Tending My Craft: A List of Resources that Root My Writing

Many who know me know that I love talking and writing about writing just about as much as I enjoy writing my stories (sometimes more). I love to critique and I love to discuss critiques and provide resources that I’ve found valuable that I hope will give support and direction to other writers. So, here are a list of the resources that I often recommend because they’ve been irreplaceable in helping me in my development as a writer. And, because there’s no barrier to progress except ourselves (and maybe death… maybe…), I expect to keep adding to this list throughout my life. I hope you find it useful.

Writers of the Future Forum (forum.writersofthefuture.com): a fantastic bunch of writers who range from long-time pros to the very newest amateurs. The “forumites” have been a wonderful resource of firsthand knowledge, a variety of perspectives and approaches, and, most of all, they are incredibly positive and encouraging.

Content and Your Responsibility as a Writer. These two posts by writer Matt Dovey describe the responsibility of writers to carefully review and analyze the dogmas they perpetuate in their pieces: Hurt and Harm: An Apology and On Offence, Harm, and Near Misses. Mr. Dovey spotlights the issue perfectly at his own expense.

Critters Writers Workshop (critters.org): a critiquing system that enables readers from a spectrum of backgrounds, experiences, and abilities to see your work. In return, each week you critique a story available in a queue. Not only will this help your pieces, but it improves your craft as you note the mistakes and successes of others.

Dave Farland’s “Story Doctor” blog (mystorydoctor.com): a site where he posts almost all of his writing tips articles. He approaches topics in multiple articles, describing them in different ways, so it’s easier to grasp the concepts.

Dave Farland’s writing tips emails (subscribe through mystorydoctor.com): an assured weekly bit of writer’s craft even if you don’t have time to study .

Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, 2nd edition by Penguin Academics: a book on creative writing for fiction and nonfiction and an invaluable resource to the development of my personal style. There’s a 4th edition out now, but I’m not familiar with it.

Shadows Beneath by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowall, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells. This anthology not only provides four profession level stories but also the first drafts of these stories and the in-line edits that got them to the final drafts. It also includes the transcriptions of original group brainstorming and the group critiquing that spurred the edits. There’s also other articles on writing craft included. It’s a great look at the writing process of professionals and the value of a writing group.

Brandon Sanderson’s Creative Writing College Course Lectures on Youtube (youtube.com/playlist?list=PLH3mK1NZn9QqOSj3ObrP3xL8tEJQ12-vL). This is specifically angled toward novel writing for beginners. He explains a lot of terms, strategies, models, genres, business, etc… assuming he has a lot of new writers listening.

Writing Excuses (writingexcuses.com/category/season/season-10/) hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Taylor, and Dan Wells. This is more discussion based, but Season 10 takes listeners through a potential step-by-step for organizing and writing a novel. Each episode is only 15-20 minutes long and includes an exercise prompt and suggested reading. I find it useful because it’s not a huge time commitment. I can listen to an episode, spend a half-hour with a warm up exercise, and then the next hour working on my current project. It’s not very in-depth, but the discussions often bring up a term or issue I’m having and give me direction on where to turn for answers.

I will continue to add to this list as I find and/or remember additional resources.

Happy writing!

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