The great thing about writing is how small the barrier to entry is. You pick up a pencil (or laptop or quill-feather pen, or whatever), write a bunch of words and boom. You’re a writer.
The internet is filled with horrific pornography and –
Wow, that sentence got away from me. Sorry. The internet is filled with many valuable resources for new writers. I’ve experimented with a bunch of them, and here’s my favorites.
#5. Writers Digest
This is “the” online stop for new writers. It’s a massive conglomerate of writing resources, all located in one handy place.
It has everything – tons of “how do” articles about writing, an extensive library of online “university” courses you can sign up for, publications about writing, conferences, you name it.
It’s slanted a bit more towards traditional publication, if that’s your thing, but it also provides some support for self-published. The site is massive and you could spend an entire day there, just going through the articles.
Scribophile is a wonderful online writing group for people to gather and share their writing. You earn Karma by critiquing other people’s work and once you have enough you can post your own.
I’ve been burned by writing groups before, and was initially a bit leery of the site. Much to my surprise, it’s fantastic. I’ve posted stuff and gotten legitimately insightful feedback. Sure, not ever critique is a masterwork, but the ratio of good critiques to bad is positive.
It’s an active community filled with nice and supportive people. A definite must for new writers.
I guess the theme is that writing tools are mashed potato scrambles of letters that make no sense. You’d think people developing these things would know better.
For the six of you reading this who don’t know what it is, it’s the writers alternative to Microsoft Word (or Macrosoft Wid, or whatever it’s called on a Mac). It’s designed to be a one-stop, all purpose writing software. I use about 4% of the functionality, and like it just fine.
If you’re a writer, I’m pretty sure it’s mandatory to do your writing on Scrivener.
#2. Reddit – r/writing
Reddit is primarily known for being that thing that older people don’t understand and occasionally getting into the news for being a site for horrific racists to gather
Having said that, it’s a massive community of like 40 million people, so there a lot of nice spots in there.
/r/writing is Reddit’s online writing community, similar to Scribophile, but without the formality. Still, it’s a wonderful place to go and get advice, critique support or just hang out and read about what other writers are dealing with. The users provide tons of great links, articles and writing tips. Similar to Writers Digest, you can spend a day there.
It’s also great because if you ever have a question, you can post it to the community and get (mostly) thoughtful and well-articulated answers.
#1. Pro Writing Aid
I’m sure some of you understand how grammar and comma’s work and wow, aren’t you something. La de da, Mr or Mrs English Teacher. How do you find time to write what with all your knowledge of how sentence structure actually works?
I’m not that person. I can barely string together a functioning sentence, let alone edit an entire book. Pro Writing Aid is a tool that does all of that for you. It’s friggin wonderful and I never would have completed the edits of my first book without it. It doesn’t completely replace a professional manuscript edit, but it comes pretty darn close.
You load your book into the tool (and it supports multiple formats, including Scrivener) and it will point out where you’re using the same word too often, grammatical errors, where your writing is too passive, flaws in your sentence structure.
It’s honestly invaluable and the best tool I’ve used since I started. I don’t consider anything completed until I’ve run it through Pro Writing Aid.
What else gang? Are there any other resources you’ve used? Let me know in the comments.