Spellchecker.org analyses your grammar, word usage and spelling. Try it to see if it helps your writing.
The following is a list recommended resources for aspiring writers, including books, periodicals and Web sites. The list was compiled with assistance from Booklist, American Libraries, Library Journal, the ALA Library, ALA Public Programs Office, and Susan Brynteson, Director of Libraries for the University of Delaware, a member of the board of Yaddo. The list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather a starting point for new writers. For speech writing, check out the Fripp Co. articles.
To look for other resources in the library catalog, here are some suggested subject headings:
The Creative Process
*Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. By Anne Lamott. 1995. 239p. Anchor: Doubleday, paperback, $12.95 (0-38548-001-6). Funny and philosophical, Lamott gives advice on being a writer while sharing the feelings and experiences she’s had being one herself.
Deep Writing: 7 Principles That Bring Ideas to Life. By Eric Maisel. 1999. 158p. Putnam, $12.95 (0-874-77947-2). Offering advice on working through psychological difficulties that can hinder your writing, this is one of many books by "Creativity Coach" Maisel, holder of a master’s degree in creative writing and a doctorate in counseling psychology.
Honk If You’re a Writer: Unabashed Advice, Undiluted Experience, and Unadulterated Inspiration for Writers and Writers-To-Be. By Arthur Plotnik. 1992. 286p. Simon & Schuster (0-671-77813-7). An often-humorous first-person account of the writing life. (Out of print, but worth finding.)
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. By Stephen King. 2001. 288p. Pocket Books, paperback, $14.95 (0-671-02425-6). An insightful look into the career of writing from one of the most well known authors in the USA. (North Attleboro owns on tape; hardback is in system)
The Vein of Gold: A Journey to Your Creative Heart. By Julia Cameron. 1997. 368p. Tarcher: Putnam, $15.95 (0-87477-879-4). Cameron, author of the popular The Artist’s Way, guides the reader through the Kingdoms of Story, Sight, Sound, Attitude, etc., and assigns tasks to perform while visiting each one. She emphasizes the spiritual aspects of creativity.
The Writer’s Idea Book: How to Develop Great Ideas for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Screenplays. By Jack Heffron. 2000. 262p. Writer’s Digest Books, $18.99 (0-89879-873-6). Offers dozens of exercises to develop writing skills.
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. By Natalie Goldberg. 1986. 171p. Shambhala, paperback, $12.95 (0-87773-375-9). Applies certain Zen meditation philosophies in teaching the craft of writing. 808.02 G
Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity Expanded. 3rd ed. By Ray Bradbury. 1994. 176p. Joshua Odell Editions, paperback, $12.95 (1-87774-109-4). Humorous essays extolling the joys of writing from the popular science fiction author.
The Art of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives. Reissue ed. By Lajos Egri. 1977. 305p. Simon & Schuster, paperback, $12 (0-67121-332-6). Perennial favorite for developing skills in playwriting, and TV and film screenwriting.
*The Complete Book of Scriptwriting. Rev. ed. By J. Michael Straczynski. 1996. 424p. Writer’s Digest, $22.99 (0-89879-512-5). Down-to-earth, honest, and conversational, this encyclopedic exploration of writing scripts for TV, motion pictures, animation, radio, and the stage includes examples of actual scripts formatted for each medium.
Creating Characters: How to Build Story People. By Dwight Swain. 1994. 192p. Writer’s Digest, paperback, $14.99 (0-89879-662-8). In this invaluable tool, Swain uses hundreds of examples to explain how to find exactly the right characters and bring them to life.
The Elements of Technical Writing (Elements of Composition Series). 2nd ed. By Thomas E. Pearsall. 2000. 180p. Allyn and Bacon, paperback, $17.80 (0-20531-873-8). Points out seven principles of technical writing as well as the various formats.
*Goal, Motivation, and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction. By Debra Dixon. 1996. 164p. Gryphon Books for Writers, $18.95 (0-96543-710-8). Conversational and down-to-earth, this book takes the mystery out of goal, motivation, and conflict—the three things that, if not done well, will most likely get a manuscript rejected.
*Handbook for Technical Writing. By James H. Shelton. 1996. 204p. NTC Business Books, paperback, $18.95 (0-84423-274-2). This excellent tool for technical and management writers offers a step-by-step format for several kinds of technical writing.
*How to Write a Children’s Book and Get It Published. Rev. ed. By Barbara Seuling.1991. 214p. Scribner Reference, paperback, $14.95 (0-68419-343-4). Here are five essential steps (from researching the current marketplace to submitting your manuscript) to publishing works for children.
*How to Write Attention-Grabbing Query & Cover Letters. By John Wood. 2000. 208p. Writer’s Digest, paperback, $14.99 (1-58297-023-8). This excellent, focused book tells writers exactly how to word their letters, queries, and proposals. Dynamite examples and an insider’s knowledge of publishing are a bonus.
How to Write Poetry. 2nd ed. By Nancy Bogen. 1994. 150p. Prentice Hall, paperback, $8 (0-67189-567-2). This little gem focuses on the techniques involved in writing poetry, including a look at the styles and major forms of English verse.
*How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy. By Orson Scott Card. 2001. 140p. Writer’s Digest, paperback, $12.99 (1-58297-103-X). Update to the 1990 edition, in which Hugo and Nebula Award winner Card gave writers the details needed to build, populate, and dramatize their own credible and inviting worlds.
Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir. Rev. and expanded edition. Ed. by William Zinsser. 1998. 224p. Mariner Books, paperback, $13 (0-39590-150-2). Compilation of pointers and advice from authors who have published memoirs, including Angela’s Ashes author Frank McCourt.
On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction. By William Zinsser. 25th Anniversary Ed. 2001. 308p. Harper Resource, paperback, $14 (0-06000-664-1). Longtime primer on developing writing technique.
*Techniques of the Selling Writer. By Dwight Swain. 1981. 330p. Univ. of Oklahoma, paperback, $17.95 (0-80611-191-7). Often called "the bible of fiction writing," this classic is dated slightly by references to such things as "carbon copies." But Swain’s tried-and-true scene-and-sequel approach has generated many books and workshops.
*Writing from Personal Experience: How to Turn Your Life into Saleable Prose. By Nancy Davidoff Kelton. 2000. 208p. Writer’s Digest, paperback, $12.99 (0-89879-972-4). Kelton’s 39 self-contained chapters offer ideas on how to turn personal experiences into marketable stories.
Writing and Selling Your Novel. Rev. ed. By Jack Bickham. 1996. 214p. Writer’s Digest, $17.99 (0-89879-788-8). This revised and expanded version of Bickham’s 1989 work covers professional attitudes and habits; discusses viewpoint, setting, dialog, characters, and scene/sequel; and touches briefly on revision techniques and getting your manuscript sold.
*Writing Mysteries: A Handbook by the Mystery Writers of America. 2nd ed. Ed. by Sue Grafton. 2002. 256p. Writer’s Digest, $16.99 (1-58297-102-1). Update to the 1992 edition, which covered everything from basic rules to creating the setting. Top Mystery authors discuss the ins and outs of writing detective fiction.
*Writing Romances: A Handbook by the Romance Writers of America. Ed. by Rita Gallagher and others. 1997. 209p. Writer’s Digest, $18.99 (0-89879-756-X). A good, solid collection of articles by best-selling romance authors, this work covers the business and craft of writing a romance and the requirements of writing for each subgenre.
*Writing Screenplays That Sell. Rev. ed. By Michael Hauge. 1991. 325p. HarperPerennial: HarperCollins, paperback, $17 (0-06272-500-9). Detailed and easy to follow, this book uses well-known screenplays—including The Karate Kid, which receives an extensive evaluation – to explain the art of screenwriting. Checklists take the reader from developing a story concept through making a deal for the screenplay.
Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books. By Uri Shulevitz. 1997. 271p. Watson-Guptill, paperback, $29.95 (0-82305-935-9). With heavy emphasis on illustration, this detailed book guides aspiring authors/illustrators through telling the story and drawing the pictures to preparing the artwork for the printer.
Writing ProgramsThe Associated Writing Programs Web site. Founded in 1967, AWP supported writers and writing programs worldwide. According to the organization, its supports more than 21,000 writers at over 320 member colleges and universities, as well as 60 writers' conferences and centers. http://awpwriter.org/ WritersOnlineWorkshops.com. Presented by Writer’s Digest, this site offers online instruction in the following categories: Fiction, Business of Writing, Grammar, Composition, Poetry, Life Stories and Non-Fiction. Coursework developed by professional, published writers. Courses are self-paced and run typically 6 to 14 weeks.
Marketing and Getting Published
1001 Ways to Market Your Books: For Authors & Publishers. 5th ed. By John Kremer. 2001. 704p. Open Horizons, paperback, $27.95 (0-91241-148-1). Update to 1993 edition, which provided a collection of ideas and examples to draw on in designing a marketing campaign of one’s own—the straw that savvy writers can spin into marketing gold. Hints range from selling to the library market to acquiring subsidiary rights.
Guide to Literary Agents. Ed. by Rachel Vater. 2001. 394p. Writer’s Digest, paperback, $22.99 (1-58297-075-0). Annual publication; an invaluable tool for writers in search of an agent. This guide is indexed by agency, agent, format, subject, and geographic location. Submission procedures, fees, contracts and what to ask a prospective agent are covered. Mostly reference.
Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market: 2,000+ Places to Publish Your Fiction. Ed. by Anne Bowling. 2001. 682p. Writer’s Digest, paperback, $24.95 (1-58297-073-4). Offers overview of markets as well as essays of advice from working writers.
*2002 Writer's Market: 8,000 Editors Who Buy What You Write. Ed. by Kirsten Holm. 2001. 1112p. Writer’s Digest, paperback, $29.99 (1-58297-044-0). This annual listing of agents, magazines and publishers is perhaps the best-known general guide to getting published. Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market is similar, but takes a more targeted approach. 070.52 and Reference
Be Your Own Literary Agent: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Getting Published. 3rd ed. By Martin P. Levin. 2002. 240 pages. Ten Speed Press, paperback, $15.95 (1-58008-338-2). Update to 1996 edition, which, although not a step-by-step approach, this compact volume nevertheless walks the writer through all aspects of self-representation.
Christian Writer’s Market Guide 2002: The Reference Tool for the Christian Writer. By Sally E. Stuart. 2002. 624p. Harold Shaw, paperback, $24.99 (0-87788-190-1). Annual publication; directs writers to more than 1,200 potential markets. Usually reference.
Complete Guide to Literary Contests 2001. 2000. 825p. Prometheus, paperback, $30 (1-57392-850-X). Provides information, including criteria, deadlines, entry forms and applications, and contacts, for nearly every open literary contest in the U.S., from small competitions to the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award.
Electronic Publishing: EPIC, the Electronically Published Internet Connection, is a professional organization for published and contracted e-book and print authors. It was established to provide a strong voice for electronic publishing.
Grants and Awards Available to American Writers. 21st ed. Ed. by John Morrone and others. 2001. 382p. PEN American Center, $18 (0-934638-16-0). Lists more than 1,000 American and international grants, fellowships, and contests.
*How to Get Happily Published: A Complete and Candid Guide. 5th ed. By Judith Appelbaum. 1998. 380p. HarperPerennial: HarperCollins, paperback, $14 (0062735098). Update to the 1992 edition, this classic guide details the ins and outs of getting published—or self-published—from choosing a subject to targeting agents.
International Directory of Little Magazines and Small Presses, 2000–2001. 36th ed. Ed. by Len Fulton. 2000. 960p. Dustbooks, $34.95 (0-916685-78-0). This classic directory by one of the founders of the small-press movement lists more than 500 presses and journals. Reference.
*Literary Marketplace 2002: The Directory of the American Book Publishing Industry. 2v. 2001. Information Today, Inc., $299 (1-57387-134-6). The standard directory of U.S. publishers, agents, wholesalers, and more. Usually Reference.
Mastering the Business of Writing: A Leading Literary Agent Reveals the Secrets of Success. By Richard Curtis. 1996. 256p. Allworth, paperback, $18.95. Curtis gives unique insider information on book packagers, buyers for bookstore chains, agents, sales conferences, multibook deals, pay-out schedules, and other topics not covered in many other sources. A "Morals and Manners" section explores the ethics and etiquette of the publishing industry.Preditors & Editors. A publication described as "a guide to publishers and publishing services for serious writers," this resource is designed to provide writers with information and contacts for the purpose of seeking publication of their work. It includes alphabetical listing of a variety of resources including book publishers, conventions, literary organizations and traditional and online writer’s workshops among other topics. www.anotherrealm.com/preditors/
The Shortest Distance Between You and a Published Book. By Susan Page. 1997. 288p. Broadway, paperback, $14 (0-55306-177-1). Ranging from electing a fabulous title to dealing with the envy and joy involved in writing, this sharp book includes a time guideline that should help keep you on track.
*Writer's Guide to Book Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents, 2002-2003: Who They Are! What They Want! And How to Win Them Over! By Jeff Herman. 2001. 984p. Prima Publishing, paperback, $29.95 (0-76153-023-1). Annual publication; Herman provides detailed portraits of more than 100 agents plus tips on writing query letters and nonfiction book proposals, dealing with rejections, ghostwriting, and self-publishing. With an excellent glossary and sample author-agent and collaboration agreements.Writers Write. Billed as "your one-stop resource for information about books, writing and publishing," this site offers a variety of Web links on speciality writing, job listings, message boards, book publishers, writer’s organizations, writer’s conferences, author interviews, book reviews and more. www.writerswrite.com
WritersMarket.com. Online version of the longtime annual book publication, listing book publisher criteria and submission guidelines for various periodicals, both trade and consumer. Subscription site.
*The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing. 4th ed. By Tom and Marilyn Ross. 2002. 521p. Writer’s Digest, paperback, $19.99 (1-58297-091-2). Update to 1994 edition, which gave readers information to make informed choices when self-publishing, from coming up with a marketable subject to designing and producing a book to finding a means of distribution.
*The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, and Sell Your Own Book. 13th ed. By Dan Poynter. 2001. 432p. Para, paperback, $19.95 (1-56860-073-9). Updated from previous editions, in which self-publishing guru Poynter gives the basics for producing a commercially successful manuscript, taking the reader step-by-step through printing a book, determining its value, promoting and advertising, fulfilling orders, and coping with being published. There are appendixes on printers, professional organizations, and fulfillment warehouses.
Business and Legal
*Business and Legal Forms for Authors and Self-Publishers. 3rd ed. By Tad Crawford. 2000. 191p. Allworth, paperback, $22.95 (1-58115-039-3). Update to the 1996 edition, which contained a set of forms to tear out and one to keep for reference. This handy guide offers advice on how to negotiate and how to contact volunteer lawyers for the arts. It has been updated to cover electronic publishing. Also, this edition features the forms on an accompanying CD-ROM.
*The Copyright Guide: A Friendly Guide to Protecting and Profiting from Copyrights. 2nd ed. By Lee Wilson. 2000. 192p. Allworth, paperback, $19.95 (1-58115-067-9). Update to the 1996 edition, which provided a clear explanation of copyright law, including issues pertaining to the Internet. Wilson offers sample forms and agreements with instructions on how to use them.
Kirsch’s Guide to the Book Contract. By Jonathan Kirsch. 1999. Acrobat Books, This comprehensive source addresses the most current developments in electronic and multimedia publishing. Areas not covered in detail (e.g. trademarks and insurance) are treated in highlights.United States Copyright Office. Provides the latest developments in copyright law, along with information circulars explaining copyright basics, and downloadable forms for copyright registration of original works. http://www.loc.gov/copyright
American Society of Journalists and Authors. The site of the nation’s leading organization of independent non-fiction writers. www.asja.org
The Author’s Guild. The Author’s Guild describes itself as "the nation’s largest society of published authors" and "a leading advocate for fair compensation, free speech, and copyright protection." Besides information on the organization and its services, the Web site offers recent news, such as the Supreme Court decision on electronic rights. www.authorsguild.orgNational Writers Union. NWU is the trade union for freelance writers of all genres who work for American publishers or employers. It is comprised of 6,500 members in 17 local chapters. The organization is involved in grievance resolution, industry campaigns, contract advice, medical plans, member education, job banks, networking and social events. www.nwu.org Mystery Writers of America Inc. A nonprofit professional organization of mystery and crime writers in all categories: fiction, including adult novels, short stories, and YA and juvenile fiction; screenplays, staged plays, radio plays, and TV; and nonfiction, including fact crime and critical/biographical work. Membership includes editors, publishers, and other professionals in the mystery field. www.mysterywriters.org Romance Writers of America. A non-profit professional/educational association of romance writers and other industry professionals. www.rwanational.org Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. Organization of science fiction and fantasy writers, artists, editors and allied professionals. www.sfwa.org The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators acts as a network for the exchange of knowledge between writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators, booksellers and others involved with literature for young people. www.scbwi.org Writers Guild of America. Represents writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable and new media industries. Services include script registration. www.wga.org For writers east of the Mississippi, see www.wgae.org.
Creative Writing. List of Web sites compiled by the editors of Yahoo! Internet Directory.
http://dir.yahoo.com/Arts/Humanities/Literature/Creative_Writing/Poets & Writers Magazine. 1972–. Poets & Writers, Inc (0891-6136). $19.95/year. A source for creative writers, this magazine is published by Poets & Writers Inc. and includes essays on the literary life and interviews with contemporary writers of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as articles with practical applications for both emerging and established writers. It is self-described as providing "the most comprehensive listing of literary grants and awards, deadlines, and prizewinners available in print." http://www.pw.org/mag
*The Writer. 1887–. Kalmbach Publishing Co. (0043-9517). $39/year. Monthly magazine provides advice and guidelines for the aspiring and experienced writer. http://www.writermag.com*Writer’s Digest. 1920–. Writer’s Digest (0043-9525). $19.96/year. Monthly magazine provides tips and techniques for writers, as well as reports regularly on various writer’s markets. (North Attleboro keeps with Magazines)
Writersdigest.com. Writer’s Digest maintains a Web site that complements its print publishing program by offering market updates, a searchable database of submission guidelines, and more. A considerable amount of the content is free, but the nominal subscription fee of $2.99 per month or $29 per year puts market contact information, standard pay rates and submission guidelines, and a "submission tracker" within the reach of even the most starving artist. Writer’s Digest also produces a slew of how-to’s on everything from ways to build character and write dialogue to "the ABC’s of wounds and injuries" for crime and suspense novels to daily life during the Renaissance or the 1800s, for those who want to craft convincing historical fiction. The complete list of titles is available at www.writersdigest.com/catalog. Also check out their 101 Best sites.Writers Resources. An extensive list of writing information Web sites from the Open Directory Project, the largest human-edited directory on the Web. Compiled by the category editor, a freelance writer and columnist. http://dmoz.org/Arts/Writers_Resources Writing-World.com. By Moira Allen. 2001. Another commercial site, with articles, monthly columns, calls for submissions, and information on markets, freelancing, rights and contracts, author services, contests, and more. The fiction section offers advice on writing and marketing children’s literature, science fiction, horror, and romance. Articles are accompanied by author credentials. http://www.writing-world.com
Writer.Com This site offers forums, a newsletter, contest information, classifieds and more. The focus is on feedback, and it offers a free basic membership.