Online Resources for Writers

Online Resources for Writers

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Why reinvent the wheel – especially if you can’t invent a better wheel?

With that in mind, here are some links to great resources I have found trolling the web. I’ll update as I go along, so check back.

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Leanne Banks has a great note and list of positive affirmations on her web site. Writing is like walking around in your underwear in public. It is really easy to get devoured by the beast of self-doubt. See if this technique works for you. Go to her ‘For Writers’ pagethen scroll down to Affirmations.

At the United States Copyright office site you can search to see if you works have been registered (some publishers do, some don’t) and if not, fill out the forms to register them yourself. There is a fee, but the process is pretty simple. Copyright exists as soon as you create something, but there are benefits to having things registered.

Facts for Writing
Sometimes you need to know things like when rigor mortis sets in, or what bugs you might find in a body. Well, the lovely folks at Explore Forensics has an easy to navigate site for you.

Grammar Girl is known for her great podcast, but she also has a site where she takes on different burning grammar issues. Wander around to find easy to understand explanations of things like Lie vs. Lay or misplaced modifiers.


  • Conflict Box: It’s simple and it works–what more could you ask for? Thanks Jennifer Crusie for posting this tool.
  • Spreadsheet Plotting: Author Beverly Brandt teaches this workshop on how to plot using, yes, a spreadsheet.
    Author Sydney Laine Allan has some of it posted on her site.
  • Twenty Master Plots and Exercises: A great list of twenty master plots, based on the book “20 Master Plots (And How to Build Them)” by Ronald B.Tobias; ISBN 0-89879-595-8. From quest to forbidden love, learn about them here.
  • Plotting Strategies: Article by Kimberly Appelcline on the many, many plotting strategies touted as the latest greatest way to write your book. Looking for a plotting strategy? Check this out first.
  • Romantic Suspense & Plotting: R.S. author Lisa Gardner has a great library of articles on her site. You have to check them out.
  • Set Pieces: Billy Mernit, author of “Writing the Romantic Comedy” does a great run down of set pieces: what they are and how to use them, etc. Whether you write romantic comedy or something else, definitely worth a look-see.
  • Screenwriting: Screenwriter Warren Hsu Leonard gives his take on the 8 sequence structure for screenwriting. There is a lot of useful information here, but do remember he is talking about screenplays, not books–especially when he references general page numbers. Screenplays are a lot shorter than most novels.

Things to include in a press kit, common interview questions and more at Jennifer Estep’s web site.

I am not a fan of prologues personally, but this article really explains how and why to use them better than any resource I’ve seen.

The Association of American Publishers has a lot of information from monthly updates on sales to a variety of useful links.

Romantic Comedies
There is so much useful information here it could have gone under a number of categories, but I decided just to shove it in by its title. This article by Michael Hauge is fabulous. It’s about writing a romantic comedy screenplay, but it totally applies to romance novels as well. Check it out, I’m sure you will take something from it.

What is a book without strong scenes? Nothing you can read, that’s for sure. Randy Ingermanson offers a great, free article on writing strong scenes using Dwight Swain’s techniques.


  • Lisa Gardner teaches an online workshop titled the Dreaded Synopsis. Learn more about her technique here.
  • Kathy Carmichael has some great articles and a worksheet to help you write a short synopsis. Definitely worth checking out.

Writing Classes
Orson Scott Card has a great library of articles and questions he has answered about various aspects of the writing craft. You have to check it out. He also runs an online writing bootcamp. Go to his web site for details.

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There are also ton of free newsletters on the Net for writers. Here are a few I have found useful in one way or another.

Advanced Fiction Writing Ezine (note: Can read back issues online or sign up to receive in inbox.) By the author of the Snowflake Method. Published monthly.

Kathryn Falk’s Newsletter
Newsletter from Kathryn Falk of Romantic Times magazine. A fun gossipy read that also offers some insight into the market.

Publisher’s Lunch
This is the free scaled-down version of Publisher’s Marketplace Lunch Deluxe. Learn who has sold what and “kind of” for how much. Word of warning – can induce those ugly self-doubts.

Shelf Awareness
Good way to learn what is going on in the retail side of books. Check out a back copy here.

The Book Standard
This web site offers a number of services including access to a small version of Bookscan (lists books sales for a given period of time). However this version is no where near as useful for your average author as what RWA members can get through RWA – you would really have to be a top seller for there to be any hope your book would show up on what they provide. But they also have a number of free newsletters that give small looks into what is happening in the retail world.

Writers Weekly Good for finding freelance work if that is what you are going for. Plus all kinds of other information. You can just go to the site each week and read the latest or sign up and have it delivered to your inbox.

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