characterization – Writing Corner
  4. Choosing Your Main Character and His/Her Essential Counterpart – How to Write a Book Now
  5. Creating Archetypal Characters To Fill The Dramatic Functions in Your Novel – How to Write a Book Now
  6. Creating Memorable Villains: Four Steps to Creating Unforgettable Fictional Bad Guys – Suite101
  7. Creative Writing Tips – Have You Established Your Main Character At The Start? – Advancing Women
  8. Defining and Developing Your Anti-Hero – Writer’s Digest
  9. Direct vs. Indirect Characterization – Fiction Factor
  10. Fiction Writing: Characters Rule the Story – Men With Pens
  11. Fiction Writing: What Makes Readers Care About Your Characters? – Men With Pens
  12. Holly Lisle’s Create A Character Clinic (requires an online purchase for the PDF file, though is quite affordable at $9.95 and very informative)
  13. How to Create Characters That Are Believable and Memorable – How to Write a Book Now
  14. Kameron Hurley, Author of God’s War, on “Bring Me Your Heroes” – Omnivoracious (Kameron Hurley talks about anti-heroes)
  15. Realistic, Engaging Characters in Fiction: How to Build Character in Novels and Short Stories – Suite 101
  16. The Other in Fiction: Creating Wonderfully Wicked Villains – Horror Factor
  17. The Story Crucible: The Factor that Keeps the Character in Trouble – Suite101
  18. Villains – Fiction Factor
  19. Villains vs. Antagonists – SF Novelists
  20. Ways Minor Characters Improve a Story – Suite101
  21. What Are You Talking About? write here, write now (a look at gender and archetypes)
  22. Writing Authentic Male Characters – Superhero Nation (being female, I found this useful)
  23. Writing the Male Character – Fierce Romance (generalizations, though again, probably most useful to females)

Climaxes

  1. Reaching Climax in a Novel Requires Planning – Suite101 (it really does)
  2. Rising to the Occasion: the Climax of Your Novel – SFWA
  3. Troubleshooting a Weak Climax in a Novel – Suite101
  4. Troubles With the Plot Climax – Finding Figments

Concept

  1. Concept Defined – Writer’s Digest (Larry Brooks; really an excellent article; also addresses the terms “idea” and “premise”)
  2. Using Concept To Focus The Story – The Visual Writer

Conflict

  1. Increase Character Conflict: Make Characters and the Story More Interesting By Increasing Conflict – Suite101

Dialogue/Dialog(they’re the same thing)

  1. How to Write Dialogue in Fiction – Associated Content
  2. Writing Compelling Dialogue in Fiction – Suite101
  3. Writing Effective Dialog – The Writer’s Ezine
  4. Writing Excuses 5.20: More Dialog Exercises – Writing Excuses (podcast – 24min.)

Editing & Revision

  1. Elements of a Novel: Editing – Musik Therapie
  2. One-Pass Manuscript Revision: From First Draft to Last in One Cycle – Holly Lisle
  3. Revision Technique – NaNoEdMo

Endings & Resolutions

  1. Creative Writing Ends With Conflict Resolution – Suite101
  2. Editing – Suite101 (lists a whole collection of topical articles on editing)
  3. Writing the Novel – Guidelines for Effective Endings – Suite101

Genre
(Not sure what genre(s) you write in?  Check out the “Genre Descriptions” article under All Genres.  Still confused?  Well, my friend, you might be writing cross-genre fiction.  Many folks out there would agree that some genre definitions are a bit…vague to begin with.  Do some research, read more in the field(s) you think your work fits in and maybe then you’ll have a better idea of where your work fits it.  We fledgling writers will need to know this eventually anyway if we plan on getting our work published some day.)

Grammar

  1. Bold or Italics? – Artemy Lebedev
  2. Guide to Grammar & Writing – Capital Community College
  3. Handling Internal Dialogue in Fiction: Using Quotation Marks and Italics to Express a Character’s Thoughts – Suite101
  4. How to Correct Run-On Sentences & Comma-Splices: Ways to Identify & Punctuate Using Semicolons, Conjunctions, Periods – Suite101
  5. How to Use a Colon and Semicolon – Suite101
  6. Hyphen everything2.com (who knew there were so many types!)
  7. Parentheses in Fiction – Crawford Killian
  8. Passive Voice – unc.edu
  9. Punctuation Rules of English Ellipses and Braces – Suite101
  10. Semicolon Use – Suite101
  11. The Humble Hyphen – Punctuating With Hyphens, Em Dashes, and En Dashes Ezine @rticles
  12. The Proper Use of “Lay” and Lie” Grammar Tips (this eluded me for the longest time…)
  13. When and How to Use a Dash in Writing: Used to Interrupt, Introduce, Repeat, Separate & Clarify Sentences – Suite101

How to Get an Idea

  1. Novel Writing Ideas: How to Get Them – How to Write a Book Now
  2. Writing Excuses 5.10: John Brown and the Creative Process – Writing Excuses

Magic

  1. Sanderson’s First Law – Brandon Sanderson

Manuscripts
(You’ll find some variances, depending on your source, and the guidelines in these links are pretty much similar, but ultimately you’ll want to go with the publisher’s guidelines.)

  1. A Quick Guide to Manuscript Format – Writing World
  2. How to Format a Manuscript – Holly Lisle
  3. How to Format an Unpublished Novel in Word 2007 – eHow
  4. Manuscript 101–Introduction & Basic Manuscript Format – Kaye Dacus

Marketing Your Novel (or yourself)

  1. Carol Berg on Book Releases – Night Bazaar
  2. How to Create a Facebook Page in 3 Easy Steps – Author Tech Tips
  3. Your Blog as Stage: Building a Believable Author Brand – Storyfix

Novel Length

  1. Creative Writing: How Long Should Your Novel Be? – Ezine @rticles
  2. Uncle Orson’s Writing Class: Novel Length – Orson Scott Card
  3. What Is the Ideal Novel Length? – Novel Writing Help

Organic Writing

  1. Organic Plotting – Jodi Henley
  2. Organic Writing (mind-mapping) – From the Crow’s Nest
  3. SOLVED: The Outlining vs. Organic Writing Debate – write to done (Larry Brooks)

Outlining

  1. Holly Lisle’s Novel-Writing School (yes, it’s free)
  2. How To Create A Plot Outline In 8 Easy Steps – How to Write a Book Now
  3. Outlining Your Novel in Thirty Minutes – SFF Net
  4. Writing an Outline of Your Novel – How to Write a Book Now

Point of View (POV) & Perspective

  1. Multiple Points of View – Tara K. Harper
  2. Story Perspective – Storymind

Plot

  1. Conflict and Character within Story Structure: The Basic Three Act Structure – Musik Therapie
  2. Good Plots Take Time – Highlights Foundation
  3. How to Plot Your Novel – Spacejock
  4. Plot Development: Climax, Resolution, and Your Main Character – How to Write a Book Now
  5. Plots & Stories – Tameri
  6. Plot Versus Character: Which Drives the Story? – Hear Write Now
  7. STORY STRUCTURE: PART ONE (Asking the Right Questions) – SFF Net
  8. The “Basic” Plots in Literature – ipl2
  9. The Best Approach To Story Structure: From Aristotle to Dramatica – How to Write a Book Now (debatable, but still worth reading)
  10. The Story Goal: Your Key To Creating A Solid Plot Structure – How to Write a Book Now
  11. The Top Ten Plotting Problems – SFF Net
  12. Tips for Plotting: How to Create a Fascinating Plot for Your Story – Associated Content
  13. Writing Excuses Season Three Episode 12: Subplots – MBarker at Live Journal (transcript of a podcast discussion on subplots featuring fantasy author Brandon Sanderson; link to original podcast provided)

Plot Twists

  1. Playing it Straight With Plot Twists – Dave King Editorial Services

Prologues

  1. Pondering the Prologue: Should You Keep it or Kill it? – The Other Side of the Story
  2. Prologues – This Side of Hell – Behler Blog (from an editor’s POV)
  3. The Prologue – When to Use One, How to Write One – Foremost Press
  4. Where to Begin? When, Where and How to Write a Prologue – Writing World

Publishing

  1. CompletelyNovel (a combination self-publisher/social network; read a review by Self-Publish Review here)
  2. Lulu: Self Publishing & Book Printing Solutions (a review from PCMag here)
  3. Publishers Marketplace (requires a monthly fee of $20 for access to some of the info)
  4. The Pros and Cons of Self Publishing – Suite101
  5. To POD or Not to POD? Some Pros and Cons – Writing World

Query Letters

  1. How to Write a Query – Agent Query
  2. Query Letter #… – Call My Agent (an Australian literary agent posts some examples of query letters and explains what works, what doesn’t and why)

Scams

  1. Avoiding Writing Scams – Night Bazaar
  2. Warnings About the Schemes, Scams, and Pitfalls That Threaten Writers – SFWA

Scenes

  1. Scenes: The Building Blocks of Novels – Suite101
  2. The Essential Scene List – Kay Kenyon
  3. Writing in Scenes, Part 1 – Kay Kenyon

Short Stories

  1. Short Stories: 10 Tips for Creative Writers – Dennis G. Jerz
  2. Tips for Writing a Short Story – Write 101

Starting (& Finishing) a Novel

  1. How to Write a Novel – Justine Larbalestier
  2. How to Write a Novel (Part 1) – DeepGenre
  3. How to Write a Novel – Spacejock
  4. How to Write a Novel: The Snowflake Method – Advanced Fiction Writing (not recommended unless you have a clear vision of your novel before starting)
  5. Stages of a Novel: Writing the Rough Draft – Katie Ganshert
  6. The Tyranny of the First Draft – Karen Miller
  7. What Starts a Story? – Kay Kenyon
  8. Writing Your Books In Multiple Drafts – AutoCrit

Style & Prose

  1. Checklist: Elements of Literary Style – teachers.lakesideschool.org
  2. Passive Voice – unc.edu
  3. Send up the (Red) Flag: Words That Often Spell Trouble – The Other Side of the Story (gives some great examples of the problematic use of certain words)
  4. Style: the Rhythm of Prose – Fiction Factor
  5. Turkey City Lexicon – A Primer for SF Workshops – SFWA (meant for science fiction writers, though it has great pointers for writers in general; scroll down to “Part One: Words and Sentences” for the helpful stuff)

Synopses

  1. How to Write a Synopsis – Writing-World
  2. Mastering the Dreaded Synopsis – Condensing Your Novel – Fiction Factor
  3. Synopsis vs. Outline – Fiction Factor
  4. Trilogy Synopses – Fantasy Factor

Theme

  1. Choosing a Theme for Your Novel – How to Write a Book Now
  2. Does Your Fiction Novel Have a Theme? – Men With Pens (a guest post from Larry Brooks)
  3. Finding Your Themes – Holly Lisle
  4. The Elusive And Confounding Core Competency That Is “Theme” – Storyfix (Larry Brooks again!)

Writer’s Block

  1. Plotters vs. Pantsers: How To Make Sure Writers Block Doesn’t Kill Your Dream – How to Write a Book Now

Writer’s Groups

  1. Writing Groups – The Writer Magazine

Worldbuilding & Setting

  1. A way with worlds: 14 – Creating new religions – SFF World (try to ignore the annoying ads)
  2. Choosing a Setting for Your Novel – How to Write a Book Now
  3. Creating Worlds, Part 1: Overview and Uniqueness – The Write Thing
  4. Fantasy Worldbuilding Questions – SFWA
  5. Holly Lisle’s Create A Culture Clinic (requires an online purchase for the PDF file, though is quite affordable at $9.95 and very informative)
  6. Holly Lisle’s Create A Language Clinic (requires an online purchase for the PDF file, though is quite affordable at $9.95 and very informative)
  7. How to Draw Nice Maps – Zompist
  8. On Religion in SF and Fantasy: An Interview with Orson Scott Card – Writing World
  9. The Mythopoet’s Manual – Loren J. Miller
  10. Worldbuilder Questions – Lars Eighner (tip: try pressing Ctrl+A to highlight all text and make it stand out if it’s too hard to make out on the graph paper background)
  11. Worldbuilding 201: Normalizing the Absurd – Kameron Hurley

Keep in mind, too, that some of these links cover multiple topics and some are even from the author links I’ve posted on this blog.

If you happen to visit one website and find yourself liking most of the content on it, then why not add them to your favorites?  I admit, I’m going to be putting up a ridiculous number of links and the thought of it overwhelms even me.  Having a resident go-to how-to site, if you will, that you feel most comfortable with is a lot less daunting than having a huge list in front of you.  (Though, I personally believe it’s good to diversify and read from multiple sources, just to cross-reference information.)

Again, this is just a resource.  What one writer may find immensely helpful another may think is useless and utter crap.  I’m just putting it all out there because you never know what you might learn from someone else’s perspective.

A Final Note

If there’s one prominent thing I’ve learned in my experience so far, it’s this: There is more than one way to write a novel or complete a story.  Lots of these links will suggest multiple strategies for achieving results, and not all of them may work for you.  As a new writer you will have to try different methods and learn what works best for you.  It can be a tedious, frustrating process, but I believe that the writer who knows himself well will have a better time of knowing what to write and how to write it.  Keep that in mind if you ever feel overwhelmed with your project because becoming a good (or rather a great) writer takes lots o’ time.

I should know; I’m still trying to get there!

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