For Writers

The rise of technology has saturated the Internet with loads of resources for writers. We all have our faves. These are mine. Enjoy.

Writing software 

Scrivener

I’m a huge advocate of this software. In the past, I’d always used Microsoft Word for all of my writing, but after thrashing through a major edit (50k words trashed and replaced), this software was unbeatable. They have a 30-day free trial, and after that, it’s like $60. Use it! You can keep all your research, notes, character sketches, settings, outlines, (you get the picture), in one place. You can also color-code your POVs, which is especially helpful.

Microsoft Read Aloud Feature

After writing my draft in Scrivener, I plug it into Microsoft and use the male voice for male characters, and the female voice for female characters. Yeah, it’s robotic, but it sure helps point out when you have a typo or use the wrong word.

Grammarly

There is a free version and a paid version, ($70 for a year), which goes into advanced details (like when you’re using passive voice). This grammar-checker is much more advanced than Microsoft’s, but it doesn’t catch everything, and sometimes it gives you a red flag for something that’s totally fine. Don’t accept all corrections, go through each recommendation and make sure it fits.

Writing Advice

ON WRITING by Stephen King is the best investment ($6 on Amazon) you can make. He’s blunt, transparent, and is the kick in the arse you need to just start writing. No excuses.

NYT & International bestselling author Jay Kristoff serves his advice with a side of rib-busting, peeing-in-your-pants, coffee-squirting-out of-your-nose, humor. I adore him. When you get to the query stages, make sure you check out his query letter. I dare you to read it without guffawing. His blurb Thirteen Steps to Fun and Profit also deserves a bookmark.

NYT bestselling author Susan Dennard has a complete blog dedicated to writing from start to finish. Any possible question you may have, she has a damn good way of answering it. When you get to the dreaded synopsis stage, she has the best break-down How to Write a 1-Page Synopsis to junk-punch that sucker directly in the bollocks. You can also ask her questions on Instagram.

NYT bestselling author Lindsay Cummings shares her creative process via vlog and has really helped me during my rollercoaster ride of anxiety and fear. She also opened Author Crash Course with fellow writer Rebekah Faubion (a unicorn who also blogs about her writing life) and edits YA, MG and fantasy books. I can personally vouch for their services. I sent my manuscript off to ACC in March, received 12-page edit letters from both, had to make some huge revisions (like 50k words, half my book), made them, and now my baby is with them this month for in-line edits. They only charge two cents per word (for two editors I might add), which is hard to find in this industry. With them guiding me through the entire process, I feel invincible.

Professional freelance novel editor Ellen Brock offers some excellent insight on honing your craft via her vlog. She also provides a wide range of editing services. I haven’t used her professional services, but gauging from her advice, I bet she’s amazing.

Author and YouTube sensation Jenna Moreci also serves up some comical yet clear writing advice via her vlog. She’s a self-published author who has done exceptionally well and is committed to helping writers get off their tushes and follow their dreams.

Writing with Color is a blog dedicated to portraying racial and ethnic diversity in a beautiful, respectful manner. Do you have a diverse cast? You should. Are you a pasty caucasian like me? If you are, then you need to check this out, so you don’t write something stupid or offensive.

Roll for Fantasy If you are a fantasy writer and want to conceptualize your world, check this site out. It’s fantastic! There are so many different tools you can use to design your own map. I created the basic outline of StellaVerum, added some terrain and geographical features, and then exported it to Microsoft PowerPoint to add names and labels.

Author and map extraordinaire Jessica Khoury creates some of the most intricately detailed, exquisite maps I’ve ever seen. Not only does she create gorgeous worlds, she’s what I would deem a renaissance woman, and has a book (via Scholastic) coming out in 2019. You can see her current work on Instagram. Now that I have a nice base map from Roll for Fantasy, I’ll be sending it to her soon. I can’t wait to see what she creates!

MasterClass was a Christmas present from Hubs, and I love it! You can take classes from a variety of industry professionals for $180 per year, or pay a one-time fee of $90 per instructor (with lifetime access, which is what I have). I’ve taken classes with James Patterson, Shonda Rhimes, and my next class will be with R.L. Stine (I gorged on his books as a kid). Judy Blume also just got added to their list. I think every writer, no matter what genre they write, has something to offer. You can always learn something new, and I make it a habit of doing so every day.

Query Shark aka literary agent Janet Reid of New Leaf Literary is a must see BEFORE you start querying. Go through ALL of her posts. She breaks down the dos and don’ts, and you’ll soon realize why they call her the Query Shark. She’s the reason I started this website. Per one of her blogs, she says a fiction writer needs one. So, here I am. I just wished she represented fantasy titles. She’s clearly a badass, and I’m sure she’d be a hell of an agent. No doubt, she’s a shark for her authors too. Nothing gets past her.

MS Wishlist is the legal way to stalk your dream agent (just kidding) and find out what is on their manuscript wishlist. This sure comes in handy BEFORE you start querying.

Query Tracker like the name implies does just that. You can narrow down your scope of agents, search by genres or names, and keep tabs of the queries you send out and rejections you receive.

#pitmad is the only reason I joined Twitter and here’s why. Every few months, you get the chance to pitch your POLISHED manuscript to literary agents. If an agent likes your tweet, you have the green light to query them. It’s a tad bit better than cold querying. I’ve seen many success stories, and if this sucker pops up when it’s time to query, you can bet your biscuits I’ll be pitching.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll keep updating this list as I find new gems. Until then, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite writerly quotes, which is the reason I now refer to myself as a writer, not an aspiring writer:

“You either are a writer, or you’re not. Prove yourself. Nobody has to pay you to write. Write every day. Find the time to do it.” -Shonda Rhimes