Here are online and print writing resources that I use regularly. I’ll be adding to the lists as I come upon other useful tools, so be sure to check this page often.
- Dictionary.com Word of the Day. See my post for ways to use this in your writing.
- Merriam-Webster: Dictionary from the best-known name in reference books.
- Roget’s Thesaurus: Old faithful.
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Great source for verifying locations, events, etc., for your stories.
- Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia: I use Wiki a lot for research, but only as a starting point. Check to see that what you use has a footnote to the original source–and check it. But did you hear about the BBC study that compared Wikipedia to Encyclopedia Britannica? You’ll be surprised.
- Grammar Girl. Mignon Fogarty is famous for her “quick and dirty” tips.
- Grammarist. An anonymous group of university-degree writers who supply quick answers to your questions about English grammar and usage.
- Daily Writing Tips. A great site packed with great tips.
- Grammarly.com’s Handbook. A free part of the site that gives explanations of grammar rules.
I have a hard copy of the dictionary and thesaurus, and I even have a family copy of Britannica (1963). There’s just something about holding a book in my hands and thumbing through the pages.
A book every writer should own
The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. The full text is online, but you should buy a hard copy to add to your writers’ book collection.
Start a best books for writers collection
If you’re looking to start or add to your collection, then read through my Best Books for Writers list, compiled from dozens of writers’ blogs that I visited. Listed below is the start of my collection. I’ll add a writers’ book to my list each time I find one that I like.
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.
- On Writing Well by William Zinsser
- Roget’s Thesaurus
- Webster’s New World Dictionary
- Publication Manual by the American Psychological Association (APA)
- Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark
- The Glamour of Grammar by Roy Peter Clark
- The Holy Bible, King James Version
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler
- Developing Story Ideas by Michael Rabiger
- If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland
- Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
- The Fiction Writer’s Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf
Resources for finding great books and stories
Bartleby: Publishes the classics of literature, nonfiction, and reference free of charge.
Project Gutenberg: A rich source of books that are in the public domain.
The Greatest Books: This site has “the greatest books” of all time, compiled from varied and reputable lists. The site sorts the books into decades, and if you register, you can keep track of the books you read. A great site.
Story of the Week: Every Monday The Library of America features a story (fiction, essay, poem, character sketch) from one of the hundreds of classic books of American literature.
Questia Online Library: 5,000 public domain books (plus other tools for a fee).
Goodreads. Goodreads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world.
Read my post about image gathering that features three easy ways to collect images for a website.
Morguefile.com. Photographs freely contributed by many artists to be used in creative projects by visitors to the site.
Getty Images. The world’s leader in professional images recently opened its collection for free use.
Know Your Writing Terms
A series of posts that help you understand literary terms. Here’s a list to links for each term.
Scrivener. I use and love this writing tool. From the website: “Scrivener won’t tell you how to write – it just makes all the tools you have scattered around your desk available in one application.” Read my post.
SmartEdit. From the website: “SmartEdit is a new, first-pass-editing tool for creative writers and novelists. It’s not a replacement for a human editor. Neither is it designed to do your editing for you. It was built to act as an aid—a helper for when you begin editing your work.” Read my post.
Social Media Sites
The big three: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. See my posts on social media that tell why writers should be plugged in to these sites.
Pinterest. See my post on how to use this fun, image-focused site for your writing life.
Every writer should be familiar with copyright laws. I’ve summarized the basics of the U.S. copyright law in two posts:
Book publishing contract
- Here’s an overview of the book publishing contract
- Here’s a list of key clauses to look for in a book publishing contract.
The internet’s most trusted database of literary agents. The site is a resource for writers who are looking to find agents, but check out the site even if you don’t have a finished work. Be prepared is my motto. Read my post about query letter basics.
My favorite novel
To Kill a Mockingbird is literary perfection, in my opinion. If you haven’t read this novel, I urge you to do so and then let me know what you think.
Do you have a resource that you think would be helpful to writers? Leave a comment that mentions it and I’ll take a look.