Writing Tips

Really Rad Writing Resources

When it comes to writing, sometimes you need a little help. Sometimes you need a lot of help, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite writing resources for you and hopefully they will help improve your writing and the writing process!

Plot:

Plotting can be some of the hardest part of writing. Sometimes I don’t even bother trying to figure it out beforehand, but others find it impossible to write if they don’t. For me, plotting usually means using a different method to help me figure it out. These are some useful websites when it comes to plotting.

  1. The Snowflake Method: This method involves starting small and building up your plot bigger and bigger until you’ve got the big picture.
  2. Novel Cheat Sheet: This website offers downloadable novel worksheets to help see the plot as it goes along. Very helpful if you are a visual person.
  3. Plot Diagrams: A plot diagram is that thing you learned about in grade-school, the triangle-shaped line that shows the progression of plot. You can make your own for the big events in your novel.
  4. Hero’s Journey: A nice visual cue of writing a hero’s journey, whether your hero is an actual hero in the purest sense or just a protagonist trying to get through life. You can think if it as a metaphor.

Of course, you can also write out your plot chapter-by-chapter or individually by events. JK Rowling had a million spreadsheets for Harry Potter, if that’s your cup of tea (or if you happen to have a million characters).

Characters:

Characters are really the bread and butter of a story most of the time. If you don’t like the characters, how can you like the plot? They’re an important part of any story and something an author needs to get right.

  1. Character Development Tips: A list of questions you should be asking of your characters to ensure that you know them as well as you can.
  2. 100 Questions to Ask your Character: Another list filled with 100 questions to ask your character.
  3. Character Development: Things to think about when developing a character for your novel.
  4. Mary Sue Test: A test to determine if your character is a “special snowflake.” Also another Mary Sue Test which can be used for fanfiction or original characters.
  5. Baby Names: Naming a character can be one of the hardest things. Baby naming sites can help you choose one that fits and even tell you the meaning behind the name. I personally keep a spreadsheet of names I like on my computer, but sometimes I need something else and search the internet.
  6. Last Names: For last names of characters, it may be specific to the time and place you’re writing in. For me, I like to go to Google Maps, shut my eyes, move the map around and then zoom in really closely. Then I pick a name from somewhere on the map. You can go to the particular area your character is from and do it or just choose randomly.

Developing your characters is like giving birth to them. You have to think and consider all the angles and ask yourself what they would do in a certain situation in order to be successful. It’s not just about how they look, but more about how they act.

And I’ll give you some of my favorite lists for many more links than you could possibly ever want.

  1. Writing Resources List: On Livejournal, this list includes everything about fandom writing and many things can be applied to original fiction as well. It includes writing etiquette, writing help. It is a huge, giant list that is very helpful.
  2. 102 Resources for Fiction: Another list filled with many different resources for writing.
  3. 25 Helpful Websites for Creative Writers: Links to writing prompts and advice on getting published.
  4. 100 Free and Useful Web Apps for Writers: Lots of organizational tools and writing tools and blog, publishing, etc.
  5. Writing Minority Characters Help: List of articles about writing people of color and other minorities without being a jerk.

There are so many different writers’ resources out there, and so much good advice. It can be hard to remember it all, but I love lists, so here’s the one that I made for you guys, and for myself! I hope you find it useful!

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