I’m not what most would consider (including myself) a natural writer. However, what I am is a natural researcher. So, when I decided that I would push forward in writing full time, I knew I had my work cut out for me.
The first thing I had to do was find comprehensible resources that would help me hone my skills. I knew the words, but I needed form and direction. I wanted to be less of an amateur, but had no idea where to start.
I started at Google, and followed it’s lead to a ton of books and websites I would later use. Through the chaos of all of it, and countless research hours I’ve learned there is no limit to information. The limit is in its usefulness. Below are the top five resources I use as I continue to work on my favorite hobby/career. Maybe you will find them useful too.
I love Pinterest. It feeds my inner craft and completely enables my flailing belief that I can make candied apples just like the ones in the pictures. In case you never meet me, Pinterest is the single handed reason I believe I could one day have a career in Event Plannning. I know that isn’t helpful in writing.
If you aren’t sure how Pinterest works, here’s a briefing. It is a free website where you can create an account and then “pin” or save things you find interesting. These pins are images that link back to the host website of your interest. Pinterest allows you to create collections with your pins by creating “boards” that you name however you like to catalogue. Once you pin or save something to a collection, you don’t have to search for it again. It will be there every time you login.
What is helpful is the character creation templates, the variant eye color s, face shape, and figure pins as well as the numerous how to pins. Pinterest is a one stop hub for writing resources. Whether character development guides, removing passive voice from your writing, or learning to how “show don’t tell” in your writing Pinterest has you covered.
Use the search engine for a specific resource ( i.e. how to write a novella, or “improving my villain”). After a few searches and pins, Pinterest will then suggest pins that might be of use to you. Before long you will have multiple resources to pull from at will and all in one place.
Better Novel Project is a website that analyzes bestselling Y.A. books such as Harry Potter, Hunger Games, and Twilight. It uses the similarities to coach in creating the perfect Y.A. novel with all the bells and whistles of the standouts.
Obviously, I am not a Y.A. author -yet. What I am is an author who loves a good tool. The creator of Better Novel Project, Christine Frazier, is not only incredible at research and analysis. She includes illustrations in most of her post. A fun perk when hours online make your eyes cross. Check out her Master Outline post. It is beautiful. Seriously. Beautiful.
I’m a pantser. As in a person who would normally write by the seat of her pants without guided templates or outlines. This means I won’t outline a project before starting to write. However, as I began to take my work more seriously, the power of a great outline is that it helps to map out each scene and lessens the likelihood of writers block chipping away from precious writing time.
Libbie Hawker takes a different approach than the Master Outline of Better Novel Project. Both are formulaic, but Libbie Hawker’s approach deals almost exclusively with the Main Character. Every scene is guided by the main characters decisions. In BNP’s Master Outline, the main character’s decisions are of course important. However, each scene is carefully mapped to optimize interaction with all the characters of your novel as needed.
Both can help in discovering your character’s arc, motivations, and pushing toward a strong finish. I don’t have a recommendation of one over the other. Thus, they both made my list.
Review them both and then decide which is best for your work. Either way, having multiple options in outline does several things. Namely, it helps to create or find an outline that flows naturally with your writing style. Don’t be afraid to tweak the outlines for your needs.
4. She’s Novel
She’s Novel is another website I’ve found to create supremely helpful. Kristen Keiffer is a creative writing coach. She offers a free writing course for those who sign up with their email address.
For starters, the websites post are categorized for you. So, if you are only having problems with editing, click on the archives button at the top, and then choose the editing button on the archives page. There are buttons for every aspect of writing, from characters to plotting and so on. There is even a button for publishing and marketing. It is a one stop shop for all writers whether amateurs or professional. All you need to bring is your ambition and your ideas and she will help you bring out the form.
Kristen Kieffer offers ebooks in her store as well as other merchandise. Take an evening and let her inspire your work.
E.A. Deverall has no personal information on her site besides that she is a lady writer. In turn, what he offers is a plethora of writing worksheets to incorporate in your creative process. She keeps a string of downloadable content as well as a free novel outline for you to practice.
The site isn’t like the others I’ve mentioned here in that it is as much for readers as writers. The tools offered are often void of instructions, but allows you the room to develop in accordance to your own methods. She even recommends books for writers, and apps that will suit you whether you are using windows or a mac. Have gander, print some worksheets, and expand your process.
As always, these websites and resources aren’t user error free. Writing a book takes a lot of work and these are only guides. So, don’t expect them to create a masterpiece for you. A good tool assist in your vision, and that is all I am suggesting these resources will do. What I hope is that you find some valuable information within the websites that will aid you. They’ve worked for me and my process, but they are not for everyone’s cup of tea. Drop me a line to let me know what you think and any resource that I might be missing!