There’s more to writing than just, well, writing.
There’s perfecting the craft, literary agents, query letters, style, literary magazines, submission guidelines etc. etc.
I’ve created a comprehensive list of the resources I’ve found to be invaluable as I’ve navigated my way through all of these things that go along with writing; hopefully it serves as your own resource too!
On Writing by Stephen King – this is without a doubt the best book on writing in existence because it discusses the whole process, not just the act of writing itself. Don’t think you need to read a book on how to write? You do, and you will only believe me after you’ve read this book. You’re welcome.
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – this one’s certainly not On Writing, but it’s worth checking out if you don’t have the time to plug through a whole memoir while learning about the craft.
The Elements of Style by E.B. White and William Strunk Jr. – this is another small book, and honestly, it’s been sitting untouched on my shelf for about a year. *smacks self on the nose with a newspaper* However, pretty much every writer that writes about writing lists it as a go-to resource, and this list would have felt incomplete without mentioning it. If you have read it, feel free to let me know what I’m missing out on.
Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents 2016 – Through buying this book, I’ve recently discovered that the genre of my novel is New Adult–a thing I didn’t even know existed. However, the main purpose of the Guide (if you couldn’t tell from the title) is to help you find an agent when your novel is ready to be published. It has a bunch of informative articles about the process of finding an agent, and after this it lists hundreds of agents (only the ones that don’t charge reading fees) which are organized alphabetically. Each posting has information about how to contact the agent, their credentials, the genres they work with etc. In the back there’s an index which sorts the agents by the genres they work with, so you can find which ones will fit you best without having to flip through each post.
Facebook Pages and Websites for the craft–All of these are free!
Book Riot – If you’re a writer, you probably like to read. Book Riot is a good source for what’s going on in the publishing world, and to get an idea of what sort of books are selling right now. Plus, it’s interesting because, you know, books.
Writer’s Digest – Oh, Writer’s Digest, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Have questions about query letters? Writer’s Digest. Curious about new agents? Writer’s Digest. Writing prompts and writing conests? Writer’s Digest. Need advice for revision? Writer’s Digest. AND ALL OF IT IS FREE–I mean, they have an actual magazine and books which cost money, but everything online is FREEEEEE! Need I say more?
Typingweb.com – The faster you type, the faster your manuscript can be completed. Simple.
Grammarly – Funny articles and grammar lessons are posted regularly on their facebook page. I think there’s an actual Grammarly service you can use, but I’m cheap and prefer to enjoy the free stuff instead (in case you haven’t noticed).
The Oatmeal – Do you want to laugh while learning about the basics of grammar? The Oatmeal provides hilarious comics explaining grammar among other things. Hyperbole and a Half is similar to The Oatmeal as well–I’d suggest checking out the “Alot” monster.
Vocabulary.com – THIS IS THE BEST RESOURCE EVER AND IT’S FREEEEE! I’ve read this adivce over and over again: you are better off to use simple words in your prose rather than ridiculous flowery big words that only half of the reading population will be able to define. HOWEVER, the best way to learn exactly what word will serve you best is by broadening your vocabulary. Enter Vocabulary.com. The way it works is kind of like a quiz game; you pick a list of words and then you’ll be “tested” on a given word a certain amount of times until you master it and get a bunch of points proving that you are indeed a smart mofo. I’ve found that the most useful lists of words on the website are the ones intended to prepare students for exams, specifically the GED and SAT ones.
50 Book Pledge – As all of the authors of the aforementioned books will tell you, you can’t write if you don’t read. The 50 book pledge is pretty simple: you sign up and pledge to read 50 books in a year (you can make the amount greater or lesser if you need to; I only pledged to do 25 this year). Every time you read a book, you add it to your “shelf,” and the website keeps track of all the books you read. I like this site because 1. It’s kind of like a list of your accomplishments, and 2. I like lists.
Facebook Pages and Websites with publishing information
The Review Review – This is my favourite resource for pieces of short prose and poetry (if I wrote poetry). The Review Reveiw has a database of literary journals/magazines that you can sift through based on incredibly specific searches (like genre, if it accepts simultaneous submissions, if it’s paying, the journal’s estimated response time etc.). It’s the bee’s knees, and it’s how I found the lit mag that published my first piece of fiction.
PW.org – This is another database of literary journals, but it’s only organized by genre and alphabetical order meaning you have to do a bit more work to see if your piece will fit at the zines listed. However, Writer’s Digest cites it as a good source for finding literary agents, which I will soon explore!
Writer’s Market – I’m brand new to this website–I got free access to it by buying the Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents–so I have yet to learn the full benefits of it, but I’ve seen it listed as an important resource numerous times by other writers. It’s another one that’s useful if your manuscript is done and ready to find representation.
Writing Pun on facebook – Shameless self promotion here, but I follow tons of lesser known pages for lit mags, books, and writing that all post valuable information–including calls for submissions. My new goal on the Writing Pun facebook page is to begin sharing all of that information with you lovely people; I won’t be sharing these things on Word Press, so you’d better like the facebook page!
That’s it! Those are the best links/book that I’ve found throughout my writing career. Of course there are a ton more (I keep hearing talk of Scrivener, but have yet to try it), but these are the ones that I’ve found to be the most useful. If you have any to add, please mention them in the comments!