Resources for Writers

Welcome to the archives! Here is a listing of the posts I've made on this site. Most of them are writing or reading related, but a few are not. Plus links to external websites at the end!!

Key Posts /  Resources: 

  • Diversity in Books and Publishing
  • Querying Resources
  • Twitter Pitch Resources

  • Motivation & Inspiration
  • Character Development
  • Tension & Pacing
  • Structure & Plot
  • Themes & Issues
  • About my Novels (see also my books page)


  • Novel Editing How-Tos
  • Betaing & Critique Partners
  • Other Editing Posts

Finding an Agent

  • Researching Agents
  • Query Letters
  • Contests
  • Pitches and Loglines
  • Betaing & Critique Partners
  • Twitter
  • Book Reccomendations

  • Top Ten Tuesdays:
  • Recent Reads Roundups
  • Environment & Sustainability -- (In reading and writing)
  • Other Writing & Reading  Posts
  • The Glamorous Write-At-Home Life

External Links

Finding an Agent

 Query Tracker ||  QT Top Ten Agent Lists

The Submission Process & Requests:
There are a lot of great agents and publishers out there, but that doesn't mean there aren't scammers. Also see: Absolute Write's Bewares Forum and Writers Beware!

Contests / Blind Dates / Speed Query
Cupid's Love Connection || Amazon Breakthrough Novel || Secret Agent ||

Writing a Query Letter

One particularly handy tool is the query template for quickly summarizing the plot in your query.
The Fine Art of Writing Blurbs
3 Questions
Building a Better Query
Kidlit - Queries

Get your Query Critiqued:
Query Letter Hell - Absolute Write || Query Goblin || The Q.Q. Query Experiment||  Query Shark ||

Chapter One Agent Pet Peeves
Dream sequences, lengthy world-building, character descriptions, prologues and other no-nos for the opening paragraph and first chapter. From the agents' mouths/keyboards:  
Seven Deadly Sins (if you're a first chapter)
Washington Post : Chapter One Reviews
Read first chapters of books that the Washington Post has recently reviewed
Writer's Digest

How Many Characters?
You probably can't have too few characters in your first chapter, but you can certainly have too many. How many is too many? How many is just right? Some links on character count:
Dear Editor: How Many is Too Many? || AW: ow Many Characters in 1st Chapter? ||


Plotting the End
Climax, Resolution and Your Main Character || 
Fiction writer's guide to psychology.
See also: Character Traits/Motivation :: Character Traits Thesaurus
See also: 100 Questions || 101 Character Questions || Character worksheet I || 
Gail Carson Levine provides some good tips
Lots of good posts here.
Within this site, find links to articles on character arcs, motivation, and protagonist-antagonist.


The making of the (dystopian) world
A great post by Beth Revis on this website by/for debut dystopian authors.

Huge List of Fantasy World-Building Questions
From Patricia C. Wrede via SWFA. In case you feel like planning out every little detail.

The Emotion Thesaurus

World-Building Through Characters
You don't have to and shouldn't include everything about your carefully crafted world. Janice Hardy gives some excellent tips on how to focus on your character, and how the world impacts/affects them.

Chapter Endings & Cliffhangers
Cliffhangers can be a great way to end a chapter and keep the reader wanting more. But you can also do this by building great tension throughout the chapter and then leave the reader in the middle of a too-good-to-be-true moment. Are cliffhangers a good thing? Can they be overdone? Here are some opinions on the matter:
Advice from other authors:
Advice from editors & agents:

Editing & Word Slashing 

Revision Strategies
There are lots of ways to go about it, here are some ideas you may want to try!
Ten-Point Revision Strategy || Revising for Publication - There and Draft Again ||

Overused Words
Many words are overused in novel-writing (Just, that, then, when, like, very etc...)
Here are some handy lists!
Similies and metaphors can be great, but they can also be overused. If the word "like" is popping up in your manuscript too much, either your characters are a bit teeny-bopper, or you might be using too many similes!
Your Similes are Like a Giant Flood || How often should I use similes and metaphors? ||
Janice Hardy does it again, with amazingly helpful posts on editing!
It'll catch things like:
Autocorrect is your friend
Brilliant tip for programming autocorrect to save you time and to highlight your overused words!
I do this all the time!
Two Signs of Overwriting || Beginners' Blunders ||
Ten Mistakes
I have a lot of trouble with this one ... starting my sentences with "There" and thereby burying the subject in the sentence. I also need to watch out for starting sentences with "When" - subject first, details of when and where later.
It's ok to start a sentence with "there" and "when" on occasion, but I do it too much.
Starting a Sentence with There ||

Beta-Swapping and Critiquing

Where to find Betas and Critique Partners
Check out these sites:
Critique Partner Connection || AW: Willing Beta Readers || AW: Beta Project || AW: Share Your Work  || CPMatch  (more details here)

Other Places for Feedback:
First Five Pages Workshop ||

Tips for Critiquers
There are lots of ways to go about it, here are some ideas you may want to try!
NB: Ten Commandments for Editing Someone's Work || The Cardinal rules of Critiquing

Aspiring Author Blogs
It's always inspiring to see what other fingers-crossed-soon-to-be published authors are doing.
Avoid becoming another boring author blog || Author Marketing || Branding 101 ||
Story Siren : Blog Tips & Tricks || Blogging For Writers ||
Pub Life: How Authors Get Paid


External Links & Resources
In my adventures in novel writing, I continue to stumble across a number of extremely helpful websites. I will try to post many of my favorites here. Hopefully they are useful to you!

Author-Agent List 
Got a list of great authors in your sub-genre? Click the link above (from Query Tracker) to find their respective agents! This can be particularly helpful in honing in on agents that represent work you know and love (and/or you know is similar to yours)
Agent Query
Want to find agents in your genre? Try the link above and select your genre.

Agent Interviews
A great resource for agent interview blurbs/links is:  Literary Rambles: Agent Spotlight 
Also See: Writing Raw - Agent Interviews || Stacey O'Neale - Literary Agent Interviews || Mother. Write. Repeat || Writer's Digest - Agent Advice || Winnie Griggs - Industry VIPs || S.R. Johannes: Market My Words || Sharon K Mayhew: Random Thoughts || Writing Raw Interviews  || Literally Human  (links to interviews) || The Last Word (hilarious -- also has author/editor interviews) || Agentopia ||

Look up the lists on both  Agent Query  and  Query Tracker  (they're sometimes different!)
Another Trick? Do a Google Search on "represented by AGENT NAME". Simple yet effective.

New agents can be great for authors in that they are often actively building their client lists. Keep on top of new agents alerts and new agency splits/openings:
New Agency Alerts  - Writers Digest || Newly Added Agents - QueryTracker ||

Finding an Agent and the Submission Process
Janice Hardy provides tips on everything from how to hunt for an agent, what to do when an agent calls

How to Get an Agent : Top Ten List 

When to Query

Videos on How to Get an Agent:
Lucienne Diver ||

What to Do When an Agent Calls
See also, a list of questions to ask, more questions, how to handle an offer of representation, and more tips when you get an offer.

Writers Beware   

Tired of the traditional querying route? Enter your query in one of these contests and get a chance to have your MS picked up by an agent or publisher.

Query Shark
My favorite query website of all time! The query shark gobbles select query letters and spits them back out with lots of good commentary, critique and markup. This is a fantastic resource to learn from others' mistakes. Be sure and read through all the archives!

This post is an excellent walk-through of the "unformula" of writing query blurbs.

How to get at the main conflict in your query. Easier said than done, but these are helpful questions.

Get to know your agent! Read books the agent has repped, and check out their online presence. That way you're one step closer to knowing if you're a good fit for them, and they're a good fit for you! Talk about it in your query letter!
Kidlit - Connection to the Agent || Janice Hardy - Personalizing Your Query || How to Personalize a Query || Bookshelf Muse - Ideas for personalizing || AW Forum: To Personalize or Not? ||

Advice from Agents:
Kate Testerman's "About My Query" (an awesomesauce critque series) ||Nathan Bransford || Miss Snark  ||  Kristin Nelson - The Pitch (multiple posts) || What Not to Include - Vickie Motter || What To Include - Vickie Motter || Are you a Victim of the Duh Factor? || Rachelle Gardener || Kid Lit - Personalization ||  Query Questions answered by agents - Michelle4Laughs ||

Advice from Published Authors:
Kim Harrington  ||  Marcus Sakey ||  Elana Johnson || Janice Hardy || Anne Mini || Meg Clayton || Saundra - The Fine Art of Blurbs || Author Success Stories

Sample Query Letters:
 Elana Johnson ||  Lynn Flewelling || Carrie Ryan || Julia Karr ||  Query Shark (lots of samples, not necessarily winners - but see them shredded to pieces!!) || Pub Rants (this link is to one, but there are more) || YA Highway - Query Series|| AW - Successful Query Thread || AQ Connect - Successful Queries || Bad Queries from the Slush Pile || "Queries that Worked" blog series || Successful Queries - QueryTracker || Successful Queries - Reddit || kt literary - Queries that Worked (#1) (#2)|| QQQ Experiment - Successful Queries || Public Query Slushpile || Peggy Eddleman ||

Writing the Author Bio || The Author Bio || AW Forum || Kidlit - Biographical Information in the Query ||

Writers Digest ||

First Page / Chapter One Tips

First Page Shooters
Agent Suzie Townsend dissects sample first pages that readers have sent in! A great way to see what agents might be thinking/feeling about different approaches to the oh-so-important First Page!

How to Hook Readers with the First Chapter
Advice from YA author Beth Revis

Miss Snark's First Victim
A place for aspiring writers to send in first pages and samples to be commented on by the rest of the community ... so sort of an impromptu and open crit group. Not as easy to see the critiques as the "First Page Shooters" but can be helpful.

Writers Digest || DeviantArt || Why Prologues Don't Work || Carly Watters ||

Slow beginnings, fancy writing, what's the point?, where's the tension? ... Janice hardy has a great post on how to remedy these problems!

Eight ways to write a five-star chapter one.

Do your first pages need help? Need opinions beyond your betas and CPs? Here are some great places to get feedback:

Agent Pet Peeves III  || Writer's Digest 5 Star Chapter 1 || First Chapter Mistakes || Jody Hedlund's Potential 1st Chapter Problems ||  Valerie Kemp - First Chapter || Hilari Bell - What You Should and Shouldn't do ||  Beth Revis - How to Hook Readers ||  Pub Rants - Why Prologues Often Don't Work || Seven Deadly Sins of Prologues ||  Got Prologue? Why readers skip it, editors hate it and writers need it || First Five Frenzy - What Agents Want to See in the First 5 Pages || The Perfect First Page ||

The Plot Whisperer

Four Novel Structures|| Eight-Point-Arc ||Keep Your Book From Falling Down || Narrative Building Blocks Graph || Dramatic Structure ||

Developing Plot  ||Janice Hardy - Baby You Can Drive my Plot || 8 Steps to Plot Outline || The Snowflake Method ||

Janice Hardy provides some great tips and tricks for mapping out and/or re-checking your novel to make sure there is (a) enough plot/intrigue and (b) the only lingering breadcrumbs are the ones you wanted to leave for a sequel.

Character Development 

Janice Hardy: Developing Characters
A great site, with lots of articles on characterization. See especially proactive protagonists, flat characters, character arcs, and hello is your protag home?

Real Psychology

Twenty Questions to Ask Floundering Characters
I like this one because the questions are a bit out of the ordinary. You can ask your characters boring questions, but interesting questions provide more insight!
Character Worksheet II || Main Character Worksheet || Character Template (including Jung/Myers-Briggs)

Seven Ways to Develop Compelling Characters

Characterization: Gail Gaymer Martin

Character Development

This isn't so much about character development as helping you out of writer's block when you're looking for the word to describe a character's reaction.

Developing Characters || Relateable Characters || The Basics of Memorable Characters || Inside Inner Conflict ||

How Many Is Too Many?

Being a Girl Writing as a Boy 

Five ways to liven up your descriptions.


Writer Unboxed: Cliffhanger or Accumulated Tension || Tara McClendon: Cliffhangers, Yes! || Tips for the Cliffhanger Chapter Ending || Magical Worlds - Transitions and Chapter Breaks || Example Chapter Ending Ideas || Chapter Endings || Writers Digest - 3 ways to know when to end your chapter || Flogging the Quill - Chapter Endings || Nail Your Novel - Chapter Endings || Make the Most of your Chapter Endings - Writability ||

Beth Hill - Dual Duties of Chapter Endings || Kidlit - How to Button a Chapter ||

Spit and Shine ||  Cutting Down the Pleonasms  ||  Autocritter catches  || Overused words || Overused Words in Novel Writing ||  10 Overused Words || Five words you can cut || Words to Avoid || Word Usage & Abusage (LOOONG LIST)

Like, As: Overusing Similes

Tightening and trimming

Pro-Writing Aid -- Free Online Editing Program
Editing is soo much easier with this super-fab and free online editing software!
Overused words, sticky sentences, cliches, redundancies, repeated words, vague words etc. YAY!

Big Mistake #3: Over-Writing
Other sites about overwriting and purple prose:

Expletive Sentences: Where is There?

10 Writing Tighteners ||

Renaissance Learning Book Finder -- How Long is that other book?

Formatting your Manuscript

Three Important Tips ||

Blogs & Social Networking

Cat Clarke || Lia Keyes || Maggie Stiefvater || Bonnie Dobkin || 
R.J. Anderson || Allison Pang || Claudia Gray || Leigh Fallon ||
Tara Hudson || Aaron Starmer || Teri Hall || Amy Krouse Rosenthal ||
Erin Bowman || Ruth Lauren Steven ||

Danica Page || Angela Parkhurst || Krista Ashe || Rebecca Rogers || Nina || 

How-To Create an Author Blog
Author Website: What to include || Website Content || What's your Blog Identity? ||

General Blogging Tips
Tentblogger || Problogger ||Copyblogger ||

8 Things Writers Should Know || How Authors Can Effectively Use Goodreads ||

General Advice

Advice from Published Authors:
Holly Black  ||  Maggie Stiefvater ||  Cassandra Clare || Janice Hardy || Beth Revis
YA Highway ||

Advice from Agents:
Miss Snark ||  Miss Snark's First Victim || Rejecter || What Agents Hate || Slushpile Tales ||
Agent Intern Advice - Why I Stop Reading ||

Best Blogs for Writers:
Top 10 of 2011-2012  || First Time Authors || Write to Done || The Bookshelf Muse

Other Resources:

Golden Lines

Formatting your Manuscript


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