This page is dedicated to some of the resources that help me develop my writing. They might be books, movies, podcasts, apps, websites or software – and I figured I would share them with you here.
Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain
I think I can honestly say that this is the best book on writing I’ve ever read. If you take the time to sit down with this, it will teach you everything you need to know about how to develop characters, story, how to build conflict, and how to create an enticing plot. It has everything. There’s detailed explanations, plenty of examples and you get a lot of bang for your buck. It’s a bit dated (from the ’60s) but it has aged really well! If I had to recommend just one book – it would be this.
Voracious Readers Only
Voracious Readers Only is a site that matches authors with readers.
It’s pretty simple, they have a huge list of people looking for new books to read, you send them your book, with a blurb and some categories and all that is needed to market it, and they send it off to people who are looking for what you’re writing!
The thing is, VRO strongly urges their readers to leave reviews whenever they get a free book. There’s a cost involved for authors to sign up, but there is a free trial which I’ve tried, and I got a handful of reviews from it!
Noisli is an amazing audio app that lets you create playlists of basically – background noise! Do you work best in a busy coffee shop? Crowded office? Do you love the sound of your bedroom fan?
If you’re not big on silence, this is the app for you. Create a soundtrack that lets you focus on your writing.
This is one for reading – especially if you, like me, like to read on a device. I read almost exclusively on my phone using the Kindle app. I have an actual Kindle (somewhere) but my phone is always with me wherever I go so I’ve gotten used to having all my books on hand.
But a phone screen isn’t great to be staring at for hours on end. What Twilight does is that it allows you to filter out blue light, which may be disrupting your sleep. I love it!
GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon
This is actually the book that led me to read Techniques of the Selling Writer which I mentioned at the top of this article. Slightly shorter and more to the point, this one is easier to read and will teach you everything you need to know about how to create conflict, drive and purpose for your characters. At the same time, you’re not going to feel like you’re being talked down to. You’re probably already doing a lot of what this book is talking about – but you’re going to be explained in detail how to utilize these skills. I promise – it will change how you think about characters.
ProWritingAid advertises itself as Your personal writing coach – A grammar checker, style editor and writing mentor in one package.
I don’t use ProWritingAid currently, but I have in the past and my experiences were very good! You’ll get detailed feedback about your writing and writing style, you can get reports on things like what words you overuse and how long or short your sentences should be, and there’s obviously basic features like spell checking.
You can even try it for free.
The Editor’s Blog
The Editor’s Blog is a great source for all your writing needs. I came across it accidentally when I was looking up rules for how to write numbers in fiction, and this blog was is an absolute treasure trove.
Whatever it is you’re wondering, special grammar, punctuation, formatting rules, it’s all there.
Just follow the link and find the ‘Full Archives’ button on the left.
I just have to share this brilliant software, even though you probably have a program you write in. I recently had some problems with Microsoft Office and had to change, and I opted for this.
LibreOffice is a free and open source office package that includes a word processor, spreadsheets and presentation software, among other things. It reads almost every format and is amazing! Also, I’d claim it’s much easier to use and more intuitive than many other softwares.
Calibre is a simple ebook management tool and must-have for any independent author.
Not only does it let you manage your ebook collection and sort your library if you’re a reader, but it lets you convert your books from and to various formats. You can input your word documents, add a cover, and voilà! out comes a .mobi or .epub or whatever else you want.
Oh, and it’s free and open source.
The Fiction Writer’s Handbook: 10 Minute Edits by Dennis Hays
This book is brilliant. Short and to the point, this is meant as a book to keep on your desk next to you while you revise. This is going to teach you a lot of handy tips and tricks on how to edit your writing. Not that you shouldn’t use an external editor as well, but this is going to make sure what you send off is the best writing you can do. I learned a lot from this and would absolutely recommend it!
As far as I understand, the true purpose of this was to be used for people who play DnD and other tabletop games (thereof the name, I assume). But of course, that doesn’t stop us from using it while we write! Do you need some sci-fi ambience? A background track to the fantasy city you’re describing? The sound of a gunfight for that war zone-feel? You’ll find it all here – all the auditory inspiration you could ever want!
Stuck on a word? Can’t remember what that thing that means that thing you’re trying to say is called? Need something that means the same as that normal word everyone else uses?
Yeah, you get what a thesaurus is. I used to just Google myself to the right answer, but you get so many weird results that way. These days, I just use the Power Thesaurus. It’s great. You get synonyms, antonyms, definitions and examples all in one place.
Okay, I’ve actually never used Scrivener myself, but everyone speaks so highly of it that I figured I would add it here just in case.
Simply put, Scrivener is a word processor on steroids. It allows you to create projects where you can write your text, organize research and characters, move chapters and sections around, and there are virtual index cards and an outliner. If there’s a feature you’re missing in your current word processor, Scrivener probably has it.
On Writing by Stephen King
It probably helps if you’re a fan of Stephen King with this, though I’d say you don’t have to be. And if you aren’t – just jump to around the middle of this book and read on from there.
This is part memoir (the first half) and part a book on how to write, and I think it’s great. Whether you like King’s writing or not, the fact is that he’s a guy who’s been doing it for absolute ages, and he’s been successful time and time again. And as the memoir part (which I thought was surprisingly fascinating) will show, it’s not because of dumb luck either.
Another software I haven’t actually used myself much, but it gets an honorable mention since everyone I know seems to absolutely love it.
Grammarly is a grammar checker, proofreader, and style enhancer. It will check what you’re writing and give you instant suggestions on how to improve. It will even give you feedback on things like tone, clarity, and delivery and there are functions to rate and compare your new writing with your old. I use the desktop version occasionally when I want to run through a short story without hiring an editor.
It comes in different packages, one for Windows, one for Word, one as an extension for Firefox and there are free and premium version available.
Fiverr deserves a mention when it comes to anyone doing anything independently, whether you’re an author or musician or any other type of artist.
Fiverr is basically an online market for freelancers, so if you have something to sell, or services to buy (I’ve gotten book covers made there) there’re loads of brilliant people to find there. The beauty of it is that you can read other people’s reviews and check out an artist before you have something done.
Fix Your Amazon Book Listing And Sell More Books by William F. Aicher
I’d say this is a must-have for anyone who is an indie author and publishes on Amazon (or anyone who does anything on Amazon for that matter).
Aicher is an indie author himself and is very knowledgeable about how Amazon works and what do to to drive the sales.
The book is short and to the point and in the back Aicher has included loads of examples for you to try out for yourself.
This is another auditory website and app – and it’s absolutely lovely!
Love the sound of rain? Thunder? Howling winds?
Rainy Mood has got it all and it’s fantastic. I use this a lot for when want to just snuggle up on the couch and sit down and write for an hour.
Kindlepreneur – Book Marketing for Self-Publishing Authors
Probably the most useful resource for indie authors on web anywhere – if I had to recommend just one site.
Kindlepreneur has loads of tools, tips and tricks and a lot of interesting things to read up on if you plan on publishing on Amazon. Some are free, some are not and there’s a ton of stuff.
I recommend you have look around, read up on some stuff and check out what’s there. But maybe take it one step at a time – it can be a bit overwhelming!
I Write Like
I’ll leave you with a fun website any writer will enjoy.
Take a snippet of your writing, pop it in the text box and I Write Like will tell you which famous author you sound like.
Indulge yourself – it’s fun!