Nov 16, 2009

Writing Resources & Distractions

Occasionally I like to share websites and resources that I find helpful for writing (or for entertaining me while I pretend to write).
Halfway now through NaNoWriMo and I'm starting to pick up the pace. The Costume Maker is moving along well, although I'm finding I need to deepen two of my main trio's characters. The irony is the most shallow character seems the best hashed out. I think the other two need deeper flaws, so I'll do some research and that may be the topic of my next post.
For now, here are links I'm enjoying:

The Stoakes-Whibley Natural Index of Supernatural Collective Nouns
Did you know a group of Unicorns is a 'fondle'? Alan Baxter's page has a chart of most supernatural creatures and their collective nouns. I find it great for suggesting mythical characters for my Fantasy stories.

Writing Advice
Mostly geared towards Sci-fi and Fantasy, this site has got interesting content. Also a complete section for those who are not sure about the defining difference between Sci-fi and Fantasy (like my bookshop that always mixes them).

Mastering the Long Flashback
Anna Staniszewski's site is a little difficult to read because of the dark background, but the content is extremely helpful for those of us (me, I mean  me), who are clumsy with flashbacks.

Language is a Virus
Designed specifically for NaNoWriMo, this site has loads of widgets to cure writer's block. Games and plot generators.

Thirteen Ways to Write With Magazine Cut-Outs
Valerie Storey has put together a great blog post with incredibly imaginative ideas. Check it out and have your paper, scissors and glue handy!

The Art of Misdirection
The Gotham Writers' Workshop site has an endless number of scholarly articles on the practice of writing. Impressive resource for fiction writers.

The Magical Writer Journey
I've always believed that you can do anything. Sounds naive I know. For me writing is a skill that you can improve by... writing. Sure there are some people born more creative than others, but actual story structure, grammar etc, it can all be taught (otherwise I'll be wasting my time teaching highschoolers English). Legands about writers scribbling notes on a napkin and then making millions is not good for my moral, I don't want to strike it lucky. I want to provide a great product. This blog post puts it in perspective.

A writer friend of mine, who blogs regularly about her stories, writing process and insights. Has a wonderful e-book The 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make about Dogs, I urge anyone who includes a pooch in their story to read this. Understand the psyche of your four legged character.

The Creative Penn
I've listed this site before, but it's really worth checking out! There are free downloads and one in particular talks about how to market yourself as a writer. Essential in today's online world. You can also buy her e-books from this site. I subscribe to the podcast through iTunes, always relevant, interesting and fun.

What I listen to:
There's a lot of talk about soundtracks people use when writing. I don't listen to music when I write, I either have silence or I listen to a Podcast about writing. Here are my favourites (you can search for them in iTunes)
The Writing Show - with Paula B.
The Creative Penn
Writers Talking
The Secrets Podcast for Writers
I Should be Writing
Litopia After Dark

I'd like to start listening to Podcast novels and would love to create one (if I ever have a fully polished manuscript, and my voice magically improves so I no longer sound like I'm six in recordings).

Do you have a favorite Podcast or writers' site? Add the link in the comments (then we can all have an excuse not to finish our NaNoWriMo novel).


  1. This post is a treasure trove of great information! I might try the NaNoWriMo site with my high school comp kids. I've been to your education site and love it, too. I can't wait to start exploring some of your suggestions. Thanks for the great post, Charmaine! :)
    Shannon O'Donnell

  2. Thanks Shannon, I scooted over and checked out your blogs too, I really enjoyed them! You put a lot of work into your blog with useful information for your students.
    I'll take that as a role model for when I'm teaching English next year, and yes LOVE the Nano site for education, best free resources.
    My suggestion is download 1 copy for you and just use the bits you want for the class, the workbooks are long and may make the unit of work seem like it's going to be labor intensive rather than fun.
    We can compare our class nanos next year!

  3. Great list! Thanks for linking to my blog. I didn't realize my background came across so dark, so I just lightened it a bit. Hope that helps! :-)

  4. Wow, some awesome resources here. Thanks so much for collecting them, Charm!

    Thanks also for the plug ;) Glad you like the book :)

  5. Absolute writer water cooler is the one for me but I'll be sure to follow your links.
    All the very best.

  6. Anna, thanks for posting!
    Love your blog, sometimes we don't notice our own designs - we're too busy writing on them! Keep up the good work.
    Inkblog - aww thanks, but links posts are a bit of a cheat's way for me to blog when my brain is stuck in NaNo mode ;-)
    Romantic query letter - Thanks! I'll check that site out!