Note: This letter is, as you might have guessed, intended for the people who attended my workshops on the Winter 2012 Enrichment Voyage. But you're welcome to read on even if you weren't there and want to know about some of my favorite books/websites/resources for writing.)
Welcome home! By now you’ve probably unpacked and done a few million loads of laundry, and made some resolutions for 2013. (Remember: it is good to do something that scares you.)
Just in case your goals for the new year are writing related, here are links to some of the books and authors I mentioned during my workshops. Many of them were mentioned more than once, so the links are arranged by topic:
Craft and Structure:
- Debra Dixon’s Goal Motivation Conflict (www.debradixon.com)
Remember, don’t buy this on Amazon – the price is hyperinflated. Go here instead.
- Many writing books will talk to you about three-act structure, but I tend to rely more on the articles at Michael Hague’s Story Mastery, especially this one.
- Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat: This is the book my husband constantly steals from me; I’ve also loaned it out to fellow writers countless times. It’s great for plotters.There's also a ton of information at www.blakesnyder.com.
- Here’s a popular blog post from Rachel Aaron on how to use plotting techniques to up your daily wordcount.
- Jennifer Crusie is a
brilliant author with all sorts of advice and techniques on her blog. It’s a
great resource for pantsers. www.arghink.com
- Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel comes in two formats: regular book and fill-in-the-blank workbook. I have both, because it’s just that good.
- Cheryl Klein’s Second Sight: An Editor's Talks on Writing, Revising, and Publishing for Children and Young Adults is a great read when you’re made it through your first draft and you’re getting ready to revise. Tons of examples! You should also check out her blog, which is useful for writers of all genres and age levels.
- Susan Dennard’s website has a ridiculous number of helpful articles about the craft and business of writing. She’s also an incredible author and delightful person.
Tools of the Trade:
- Microsoft Word is the industry standard, but I’m guessing you can find it on your own.
- Scrivener (for Mac and PC) is what I compose all of my projects in. It's flexible and allows me to keep all of my notes/outlines/research/deleted scenes/etc in one place. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It's a very powerful program, so you should also check out Gwen Hernandez's Scrivener for Dummies.
- MacFreedom (for Mac and PC) As we discussed, I would get nothing done without this program, which turns off the internet for pre-specified periods of time.
- Write or Die (Mac, PC, iPad, Web-based) I am too terrified to use this software, but many writers I know and respect absolutely swear by it. (It's the one that erases your words if you don't keep typing.)
Querying/Looking for Agents
- Publishers Marketplace
- Preditors and Editors
- Queryshark and Janet Reid's blog are both excellent sources of advice for querying and the agent search
Remember: Always double-check an agency’s website for their specific submission guidelines – and FOLLOW THEM.
There you go, guys – all the resources I mentioned in class, plus a few more I remembered while I was sitting in the Guayaquil airport. If you’ve got more questions, the best place to get them answered is over at my tumblr. (You don't even have to join -- just ask anonymously!)
Thanks for making my big adventure so much fun – I couldn’t have asked for better people to cross the equator with. Now: Butt in chair, hands on keyboard, and keep me posted.