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Writing Resources

I often find myself referring clients to the same resources. I asked myself why I shouldn’t just post them here for everybody, and I didn’t have anything like a good answer, so here you go. If nothing else, this will save me some typing in the long run. And if you have any other favorite books, websites, or other tools you'd like to share, email me at and I'll add it here.

Books

41cqe00zzsl On Writing
by Stephen King
Part memoir, part hands-on instruction manual, King manages to cram a wealth of succinct writing lessons and life lessons alike into this wholly enjoyable volume. On Writing lives up to its ample praise.

513kq0mjdcl Manuscript Makeover
by Elizabeth Lyon
This amazing book changed my life (seriously, it did). I can’t recommend it highly enough. I got more specific and helpful advice from this one book than probably any other single source ever.

51o-e3032sl The Writer’s Journey
by Christopher Vogler
This is a must-have classic for any writer’s shelf. Vogler explains the “Hero’s Journey” structure in terms writers can directly apply to their novels and screenplays.

41ythh1xtel Writing the Breakout Novel
by Donald Maass
You can’t build a winning book on a weak premise. Here, Donald Maass distills his experience into solid advice on how writers can build a premise into one worth writing a novel about.

41ocjhupmxl Beginnings, Middles, and Ends
by Nancy Kress
Beginnings, middles, and ends of novels each have distinct requirements. In this book, Nancy Kress shows you the pitfalls to avoid and how to make the most of each part of your novel.

41fr1t7vtjl Line by Line
by Claire Kehrwald Cook
Any writer who has ever had someone say their writing was “rough around the edges” or who has been told it needed to “flow better” will do well to take a look at this book of self-editing techniques.

Websites

Critique Circle
Critique Circle is the most serious online critique site I've yet found. Critique Circle's goal is to replicate, as well as can be done online, the offline experience of participating in a writing group. While Critique Circle offers basically the same features as far as submitting your works, getting reviews from other users, and giving reviews of your own, it offers far more control than other sites I've seen in terms of selecting who can and cannot both see and review your work. If you put in the time and effort to form relationships with other writers whose work you respect and whose opinions you trust, the result is a personalized online writing group experience that matches much of what you can find offline.

Writers Cafe
Writers Cafe is another review and critique swapping service, but one that embraces the tenets of social media much more strongly. While Writers Cafe does offer groups and does allow writers to keep their material private to those they choose to share it with, the overall feel is a much more open one. Generally, work on Writers Cafe is posted for all to see. Writers Cafe also offers a number of community-building perks, including a site-wide e-mail system, profile pages, contests, and user rankings based on points you can earn by completing reviews.