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PostPosted: April 30th, 2004, 1:32 pm 
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Joined: March 6th, 2004, 6:06 pm
Posts: 1110
Location: Phoenix
There has been some recent discussion on this forum about repeat questions from newbies about writing. My personal feeling is that we were all new at this once, and we have to start somewhere to find the answers. Why not here?

However, rather than scatter so much basic advice over a number of different topics, I would like to suggest that experienced writers and newbies alike use this new topic (A Challenge) to post the best resources they've found for answers to their writing questions and concerns.

Your recommendations can range from answers about grammar and syntax to answers about marketing your work, agents, craft, time management, contests, and more. Your "best resources" can include books, web sites, classes, magazines, or other sources you've found helpful. In the interest of abiding by Angela's rules, no blatant self-promotion or advertising, please. Just offer your favorite resources for writers.

Perhaps we can make this a centralized resource list so people won't have to search a dozen back posts to find what they're looking for.

Since my specialty is fiction, I will start with some of my favorite resources:

Books include--
The Career Novelist, by Donald Maas and Writing the Breakout Novel, Donald Maas
On Writing, by Stephen KIng
2004 Writer's Market
2004 Novel and Short Story Writer's Market
There are other useful books, but I think these are some of the best resources for the beginning writer.

Magazines--
Byline, an excellent resource for the new writer, it also offers small contests that will help you develop your craft and earn some publication credits
www.bylinemag.com
Writer's Digest, a magazine I feel is more oriented to commercial fiction and non-fiction but still an industry standard
www.writersdigest.com
The Writer, a nice, staid publication that has many articles about the craft of writing, especially for children's fiction and poetry
www.writermag.com
Poets and Writers, an excellent resource for literary fiction markets, contests, grants, and awards
www.pw.org

Professional Organizations--
Romance Writers of America, www.rwanational.org/
Sisters in Crime, www.sistersincrime.org
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, www.sfwa.org/bulletin
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, www.scbwi.org
Associated Writing Programs, www.awpwriter.org

Contests, Fiction Markets, Grants, and Awards--
www.fundsforwriters.com is an excellent source of information for the fiction writer interested in fiction contests
Also, if you would like to receive daily notification about writing contests (of all genres), you can send an email to: crwropps-subscribe@topica.com
The listserve is run by a woman named Allison Joseph, and she sends out this list free to anyone who subscribes. There is no attempt to sell any other product or solicitation for you to buy anything. However, you will receive approximately 5 emails a day about upcoming contests, anthologies, awards, etc.

Okay, this is a starting point. Next??

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Jeanne


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 Post subject: resources
PostPosted: April 30th, 2004, 2:52 pm 
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Joined: March 7th, 2004, 7:15 pm
Posts: 282
Interesting idea. Jlgwriter has already covered quite a few of the staples, and some other good tips. I, too, would recommend Allison Joseph's list, for example (it's one of the resources I've included both in my book and among the links for my newsletter subscribers). For anyone who isn't crazy about extra e-mail, that list _can_ be accessed and read online at http://lists.topica.com/lists/crwropps .

Since I write in multiple fields I could probably list resources forever! For now I'll just mention one new print resource, a book published last month, edited by Therese Eiben and Mary Gannon, with the staff of _Poets & Writers_. It's called _The Practical Writer: From Inspiration to Publication_ (Penguin, $14) and it includes some truly excellent essays from the magazine along with many commissioned specially for the book. It covers an amazing array of topics, many of which frequently come up on this forum, and the authors are experts writing in clear, engaging prose.


Best,
Erika D.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May 1st, 2004, 12:53 am 
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Joined: October 2nd, 2003, 2:17 am
Posts: 2391
Location: Canada
Some of the books that I have found the most helpful are:

The Career Novelist by Donald Maass - a book about how to make a writing career and plan for the future.
The Sell Your Novel Toolkit by Elizabeth Lyon - an excellent book on writing novel queries, synopsis, and formatting submissions. It comes with lots of great examples.
The entire Fiction Essentials series from Writer's Digest - it is full of great advice on the craft of writing.
The Joy of Writing by Pierre Berton - a great read giving advice to writers on how to write narrative non-fiction. It is written by Canada's greatest writer (in my opinion! :) )

I could go on, but I'll stop for now and let some others add on!


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 Post subject: a challenge
PostPosted: May 1st, 2004, 9:26 pm 
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Joined: August 13th, 2003, 3:48 pm
Posts: 304
Thanks jlgwriter, that's what I'm looking for. And for the record, I never said I didn't want to help newbies. I just said they should do some of the research themselves, not jump into the fray and start asking questions without seeing what has been asked before. I'm in the process of making a list of hwat is available JUST on this site.

ncwriter.

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ncwriter
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My Blog: Writer's Corner,
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 Post subject: My favorites
PostPosted: May 1st, 2004, 10:41 pm 
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Joined: September 12th, 2003, 10:47 pm
Posts: 455
Moira Allen's Writing World can't be beat for all types of how-to articles for newbies and for writers of different genres.

http://www.writing-world.com/

I also frequent WBBS. It has been busier in the past but is slow at times lately, however, you are sure to get good information and they don't seem to mind helping newbies either. They have writers at all levels, plus the genres are broken up into their own forums which makes it easier to get to the group you are interested in.

http://www.writersbbs.com/forums/

Like Writers Weekly, Writing World needs to be thoroughly searched out. There is a wealth of information on both, but its easy to just hone in on the forum or markets, etc. and overlook some other things that are really helpful. Take the time to study the site as a whole.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May 1st, 2004, 11:53 pm 
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Joined: October 2nd, 2003, 2:17 am
Posts: 2391
Location: Canada
I just thought of a couple more that I should add. If you are a children's writer, I would highly recommend the following sites:

http://www.institutechildrenslit.com - The Institute of Children's Literature. It is an excellent site with lots of great advice, some good forums and live chat with other writers. I am also taking their "Writing for Children and Young Adults" course and I love it. It is a chance to work one-on-one with a published author and get great feedback. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in children's writing.

http://www.write4kids.com - this site has lots of great advice on writing children's books as well as a good e-mail newsletter. Their free e-book on getting started writing picture books was very helpful.

For writing for adults, I recommend checking out:

http://www.longridgewritersgroup.com - The Long Ridge Writer's Group is similar to the Institute of Children's Literature mentioned above. Their site also has great articles, forums and live chat. They have set times where you go onto the chat and ask questions to editors, authors and other experts. It is very helpful. I am also taking their "Breaking into Print" course, working one-on-one with a published author. (Both courses are via correspondence and work at your own pace). I'm learning a lot about myself and my writing and I highly recommend them. They teach you not only how to write better, but also how to market what you write.

And of course, don't forget to check out all the great articles on this site and on Jeff's site http://www.creativecauldron.com!

Have fun writing!


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 Post subject: more resources
PostPosted: May 2nd, 2004, 10:28 am 
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Joined: March 7th, 2004, 7:15 pm
Posts: 282
Hi, everyone:

A few more online resources to add to the list:

1) To expand on the aforementioned _Writer_ magazine suggestion. The magazine posts a considerable amount of "online extra" and "web-only" content at its website, http://www.writermag.com . You may need to register (it's free to do so) for access to some of this material. One resource I found especially helpful is Kelly James-Enger's "Freelancing 101" article, reprinted at the site from the _Writer's Handbook 2004_. It covers everything from "Getting started as a professional writer" to article submission issues to book proposals and much more.

2) Markets--locating them, using guideline databases, etc.--can be a topic of some interest on this forum. My recent article, first published in an online newsletter, includes a number of links and resources on the topic of "One Step at a Time: Multiple Means for Finding Homes for Your Work." You'll find the piece at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/writesuccess/message/187 .

3) If you're looking for a truly comprehensive resource site "for writers of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction," be sure to check out the Nebraska Center for Writers at http://mockingbird.creighton.edu/NCW/ . Maintained by writer/professor Brent Spencer, this is less an interactive/discussion-of-craft-focused site, than one that provides very useful (and user-friendly) information/references for writing programs/conferences and literary magazines/publishers/agents .

Hope these are all helpful in their own ways!

Best,
Erika D.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May 2nd, 2004, 1:07 pm 
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Joined: December 31st, 2003, 10:31 pm
Posts: 63
For the record: I personally don't mind newbies who ask questions some of which may have been covered in other threads. To be honest, I'd rather just post my question in a new thread than spend potentially hours looking at old threads just to determine if the answer to my inquiry lies in one of them.

Maybe it boils down to how much one is willing to go to help someone out. For myself, I never grow weary of providing assistance when I can.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May 3rd, 2004, 11:23 am 
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Joined: March 7th, 2004, 5:08 pm
Posts: 151
Location: somewhere ... with a pen in my hand!
I'm quite new here and I've found the assistance of willing members of this community most helpful.
If I've asked a question which has been asked before, I'm certainly not aware and I apologise if I have.
Unfortunately, my time here is limited and I try to read through as many threads as possible, but I can't possibly read them all.

I would like to say, if people don't want to offer help, just ignore the posts. It's quite simple.

Thanks to everyone who's offered their help to me in the past but I'm not sure I dare ask any more questions. (Just in case)

Thanks jlgwriter for starting this thread and to everyone who has posted links.

_________________
Whether you believe you can, or you believe you can't .... you're right.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May 4th, 2004, 12:03 am 
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Joined: October 2nd, 2003, 2:17 am
Posts: 2391
Location: Canada
I think the idea of this thread is an excellent one. Let's keep on posting resources for everyone's benefit. I wanted to add a couple more. If you are a fiction writer and are looking for some great reference books, check these ones out:

Careers for Your Characters, A Writer's Guide to 101 Profession from Architect to Zookeeper - from Writer's Digest Books. It discusses the general professions including things like salaries and "a day in the life of ..." and includes reference as to what to read (fiction and non-fiction) for more info.

A Writer's Guide to Places - also from Writer's Digest books (I believe). It contains detailed information on places in the US and Canada that can be used to make settings more authentic.

Howdunit, How Crimes are Committed and Solved - from Writer's Digest books again. This is a great resource for the mystery writer. It not only contains information on a variety of crimes and law inforcement information, it also has references to places you can find more information.

I bought all three of these books and I love them.

Another new book that I have been reading through is The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. It is an excellent guide from an agent as to what will get a manuscript rejected. I recommend that one to anyone (fiction or non-fiction) trying to get published.

Good luck!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May 4th, 2004, 12:44 am 
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Joined: March 6th, 2004, 6:06 pm
Posts: 1110
Location: Phoenix
These are three classics I recommend to my students to inspire their creative spirit:

The Artists's Way, by Julia Cameron -- a wonderful book about nurturing the artistic soul! Too often, we let outside demands eat away at our creativity.

Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg -- filled with nifty exercises that will expand your writing horizons

Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott -- contains excellent thoughts on the writing process and how to break through "writer's block"

Recommendations for help with grammar and syntax:

Hodge's Harbrace Handbook with APA Update Card, by John Hodges

Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe's Guide to Better English in Plain English, by Patricia T. O'Connor

The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr., and E.B. White

Eats, Shoots and Leaves, by Lynn Truss (This last book has become a best seller. A best seller on punctuation and grammar?? Who would have guessed? :D )

Will post some more "goodies" later as I think of them!

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Jeanne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: May 4th, 2004, 1:51 am 
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Joined: October 2nd, 2003, 2:17 am
Posts: 2391
Location: Canada
If you write non-fiction (and even if you write fiction as I do), a really good book is William Zinsser's On Writing Well. It is full of wisdom on everything from wordiness in your manuscript to how to write travel articles. I mainly focus on fiction, but I got this book as part of a course I am taking, and it has been very helpful. It is geared more toward non-fiction writers. An excellent read!


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PostPosted: May 4th, 2004, 9:21 am 
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Joined: March 4th, 2004, 9:36 pm
Posts: 777
Location: Murphy, NC Copy Desk
Perhaps Angela can make this topic or a similar one, "sticky" so that it always remains at the top of the topics list and its excellent suggestions aren't buried by future topics. Also, its title might be edited to something like "Books and other resources for developing the writer's craft."

This suggestion might not be ideal, but its simplicity is hard to beat. 8^)

Dave


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 Post subject: Dave's idea
PostPosted: May 4th, 2004, 10:08 am 
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Posts: 282
Sorry to add a resource-less post but just want to say--good idea, Dave.

Best,
Erika D.


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 Post subject: another resource
PostPosted: May 4th, 2004, 10:45 pm 
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Joined: March 7th, 2004, 7:15 pm
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_Poets&Writers_ has already been recommended, but I thought I'd highlight one feature on its site: a page devoted to a set of "Top Six Questions Writers Ask."

http://www.pw.org/basic_info.html



Best,
Erika D.


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