When starting out:
I never thought of becoming a writer and had no training besides what I had learned in my normal studies. So when I considered pursuing writing fiction, I was insecure about whether I needed formal classes. Stephen King’s simple advice of (and I’m paraphrasing), “All you need to be a good writer is read a lot and write a lot” really freed me to just write and get lost in the story. Even if you’re not a fan, learning about his process is very enlightening.
This is an online writing group I joined when I started writing in order to meet other writers. In this group, writers share a chapter or a short story for other members to critique. You earn points by critiquing so that you can post your own work. I learned so much about the craft by doing this and learned about other aspects of writing through the topics discussed on the forums.
So many writers share their struggles and advice, giving you the sense that you’re not alone. This is another way of making writer friends and finding critique partners.
I think it’s important to join groups based on your genre. Since I write Women’s Fiction, this is mine. For a small membership fee, I have so many resources at my disposal and have also met many great critique partners here.
Improving Your Craft:
I read this book while writing my second novel and it is such a revelation. Lisa Cron helps you go from the spark of an idea into a tangible plan. She focuses more on the inside story or the change the protagonist will go through – their misbelief and backstory – helping you dig deeper and form a plot that serves this change instead of the other way around.
This is a great tool that goes hand in hand with Story Genius. It helps outline your whole novel while keeping track not only of the external journey (the plot) but also the internal journey (the character arc or why everything happens). It can be used at every step of the process – before the first draft and after, to give you an overview of every scene and why it’s important.
A website shock-full of advice for writers at all stages. I especially love her series on Outlining, Plot Structure, Scene Structure, and Character Arcs. There’s even a Story Structure Database that analyzes the plot structure of movies.
This book is a great guide on how to show emotion in our writing through gestures, actions, and internal sensations.
This is a YouTube channel designed for screenwriters but the topics covered can help writers of all backgrounds. His analyses go in-depth into the art of storytelling, discussing plot structure, character arcs, and themes, among others.
When You’re Ready to Revise:
A comprehensive guide on everything to look out for when revising, from major edits (character, plot, stakes) to micro edits (voice, POV, show and tell, etc.) to final line edits. The author explains the basics on each element, how to find it, and how to fix it.
Query Shark: Find out how to write a great query letter.
Manuscript Wishlist: Find agents to query.
Query Tracker: Keep track of your queries.
Publishing and Marketing:
Your Writer Platform: Lots of tips and resources for defining your author brand and building a social media presence.
Jane Friedman: Advice on publishing and the business side of writing.
The Creative Penn: Joanna Penn offers advice on writing, publishing, and marketing.