RESOURCES FOR WRITERS
Are you an aspiring author typing away at your first draft? Someone who scribbles ideas down on napkins when no one is looking? Or maybe you just dream of holding a book with your name on it one day, but you’re not sure how to get there?
If that’s you, I have great news for you. I’ve been there too, my friend. Wrestling with characters and plot points that won’t cooperate, puzzling over how to improve a story when I didn’t know enough about the editing process, feeling the alternating elation and depression of life in the query trenches. And I’m here to tell you that with enough hard work and perseverance, you CAN learn everything you need to know to accomplish your dreams.
Let’s be honest — that dream might change as you grow as a writer. You might need to adjust some of your expectations or shift gears. It might take a whole lot longer than you think it will. But I firmly believe that God has gifted each of us with unique talents and dreams, and those things are worth pursuing.
I wish I had time to sit down with you, discuss your heart’s desire for your writing, and brainstorm ways to achieve it. Maybe someday I’ll have that kind of time to take on mentoring. But right now, family and my own writing schedule take priority, so I’ll have to settle for sharing some of my favorite resources with you. Hope these are helpful!
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I’m convinced the key to becoming a successful writer isn’t talent;
it’s perseverance and sheer grit.
- James Scott Bell’s book Plot and Structure from the Write Great Fiction series — This book got me started. It gives a basic, simple overview for crafting a plot, but isn’t too overwhelming for writing rookies.
- The Secrets of Story Structure (Complete Series) – Helping Writers Become Authors — KM Weiland’s blog series on story structure was a game changer for me. Before reading this, I didn’t truly grasp how the key components of plot are structured to make a cohesive whole.
- Save the Cat! story structure — This book (and website) by screenwriter Blake Snyder covers similar plot points to KM Weiland’s blog and is a favorite with many authors. Fair warning though: it’s an overwhelming amount of information if you’re new to story structure. You might want to search for other blog posts that break down the Save the Cat concepts into simpler chunks.
- Holly Lisle’s Create a Character Clinic — Holly’s classes are worksheet-based, which can be very comforting when you’re muddling your way through your first novel and you realize you have no idea what to do. This one walks you through creating compelling characters.
- How to Write Character Arcs — Another free blog series by KM Weiland, these posts explain the types of character arcs, the key components, and how to tie character arc into the external plot. Really helpful stuff, but maybe a little overwhelming for new writers.
- Story Genius by Lisa Cron — This book ties together plotting and characters through proven storytelling concepts, showing you how to create a compelling character and use their arc to determine the story’s external plot.
Improving Your Writing
- How to Write a Novel and How to Revise a Novel — These two “big” courses by Holly Lisle will walk you through how to draft and revise a novel via weekly lessons and worksheets. She also has a forum that allows students to interact with her and each other.
- NYT bestseller Susan Dennard’s website is a treasure trove of information about writing and publishing. Don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter!
- Writers Helping Writers series by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi — I can’t recommend these books enough as handy reference guides. The Emotion Thesaurus will be your best friend when it comes to “showing not telling,” and The Emotional Wounds Thesaurus will help you create compelling character arcs.
- The Word-Loss Diet by Rayne Hall — This book may seem small, but its self-editing suggestions are mighty. It will permanently change the way you write for the better.
Querying, Publishing, and Other Topics
- The Creative Penn — Joanna Penn is a successful indie author who has built a large following over the years. She shares tips and tricks for success in building your own independent author career.
- Jane Friedman provides a wealth of information on her website about the publishing industry and how to succeed as either a traditional or indie author.
- How to Create a Killer Novel Aesthetic — This is one of my perennially most popular blog posts from my old website. If you’ve ever wondered how writers make those beautiful composite graphics for their books, now you can do it too!
- Querytracker — Your one-stop shop for finding agents and learning all about querying.
- MSWL — Have you seen those letters before and wondered what it meant? It means Manuscript Wish List, a place for agents and editors to describe what kinds of projects they’re looking for. With a little research, you can find the best match for you book.
- For more on script writing for the stage and screen, visit this blog post from the TheaterSeatStore
- Canva — Create your own aesthetics, book promo graphics, social media posts, and more through a free or paid pro account
- Book Brush — Similar to Canva, except that Book Brush is designed with writers in mind
- Author Media — Thomas Umstattd Jr.’s website and podcast covers pretty much everything you can imagine about building your author platform, publishing your book, and promotion.
- Royalty-free images — Although you can certainly purchase stock images online, you can also find plenty of free ones at pexels.com and pixabay.com to dress up your website, newsletter, and blog posts.