So I promised you guys four topics of potential upcoming blog posts and then decided to post something entirely different. Just call me the Spanish Inquisition.
Here are 6 databanks of resources, tips, tricks, and advice for all you writers out there.
1. University of Richmond Writing Center
What: Exactly what it sounds like, but better. Intended for academic settings, it provides comprehensive articles about the art of writing itself. They are organized by steps in your writing process, beginning with ‘Getting Started’ to finer details like mechanics, style, and using sources. While you may no longer have to worry about ‘faculty pet peeves‘ or ‘crafting thesis statements,’ everyone could use a refresher on avoiding misplaced modifiers, wrangling with cliches, and building writer confidence.
Tip: Each link in the ‘Writing in the Disciplines‘ page connects to its databank of articles tailored to that subject. Check out the ‘Creative Writing‘ page, for example.
2. Ultimate Writer Resource List
What: While the original Tumblr post no longer exists, the reblogged version lives on – and for good reason. It compiles a list of articles, resources, and tips about everything about fiction writing: plot, structure, character, research, world building, and even ‘Creativity Boosters’. What’s more, many of them are very specific (like whether to use ‘said’, red flags for men writing female characters, and how to write a scene). The Character Development category is particularly immense, with multiple links to lists of personality traits, questionnaires, name databases. There’s even advice for Specific Character types (ranging from drunk to vampire to British). Some links have gone defunct, but the number is insignificant compared to the sheer volume of resources the list provides.
Tip: Check out the Tools & Software section for some really neat apps. Examples include the free WriteorDie, the free cloud-storing My Writing Spot, and the 2.99 app Tip of My Tongue.
3. It’s A Writer Thing
What: a Tumblr blog about writing with an emphasis on research (i.e. my favorite thing in the world). Scanning the first page, I found links to mermaid anatomy, crossbow usage, and the experience of going through therapy. There are also tips about writing in general like character development (here’s one about character-torture) and word choice (here’s a list of words for taste). Since it’s a Tumblr blog, you can only search by tag (the blogger maintains a general tag list here). Therefore, go in if you want general advice. Trying to find answers for a specific issue will likely leave you frustrated.
Tip: while the blogger does respond to asks and gives solid advice (like this one about having more ideas than you can process), it’s mainly a reblog-blog. In other words, the blogger shares material posted by other writer-centered blogs (it’s a Tumblr thing and not the same as reposting). That means that every reblogged post links you to another databank of writing tips, tricks, and advice. Is this blog a certifiable gold mine of data? Methinks yes. Can you get lost in the sheer volume of information? Methinks heck yes.
4. Yeah Write!
What: Another Tumblr blog that at first seems largely devoted to books and reading. Not that that’s a problem (it is in fact the opposite of a problem), but it may make you wonder why I recommend this blog out of all the blogs and websites specifically devoted to writer advice. Easy answer: the Writing Advice page. It compiles a fantabulous list of tags and specific articles about all elements of writing, both inside and outside your work. Also, the blogger answers many questions herself about writing and the writer’s life.
Tip: There’s even a section about being a career writer and majoring in English. See this fabulous of list of English-major bloggers and their current jobs)
What: this is the last Tumblr blog, I promise. See their Word of the Day series to boost your vocab or at least satiate your word nerd side. But what will interest you most is the Toolbox, a fabulous cache of resources that cover everything from plot and character development to genre and language to poetry and the publishing industry (something the resources I’ve listed above have skimped on). It even gives hefty lists to other databanks and blogs you should check out. These are good people.
Tip: The blog’s niche and central focus is on its Writer’s Blocks series. It’s a stream of prompts based on phrases, images, and music to get creative juices flowing. Very good for a break from all the “Imagine your character was on a spaceship…” bullsugar.
6. Terrible Minds
What: Chuck Wendig gives advice like a no-nonsense, profane, but well-meaning grandfather: he’ll slap you upside the head, but only because you’ve got what it takes to be good. His blog also promotes his own works and gives some personal anecdotes about things like tea and NaNoWriMo. Unfortunately that makes finding the advice articles tricky, but you should read the other posts anyway because they’re hilarious. Anywho, to give you sampling, here’s his guide to characters, worldbuilding, and editing the unmerciful suck out of your story. Yup. Direct Quote. He also gives fantastic advice on actually getting you into butt-in-chair, hands-on-keyboard mode. His writer’s block tips is the only one that consistently works for me.
Tip: Buy this book. It’s called the Kick-Ass Writer and it brings all the ’25 Things’ advice posts into one unholy Bible. Get it. It will change your life.
(Note: I’m not getting paid to promote any of these people. I am simply recommending them because they are good people.)