Jul 21, 2010


Take in too much advice or data and you absorb none. Now, you can be like me and buy every single book on writing that you come across, or, you can just try my favourites. These are my all-time-most-helpful resources for creating a manuscript and knowing what to do with it.


1. Scrivener Scrivener seduced me. I love going into the program for each WIP I'm working on. I can have 'index cards' up on the corkboard screen, outline my plot, keep research files and photos handy and write scenes in any order. I can also convert my text and load it onto my Kindle (which then reads the novel back to me).

2. NaNoWriMo Held over the month of November each year and the idea is that you start and finish a 50,000 word novel (minimum) in that month. Last year I finished the first draft for The Costume Maker, a fantasy tale about a group of teenagers transported to an alternate world by an angry Gypsy. It's a great way to enforce a deadline!

3. Manuscript Makeover Elizabeth Lyon's guide is both practical and thorough. It's helpful for revision or when you get stuck in your manuscript. The book covers 'power positions', modelling (take a descriptive passage that impresses you and try to imitate the syntax and emotion of the sentences) and riff-writing as powerful techniques, but contains much more.
4. Les Edgerton on Writing One of the best FREE resources you'll ever find on the craft of writing. Scroll through the archives and read Edgerton's articles, brilliant. I also loved Edgerton's book:  Hooked

5. The Creative Penn Joanna Penn provides great advice for building your online presence and creating a platform for yourself as a writer. There are articles, podcasts and free downloads.

6. Beth Barany's Free Archetypes Chart I posted this link when talked about Building Characters with Jung's Archetypes. The chart includes character profiles, motivations, mottos and desires. Adaptable to any story!

7. Screenwriting For Hollywood by Michael Hauge This audiobook is like attending a full class on story structure. I got it from iTunes, but it is also on audiobook sites. Team it with  Michael Hauge's 6 Stage Plot, it's a free pdf file you can download!
8. Writers' Festivals You'll need to work out which ones are convenient for you to attend, but this year I'm going to book myself into The Brisbane Writers' Festival (join me?).

9. Inspired Novel: Creative Hypnosis Maggie Dubris In my post on Stories from the Subconscious, I trialled this audiobook from iTunes. I've used it many times since then and am now a huge fan of hypnosis before bedtime. I ALWAYS have imaginative dreams when I try it and always remember them the next morning. The title and picture link will take you to a sample of this audiobook.
10. How To Revise Your Novel Holly Lisle's online course takes you through weekly steps to perfecting your editing routine. I had no idea about editing before this course, but after learning what to look for in characters, pace, setting, plot, etc, I am sweeping through Dog Show Detective with just one revision/rewrite. Just one. And you get to play with index cards - what could be more fun?

11. The Elements of Style Usually I avoid American grammar books, because Australia follows English Grammar - but this book is great. I'm an English teacher and this is the first grammar book I've found easy to read.  Or, read it free online: http://www.bartleby.com/141/
This is my favourite podcast. Short, fun and helpful. You can also find them on iTunes.

13. Pen and Notebook
At the end of the day, this is all we really need.

Phew! It was hard picking my favourites, there were many that 'almost' made it. What is your favourite resource for writing, one of these, or, something else?

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  1. I am drooling over this list because I LOVE all things writing and some of them were new to me. Les Edgerton on Writing looks particularly tempting.

    I "grew up" with http://misssnark.blogspot.com/ before she retired her site. It's treasures are still online, but no updates since 2007.

    I'm stopping by from SITS/#31dbbb. I like your list. gj :)

  2. xoxo - and I love your login name... it's so friendly! I have heard of this missnark and will have to check it out (ps I'm lovin #31DBBB!)

  3. I've tried a few of those! NanoWriMo and Holly Lisle and Scrivener. What a great list! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to look into the other ones. :D

  4. NaNo is the absolute best for me :) I don't know if I would have ever realized how quickly a story could come together if I hadn't stumbled across NaNo. LOVE it! :)

  5. Thank you so much for the list! There are some outlets I haven't read/taken part in that sound interesting!

  6. Must have: thesaurus. :D A critique group. I liked *Techiques of the Selling Writer* a lot. Get involved with something - writers group, conference. Volunteer. Get out and be seen.

  7. Thank you, Charmaine for these wonderful resources! I appreciate them all and now it's time to visit each of these sites and bookmark.

    Write on!

  8. Thank you; these are great~ I am intrigued and will check them out! You always give us great
    reference points! Your gypsy story sounds mystical~

  9. Thank you so much. My first language is Spanish, so Elements of Style has taught me a lot. Appreciate all your references and will check them out. Looks like a great task.

  10. I really liked this list. Too bad Scrivener is Mac only. I am gearing up for NaNoWriMo this year after a faulty attempt last year. How to Revise a Novel seemed like a spam site, but I'll take your word for it that it is a good resource...

  11. Great list of helpful resources. I'll be trying out NaNoWriMo this year for the first time. I'm looking forward to it.

  12. Thank you for this. I will check out the resources.