Useful references for writers
Web Tools Useful for Writers
- Freemind open source software for mind mapping; see also Keynote
- How to plot your novel using Freemind - Simon Haynes. Also see this blog entry from Crystal King. Freemind is a mind-mapping application.
- Character chart - really detailed!
- storyright.com - storyboards, character sheets and more
- tiddlywiki - a self-contained local wiki for you to organize characters, plot, etc
- Random Title Generator - good for book/chapter titles or just ideas
- writingfix.com -- interactive site for writers
- Story Idea generator
- chaoticshiny generators (Fantasy focus)
- nymbler - is a website where you can type in up to 6 names you like and it comes up with a lot of similar names, both of ethnicity, feel and sound.
- Fantasy Name generator
- Seventh Sanctum Name generators
- D&D Name generator
- A collection of name generators
- What's in a name?
- Random name generator uses data from the US Census to match first and last names with differing degrees of probability
- Names from around the world
- Etymology and history of first names
- Evil name, planet name, angel and demon name generators Plus lots of links and a place name generator
- Name database
- baby names
- surname meanings
- last name meanings
- Medieval names
- Medieval name generator
- fantasy name generator
- American names (socialsecurity.gov)
- Idea generator
- Oblique Strategies
- Writing Prompts - a list
- more Novel writing prompts
- Writing Prompts
- D*I*Y Planner article with pointers to journaling prompts
- 30 days of world building
- index of country and city names
- Patricia C Wrede's worldbuilder questions - very good prompts for world builders
- Article on world building
- world building reference at thescriptorium
- General references from the seventhsanctum
From "I am Tasha" (2011)
- Limyaeel's Rants More can be found here and here.
- A Magical Society: Guide to Mapping This one is worth the download, I swear it is. If you want to create a realistic map, this should be your Bible. There is also a longer version of this that includes notes on the Ecology and Culture, but you have to pay for it.
- Creating Fantasy and Sci-Fi Worlds This is the most helpful world-building tutorial I have found online. Period.
- What's the Magic Word: Defining the Sources, Effects, and Cost of Magic
- The Language Construction Kit Great for those who want to create their own language
- The Educated World Building Guide I believe this one is actually run by Nanoers working on worldbuilding.
- Magical World Builder's Guide Written by the same chick who did the 30 Days of Worldbuilding guide.
- Encyclopedia Mythica You want a myth or folktale? They're here.
- The History of Costume An old book from the 1880s. Useful for researching period dress.
- Fighting and Swordplay Essays Essays from the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts about the topic.
- The link appears to be broken at the moment, but the site called the "Mythopoet's Manual" is another good resource.
- JPWB's Fictional World Building Model Another alternate theory about world-building
- Historical Costuming Resources These are from the girl who did all of the historically accurate Disney princesses that have been floating around online, so they're definitely legit sources.
- The Mary Sue Litmus Test Always.
- Maps Workshop Another great mapping source from Holly Lisle
- Medieval Demographics Made Easy To show you exactly how many people would be in that poor rocky village halfway up the coast in medieval times.
- My readability analysis CGI that uses Lingua::EN::Fathom and the UNIX style utility. See the Wikipedia definition for the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test.
- wordcount frequency
- Writing words vs. writing software - some essential truths about writing
- Romanzo - ideas for an heir to Papel
- Jarnal, open source software to annotate PDF files
- Need help with time management/motivation? Try todoist and Joes Goals!
- TextBlockWriter - Windows freeware that lets you manipulate virtual index cards.
- Also see this list from our NaperWriMo Wiki
- - yWriter: Free word processor software specifically for novel-writing
- q10: free portable writing program that can run off a pen drive.
- Another novel word processor
- google word processor and spreadsheet - can access from any computer, collaboratively edit and save to Microsoft formats
Writing using index cards
Rescued from the 2007 NaNoWriMo Technology forum article by MSRenfrow
- Pile of Index Cards - a wiki dedicated to the use of index cards
- Holey 3x5 Cards Empower Creativity by Will Mitchell.
- How to Use Index Cards to Write A Novel Outline by Stuart Brown.
- 12 Easy Steps Make a Novel by Ann Major. Advocates always carrying around index cards in first stages of plotting.
- Extract from Lila by Robert M. Pirsig Published by Bantam Press – 1991. Actual real-live novel excerpt where the main character describes his method of using index cards.
- 43 Folders Wiki entry: Index Cards. Discusses several other authors who use index cards.
Writing Advice and Articles
- Seven point story structure - www.writingexcuses.com
- Top ten plotting mistakes
- Writing the Perfect Scene - Randy Ingermanson (the Snowflake method guy) - about the Motivation-Reaction units (From Dwain McSwain's Techniques of the Selling Writer)
- Advice for Writers by David L. Robbins
- Novel writing tips from Fiction Writers Connection (short list of ten; high level advice)
- "The Snowflake Process for Writing a Novel" by Randall Ingermanson
- "Plotting" by Jeff Heisler, of Heisler Ink
- "Plotting by Personality" by Marg McAlister
- Open Directory - Arts: Writers Resources: Fiction
- Writing Advice from Science Fiction author Jeffrey A. Carver
- Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop - free podcasts - some interesting advice for writers!
- Great article on how to write faster, better and easier by K. Stone
- Article on how to be creative
- Blogs by and for writers
- Learning about writing dialogue
- Journal writing tips from D*I*Y*
- Novel Writing Tips - a mindmap with notes from two good novel writing books
- notes from Techniques of the Selling Writer - a mindmap with notes from the great book by Dwight Swain
Starting your Novel/Inspiration
- 12 ways to start off your novel - Darcy Pattison
- Creativity tools
- Where you should go when you want to learn how to write a book
- The Opening Sentence
- Berkun blog: How to write a book - the short, honest truth
- So you want to be a writer - An inspirational poem by Charles Bukowski that has the ring of truth...
- Quotes about writers
- Jump start your writing!
- How to use emotional response to create plot elements
Writer's Block Advice
Finishing your Novel
- "Finishing Your Novel" by Timothy Hallinan
- Complete your first book with these 9 tips!
- Needing some motivation? Check out this devastatingly candid article about the 7 deadly sins of unpublished authors
- National Novel Finishing Month (30,000 words to finish your NaNo novel in December) has a terrific resources page
Children's Novel Writing
- Patrice Kindl, Children's Author
- Getting Started: Really Basic Information for Children's Writers and Illustrators
- Amazon.com: So You'd Like to... Write Classical Children's Fantasy
- The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators
- National Novel Editing Month (March)
- Inspirational resource to help folks with their rewrites if not finished
- proofreading marks ref
Here are some cautionary sites (taken from an article by AngelSong):
- Writer Beware - http://www.sfwa.org/beware/
- Helpful information about bogus agents and publishers - http://www.absolutewrite.com/freelance_writing/writer_beware.htm
- Absolute Write forums - http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=22
- 5 reasons to avoid PublishAmerica - http://writing.articlesarchive.net/5-reasons-to-avoid-publishamerica.htm...
- "Preditors" and Editors - http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/
- Founders' Copyright Creative Commons
- Kimberly Dawn wrote:
Because there are HUGE misunderstandings about what a copyright is these days and I keep seeing them repeated over and over again. I thought I could help.
There's a good start.
So, yes fan fiction is a violation of copyright.
Copyrights are made as soon as you make them into apparent form. So automatically everything in this post is being copyrighted as I write it.
This post will be invalid in its copyright after I'm dead for EIGHTY years.
Also another thing to know is that an official copyright is EXPENSIVE, which is why most publishers will do it for you. It will cost you quite a bundle, unless you intend to have a high volume, and should be done through a lawyer. Trade mark and copyright often get confused, BTW, but you can't copyright titles to books, etc. You can copyright ideas, expressions of art, etc. specific phrases, slogans and titles are trademarks. ^_^
official copyright requires the filing of form TX for literary works, sending along 1 or more copies of the work to be copyrighted and $30.00 Copyright itself is not the expensive part. correcting an error in the submission is $100.00 and any investigation into existing copyrights is $75.00 per hour.
Trademark application as of this year is $325.00 per each class of goods or service that you submit.
ISBN registration is done in blocks of 10 and begins at $225.00 with an additional publisher registration fee of $25.00
I've got a list of links to various agencies US, UK, Aus and others listed here, along with other information for registration or self publishing, including ISBN and barcode ordering.
- rec.arts.sf.composition (usenet group)
- Forward Motion Writer's Community -- looks really good!
- aburt's critters Writers' Workshop, a large, active community of writers who help each other through frequent critiques -- great resource for critiquing, including these great references about how to be effective in critiquing other's work. This is a must read!
- ARWZ.com: Alternative Reality Writers' Zone. An online community for writers and readers of speculative fiction: fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, horror, supernatural, cross genre
- Diaryland members area
- Write On! Discuss the art and craft of writing
- inkify forums - "A place to talk about books and writing"
Self Publishing and Publishing Refs
- Lulu: Marketplace for digital content
- Plug your book! (a blog about publishing)
- - How much will they pay me for my book? A wonderful site to fantasize over--a survey of typical advances, royalty percentages by publisher. Mostly romance publishers, but TOR is in there, too.
- - Predator editor/agents to avoid
- absolutewrite.com - writer's resource; also check out the beware & background check thread in the forums for info on disreputable publishers (<a href="http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/" title="http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/">http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/</a>)
Plotting tools and worksheets
- NoWhiteSpace Writing Cheat Sheet - great little two-pager chock-full of writing references!
- Common Errors in English
- Merriam-Webster OnLine
- Project Gutenberg
- Phrase Thesaurus
- more action verbs from writingforums.org
- descriptive words, action verbs, 100 ways to say said and transition words
- Evelyn Leeper's homepage with many useful links
- D*I*Y Planner - On using index cards for NaNoWriMo
- Writing tips from DragonChild (ML)
- A Writer's Toolbox with links related to writing
- Razorkitten's del.icio.us bookmarks (mostly with a fantasy bent)
- NaNoWriMo resources (collected by Cameron Matthews)--includes character creator
- Rolnikov's November Spawned site, with four issues of NaNoWriMo-inspired literature and a very useful booklet of writing tips (update: looks like the page is gone; the site still remains but the booklet isn't there. :-(
- babelfish online translator
- 2006 NaNoWriMo
- 2005 NaNoWriMo
- Unfortunately, archives of years prior to 2005 are not available
- NaNoWriMo Windsor: National Novel Writing Month 2003 - lots of great tips and tools.
- Create word-count bars for your journal/blog
- Lazette Gilford's NaNo for the New and the Insane - free e-book
Other Writing Links
Where am I?
A phenomenally complete Excel spreadsheet that helps you keep track of your progress. It could save you time, unless you use it obsessively just to watch the charts and graphs change. Includes a morale tracker.
What AM I doing?
character worksheet and other resources It may be a bit late muck around with plotting, but you never know what you're gonna need. This is where our character worksheet came from. The site also includes character biography worksheet, fantasy and sci-fi world-building forms, and story starters.
Is this for real?
Check out the Character and Plot Realism thread on the NaNo forum. This is the place to go for the skinny on weight-lifting, Italian folk magic, creative assassinations, or summoning angelic beings. It's also a great place to mess around when all you really want to do is, well, procrastinate.
- lulu self-publishing company offered one free published B&W book for each NaNoWriMo novel. Offer expired 01/15/2005 but maybe they'll repeat it.
- Moleskine Notebooks, Journals, and Date Books - MoleskineUS