Write like you need it to survive
July 15, 2019 10:50 PM   Subscribe

Maybe you wanna start getting ready for nanowrimo, maybe writing is for all year round. Either way, I've got around 50 links bookmarked just for you

Some sections better populated than others. Add more in the comments!


Fighter's block: Wordcount gamified as an rpg

Write or Die: Wordcount gamified as bad consequences (or cute kitten pics)

wrex-writes's tumblr, tag process:motivation

Couch to 80k writing bootcamp

Nanowrimo pep talks

World building

The author's guide to drawing maps

N.K. Jemisin's worldbuilding 101

Patricia C. Wrede's Worldbuilding questions

r/worldbuilding, sorted by all time top

Character Creation

Questions for creating character development

writing with color (tumblr)

Plot Structure

The Snowflake Method. Highly recommend using Iulian Ionescu's Master Outlining and Tracking Tool if this method speaks to you. And also in general, the tool is great.

Holly Lisle's Novel Pre-writing Workshop (note: Holly has a free flash fiction writing course that I signed up for and I found it quite helpful and recommend it) and her notecard plotting method

Eva Deverell's How to Plot a Novel video, and her plot formula cheat sheet and her plotto masterplot chart

Lester Dent's master plot for any 6000 word pulp story

Alexandra Sokoloff's screenwriting tricks for authors, including 8-part structure notecard method (pictured here)

Writing the romance novel: the 7 beats

Better storytelling's Anatomy of a story

Belinda Crawford's beat sheets (some include scrivener templates)

W plot structure


Holly Lisle: How to revise a novel, one pass manuscript revision

10 easy edits to improve your manuscript right now

Sooz's Guide to Revisions

Collections of advice, and writer blogs

Diane Duane's tumblr, tag writing-advice

Gail Carson Levine's blog

C.S. Pacat's Writing Techniques Masterpost

Patricia C. Wrede's blog

Susan Dennard's For Writers

Pub Crawl's resources page

Eva Deverell's Writing Worksheets (I linked a bunch of her stuff under plot, since that's most of what I have her bookmarked for, but she has a lot of resources for a lot of topics)

102 resources for fiction writers

The ticklish pear, tumblr index

Little details: A livejournal community (last post 2015), for fact-checking writing. The resources tag is full of in-depth posts deep-diving into various topics. (I found it when researching the 1920s)

the writing reference tag on this tumblr (which also has writing encouragement under the tag write so as not to be dead)

Calls for Submissions/Places to submit and publishing

Diversity in SFF – List of Diversity Friendly Publications

The submission grinder

Manuscript Wishlist website and the #mswl tag on twitter

(Short) Guide to writing and self publishing/indie publishing

Published to Death-- the main page, and the Calls for Submissions page

Erica Verrillo

Entropy Mag's Where to submit


K.M. Weilan's scrivener template for Outlining and Structuring

Your cover letter and you

The character comma (tumblr)

Jami Gold's worksheets for writers (and some useful blog posts)

Anbody can write a novel (deviantart link) (one of the few bookmarks here I completely haven't read and therefore, can't vouch for...)
posted by Cozybee (20 comments total) 195 users marked this as a favorite
I created this as part of postfromyourbookmarks. There's some 50ish bookmarks in this post, sure, but I also cleaned out like 15 or so dead links, AND my fifty bookmarks had over 30 duplicates, so I just cleaned out nearly 100 bookmarks to create this thread. And it's a slightly less disorganized mess now, too...
posted by Cozybee at 10:52 PM on July 15, 2019 [9 favorites]

How do you keep your brain from trying to edit what you write while you're writing it? This always keeps me from making any progress.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:16 PM on July 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

God, I am so glad I gave up being "a writer". Being A Writer sucks. Much better to be a dad or a gardener or a salesman who writes on the side.
posted by Pastor of Muppets at 11:19 PM on July 15, 2019

Oooh, thank you. I’m thinking about writing a nonfiction book and need all the baby steps and structure.
posted by sacchan at 11:46 PM on July 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm usually not big on general "craft" books but I have a few big star exceptions (apologies if they're already within the links):

* Unless you are already super well-versed on matters of diversity, representation, and inclusion, you need Nisi Shawl's Writing the Other. God, I wish I had picked this up before my first books. It's short and solid and full of good thoughts. (I also have much praise for the online workshop of the same name.) Also seconding the already-linked Writing With Color tumblr above.

* For general productivity help, Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k is excellent.

* Steering the Craft by Ursula K. le Guin and obviously I don't need to say more than her name.

For help when you're randomly stumped for what should be simple descriptors, ideas, etc: Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi have a great set of books like The Urban Setting Thesaurus, The Rural Setting Thesaurus, The Emotion Thesaurus (easily found through the first link) and others.

Regarding self/indie-publishing: there are good guides out there, but the indie scene evolves fast so check your dates. Most importantly, there are a ton of snake oil salesmen out there on the indie market. If something pleasantly offers to show how indie-pub works, cool. If it jumps out with a dazzling pitch about how to rule the indie market and make megabucks, run the other way. Yes, it is possible to do well at indie and even earn a good living (I do!), but there just isn't any secret sauce to it. Anyone who claims to know the secret formula to work Amazon's algorithms is full of shit.
Do not join anyone's fucking cult.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:08 AM on July 16, 2019 [11 favorites]

How do you keep your brain from trying to edit what you write while you're writing it?

I do all my first drafts longhand. There's still some scratching out/reorganizing, but much less than the utter ease of cut-and-paste. The hardest part is then deciphering my chicken scratch to type a second draft (which I then print out and edit by hand as well. I'm just killing trees left and right.)
posted by basalganglia at 4:33 AM on July 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

Thanks for this!
I can vouch for the awesomeness of the Couch to 80k podcasts, which I discovered here thanks to a Projects Post by MeFi’s own Tim Clare. They helped me get back a good relationship with writing after a few years in the wilderness.
posted by archy at 4:49 AM on July 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

OH MY GOD!!!! A thread I can actually contribute to!

My last book wouldn't have been written without Cold Turkey Writer--you tell it your goal for a writing session (number of words written, number of minutes written), and it blocks everything else on your PC until you hit that goal. You never realize how much non-writing stuff you do during your writing time, until you block all that stuff out. (I used 1000-word sprints, but in the past I've done pomodoros instead which feel different than word-based goals?)

About a year ago I came across Matt Bird's The Secrets of Story and my brain exploded; I read a ton of it just standing in the bookstore, transfixed by how good it is. I've read it twice more since the first time, and keep both a paperback and an ebook copy so I always have it handy. Far from being yet another writing system by a guru (god save us all), it's a bag of techniques and questions that help you think through stories and characters in a way I haven't seen anywhere else.

In my writing group, I've also been recommending Donald Maass' The Emotional Craft of Fiction--Maass has a sideline in writing-craft books that can vary in quality, but this one was definitely worth it, focusing not just on how to portray your characters' emotions, but how to move reader emotions too, which isn't as easy as a one-to-one connection between what your character is feeling and what the reader is feeling.

I imagine most romance writers have already heard of Gwen Hayes' Romancing the Beat, especially if you've used the Jami Gold workbooks mentioned in the post, but this slim volume is aaaaaaabsolutely essential to me, and I keep notes from it pinned to my wall (next to some print-outs of Jami's sheets and notes from the Snowflake Method).

I just got done reading Leigh Michael's Writing the Romance Novel (which is FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited), the ebook version of her "On Writing Romance," and loved it so much. It goes into more depth about romance expectations, with tons and tons of useful examples from reasonably contemporary sources.

Also, I'm about halfway through Mary Kole's Writing Irresistable Kidlit as I think about expanding into the YA world, and love it, because while it does talk about some basic craft stuff you probably already know if you've been doing any writing, it does so from the point of view of the younger reader who has different expectations and interests, which is so valuable!

(One of the things Matt Bird says at the end of his book is to forget everything he just said, because rules about writing are worthless; what you need are beliefs about writing, and those come from testing, from internalizing, from seeing what works for your own writing, rather than just doing what a guru tells you to, and I find that advice so heartening. Reading a lot of books on writing craft is exhausting, because you're bombarding your brain not just with instructions, but with different points of view, different priorities, and it's impossible to align them all--one of the fun things if you're both into story structure but kind of skeptical of particular story structure systems is to go out and look for charts where people have tried to combine all of them, as though wisdom could be found by simply adding all the philosophies together, rather than sifting through to find what works. I've driven myself crazy trying to make those charts, too! But if you internalize the rightrules--the ones that work for you, the ones that open your eyes, the ones that make the words come out right--it's far less stressful and exhausting.)
posted by mittens at 5:39 AM on July 16, 2019 [15 favorites]

How do you keep your brain from trying to edit what you write while you're writing it? This always keeps me from making any progress.

I give myself a specific, achievable number of words to get on paper per hour. My only goal for the hour is to get that number of words written. THEY DO NOT HAVE TO BE USEABLE WORDS. If I write 200 crappy words and throw out 199 of them, I am still better off than if I hadn't written anything. Even if I throw them all out, I have at least cleared away 200 words that were standing between me and the reservoir of good writing that is lurking somewhere in my future.

Don't compare yourself to the final published draft of your favorite writer. Compare yourself to a first draft your favorite writer wrote when they had the same level of experience you have now. (What's that, you say? Your favorite writer won't let you read the first draft of their very first novel? That's because it sucked. Trust me: your favorite writer was not your favorite writer when they started out. They were you. Possibly they were worse than you. They only got to be them by getting words on paper again and again, improving incrementally each time.)
posted by yankeefog at 5:44 AM on July 16, 2019 [11 favorites]

How do you keep your brain from trying to edit what you write while you're writing it?

As a non/newbie 'journalist' at a huge tech conference I was chatting with a smart veteran sports writer, talking about how hard it was to come up with any new take on tech -- she regaled about how tech was trivial compared to sports, which was all the same every single season. Then on the topic of getting copy done before the deadline she talked about the best writer she'd ever worked with, a golf guy would have nothing until the weekend prior and lock himself in a room with a couple fifths of bourbon and have no memory of writing a fantastic article. Do not follow this advice.

The other good periodical advice was that it really did not matter the quality of the article just hit that wordcount on deadline.
posted by sammyo at 6:55 AM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is fantastic, thank you. I actually wrote (and published!) my first novel a few years ago, and now I'm tormenting myself because I don't seem to have it in me to start another. Hoping one of these links can get me going again.
posted by Mchelly at 6:57 AM on July 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

Is it allowed for all the published MeFites here to link to their book(s) in this thread? Or at least mention the titles? I’d love to support their work but short of an occasional MetaTalk post mentioning someone’s newest publication, I don’t know where to start.

And thanks for this post, Cozybee! And all the other books commenters have mentioned so far. Tons of good stuff here.
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:21 AM on July 16, 2019 [6 favorites]

These comments are exactly what I hoped for when posting this, thank you! Also today I got a few hundred words of writing done after a long dry spell and that made me happy =)

Skycrashesdown: as the OP I'm cool with it, but I'm not a mod so I dunno.
posted by Cozybee at 9:20 AM on July 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Guidelines say: "note: it's ok to link to your own things as comments in threads, if it adds to the discussion and/or saves space because you're written a reply elsewhere" and we're being prompted, so...? Mods, feel free to delete with my apologies if inappropriate:

Here are my books, all currently exclusive on Amazon.
I write lefty-friendly military sci-fi about student debt and space pirates, smutty and polyamorous urban fantasy, and sword & sorcery where the monsters are the good guys.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:50 AM on July 16, 2019 [11 favorites]

Thanks so much for this! I am crawling to the end of the first draft of a novel, technically for the second time but the first one was really bad. Some of these links look incredibly useful!
posted by daisyk at 12:56 PM on July 16, 2019

I haven't even read any of these links yet but I am getting reacquainted with a long time writing project and I'm so excited!!
posted by supermedusa at 1:57 PM on July 16, 2019

I don't agree with every single sentence in this writing advice from Ray Bradbury but every sentence is worth reading.

PS: Skycrashesdown, links to my books are in my profile.
posted by yankeefog at 6:11 AM on July 17, 2019 [5 favorites]

I've just added a link to my Amazon author page in my MF profile because it literally never occurred to me until this thread! (I write gay romance that tries to be light-hearted and fun but always winds up angsty and tense.)
posted by mittens at 7:00 AM on July 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

This thread is a goldmine of wonderful resources. Flagged as fantastic!
posted by sockermom at 10:25 AM on July 18, 2019

I am wondering how I missed this on my daily crawl of MeFi. I've currently got my first (usable) novel out searching for agents (I'm giving myself a year to try to find an agent, which gives me time to work on the sequel), and there's sooooo much good stuff here. Thanks, Cozybee!
posted by lhauser at 10:01 AM on July 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

« Older 100 Most Sustainable U.S. Companies   |   But You Look Fine: A Reading List Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments