Here are some writing resources that I use. These websites and books are what taught me how to write and edit. I hope you find them as useful as I have. This is a work in progress, as I will find new resources every day, but these are some of the books and websites that help me out on a daily basis for writing.
Books I use for Writing
This book is probably one of my favorite writing guides. It’s pretty straightforward in its message and is designed to give you a method to your writing madness. The first few words in the first chapter, Beginnings, go like this:
The only way to begin is to begin, and to begin right now. If you like, begin the minute you finish reading this paragraph. For sure, begin before you finish reading this book.
It’s strange that a book on how to write would thrust you in with no idea of how to write, but that’s mainly what writing is. Putting words down. A lot of it is about editing and he has a fantastic method for editing fiction that I rarely see in writing books. Most of them gloss over editing structure, but I modified that structure and use it in my writing.
For example, I focus on rewriting the story’s plot and then work on structural edits and grammar stuff after that. The rest of the book has amazing advice, even a section dedicated to memoirs. If you’re looking for a how-to book that doubles as a motivational speaker, this is it.
Most people know of Save The Cat by Blake Snyder as a screenwriting guide that focuses on “Story Beats.” Jessica Brody’s take on the ultimate screenwriting guide applies the beat sheet process to novels, realizing how seamlessly it applies to written works as well. If you need a bit of outlining assistance, but don’t know where to start, giving beat sheets might be up your alley.
A classic style book that no writer should be without. I refer to it often, mainly when I focus on structural edits. Most of my writing I found in this book. Serious writers should have this within arms reach, even if you’re not a writer.
I didn’t know how I survived my early writing career without these books. The Emotion Thesaurus changed my writing outlook for all eternity. Writing emotion was hard for me that I didn’t know how to handle it. Most of it was telling because I couldn’t think of anything else to say. This book changed everything so much.
It lists as many emotions as it can and includes internal and external responses, physical cues, long term effects and so on. Five other books are part of this, focusing on character building and setting and one on emotional conflicts (things that would force characters into uneasy decisions). Each of them has the same structure. I have both physical versions and ebook versions for when I’m out and about. They help a ton in writing and I don’t think I can go without them.
Geared towards the speculative fiction crowd, this book is a how-to guide in the most extreme sense. This massive beast of a book is filled with illustrations and information on pretty much the entire fiction process, from basic parts of a book to worldbuilding (worldbuilding is essential. It’s not just for nerds. :D)
A revised version is out now with a new section on Structure and tons more content, with over 60 additional pages.
This is my favorite how-to book next to Stephen Koch’s book and I refer to each one equally.
This site is a good alternative to Duotrope, especially since it’s free. It’s a tracking tool which tracks submissions. I use it for my stories (though I do have a separate spreadsheet with more specific information) and would recommend it as a free alternative. There are a ton of spec fic markets listed (mainly because the owner of the site runs a spec fic magazine), but there are different genres there as well. Don’t let the status list fool you.