Andrea (Andi) Cumbo-Floyd is a writer, developmental editor, speaker, workshop facilitator, and writing coach. Awesome, classy lady! Her website is also a good resource for things, including her “12 Ways to Improve Your Novel or Memoir BEFORE Anyone Else Sees It.” She writes a blog and has written and published a number of books. She also has developed a whole writer’s community of support.
Common Editing and Writing Problems by Dorothy Mitstifer – a pdf list of good things and things to avoid. Handy little reference for writers to use in self editing their work.
This is an amazing resource subtitled: include/ empower/ respect ! There are links to wonderful articles that describe the need for and the strides we are making in the publishing industry to be more inclusive. I have a hard time not spending hours on this site, just reading article after article. Here is an example where the Associated Press has changed their policy on hyphenating American heritage labels. Here is another that addresses the use of ableist language. It is very enlightening and challenging to change the way we speak and write but worth it in order to be more sensitive. I will simply quote Lydia X.Z.Brown, the author of the piece: "Language is inherently political. Both as individuals and as larger social and cultural groups, it is self-evident that the language we use to express all sorts of ideas, opinions, and emotions, as well as to describe ourselves and others, is simultaneously reflective of existing attitudes and influential to developing attitudes."
The Daily Writing Tips are cool. Some better than others of course, but I can almost always learn something from them. I’ve been a subscriber for years.
The Editor’s Blog is a great resource for Writers as well as Editors. Editor and writer Beth Hill has great, practical advice (like how proof-reading can pay off) and lots of good resource links to other good sites, webinars, and E-zines. I have newly discovered this website and am eager to devour as much as I can of her excellent advice and guidance. Her "Punctuation with Dialogue" is fantastic and seems extremely comprehensive to me, especially when combined with the Discussion in the Comments below the article. One little gem I discovered is her article and the discussion on how to write "Inner Dialogue" and it even touches on telepathy in sci-fi novels. Another FANTASTIC article is on commas and coordinating conjunctions and the purpose of good punctuation, generally: No Comma Necessary—Coordinating Conjunctions Don’t Always Need Commas. This article contains some of the best advice I've ever found for the treatment/ nuances of comma usage that are practically impossible to find! And again, tons of useful material in the Comments section!
Grammar Book is a fantastic website reference that is based on The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation by Jane Straus. It is beautifully and simply organized for searching out specifics on … grammar and punctuation rules! (Yes! You guessed that one, huh? You are amazing!) It is a great tool and resource that is good to keep on speed dial, as it were. Or an open tab on your laptop.
Grammar Girl (aka Mignon Fogarty) is the author of numerous books as well as articles for her website -“Quick and Dirty Tips” on grammar and punctuation and things of that nature. She is my go-to-gal for refreshing my memory on issues like when to use a reflexive pronoun, or how to punctuate participial phrases. Having trouble remembering when to use ‘lay’ vs ‘lie’? She can help! I’ve got her books too. (But it's NOT because I am a book junkie! I bought them in case the internet goes down and I have an urgent need to conjugate irregular verbs!) She’s brilliant.
Helping Writers Become Authors is the goal of K.M. (Katie) Weiland, author (of both fiction and resources for writers), blogger, mentor, and educator. Her website is chock full of amazing resources for learning and honing the craft of writing, e.g., story and scene structure, outlining, character development, etc.
The Independent Book Publishers Association has a free PDF of the Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Book.
I found an article on this website, Jericho Writers, on character development to share with my authors. And then there's this article on writing dialogue. There is also this great article on developing your authorial voice. Holy smokes, they've got tons of resources for writers: tutorials and webinars and chat groups and agents and ... (publication/organization - membership fees for full access, but blog posts are free.)
Laurel Garver, author and editor, has a blog (Laurel's Leaves) where I found a fantastic explanation for why authors need critique partners and beta readers and how to get the most out of both. For real - any writer who wants to improve their craft should get as much feedback and as many eyes on their story as possible. Laurel says it more eloquently. :) Laurel also has written some books, one of which provides 'Evocative Prompts for Fiction Writers.'
Literary Devices is a website that has not only lists and explanations for literary devices and terms, but also grammatical terms, and poem analysis, a very comprehensive list and analysis of common phrases (bated breath, the lady doth protest too much, silence is golden, etc.), and essay writing descriptions. One of my favorite articles is the discussion of literary perspectives.
I have found two particularly great articles (among many) in Megan Harris's blog. She is an editor, a blogger, a copywriter and has wisdom to share in regards to contracts between editors and writers and about appropriate ways of offering thanks to your editor for a job well-done.
NY Book Editors website has many helpful articles in the blog section of their website. One sweet article is about getting your manuscript ready for submitting to an editor. :) Don’t Submit Your Manuscript Until You’ve Read This Post. Here're a few more great articles: How to Plan a Book Series and How to Create Chapters in Your Novel and What's the Difference Between Perspective and Point of View.
The Online Etymology Dictionary - or Etymonline - is so cool. If you are writing historical fiction, this is a resource for you, since one pitfall you need to avoid is using words or idioms that didn't exist in that era. As a client recently described - it is almost like having access to the OED.
LitWeb is the online resource and supplement for the W.W. Norton Introduction to Literature textbooks. They have quizzes and workshops that you need the code from the textbook to access, but they also have a free Glossary of terms that is excellent and many many articles related to writing and literature. I have only recently discovered this awesome resource and plan on regularly ingesting the articles and keeping the glossary at my fingertips. They also have Reading Group Discussion Guides; if you are a member of a Book Club you might want to check those out.
The Punctuation Guide is a phenomenal tool/reference that is easy to use and great for refreshing your memory about how and when to use semi colons, em dashes (you’ve got to familiarize yourself with these little beauties!), quotation marks, etc. It also has information on Manuals of Style, Top Ten Tips (And we all love those! Admit it!), British vs American English, and more.
reedsy is a clearing house for all sorts of self publishing tools and assistance. They have a terrific list of writing community/critique groups: "50 Places to find a critique circle to improve your writing" and free creative writing exercises.
Romance Refined is the website of Rachel Daven Skinner, who is a freelance editor. She has a very helpful download on using Track Changes with an editor and another on how to create Manuscript/Series Style Sheets - a tool I think any author would do well to utilize.
Steven Pressfield - writer of novels as well as The War of Art and other books about writing. His website offers great writer insights and philosophies, tutorials and practical advice on how to make a career out of writing. He's been there. He wants to share his hard-won wisdom.
I discovered Frank McKinley’s website while looking for articles on Why Every Writer Needs an Editor (by guest blogger Emily Clark). He also has a Thriving Writers show on YouTube that looks very informative, although I haven’t investigated those yet. And his Blog has heaps of interesting and motivating topics for writers. I highly recommend you explore his smorgasbord of offerings.
The Write Practice seems like a good resource for writers. One blog post I especially appreciated was about Point of View. This website has helpful information that can point you in the right direction as you 'practice' in order to 'progress' toward being a better writer. They also have a community of support.
Writer's Digest has some amazing articles on ... just about any topic a writer could or would need to or want to know about. Seriously. I have barely begun to tap this resource. Check out this article on weaving backstory into your novel. Or this one on writing believable YA characters (when maybe that was a looong time ago for you personally?). There is a huge selection of free stuff, tutorials, webinars, articles, prompts, etc. on genre specific topics, on publishing issues, on writing techniques, etc.
The Writer’s Handbook (crazy creative, huh?) published by The University of Wisconsin-Madison (not my alma mater, I just stumbled upon this one and was extremely impressed) has a Writing Center that has put together a great little resource which addresses many issues relevant to … writers! 12 Common Errors was a good one. They also have great guidance for Academic and Professional writing. It’s geared toward their students, but hey, maybe you are wanting to update your resume or something. I think most universities have some sort of resource like this.
Word-of-the-Day mailing from Merriam-Webster online dictionary – way better than one of those tear-off calendars (I heard somewhere that there is such a thing as Word of the Day toilet paper?! I must say, as a lover of words, the symbolism is distressing.) This newsletter also links to their web page where there are quizzes to test your word power and other cool things. It's fun if you are competitive and geeky about vocabulary.
Kate's edits are thorough and improve the clarity, consistency, tone, and impact of every sentence. Every edit has taught me something new that has improved my writing going forward. It's clear she takes pride in her work. She is supportive and respects my voice as an author.
-Author Renae Wright
"Kate" pictures provided by Scott Schieber.
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