Friday, March 14, 2014

Resources for Writers

by Patti Buff

Part of being a writer is being in touch with the world. And today that means “The Internet”. Play scary music here. But don’t worry, Techno Junkie Patti is here to help. I’ve compiled a list of blogs, websites, and podcasts that will hopefully serve as a good starting point. Don’t go thinking you need to subscribe to all of these. In fact, don’t. Try a few of them on for size, see if they fit and if they do – great! If they don’t – toss ‘em and go try something else. The beauty of the internet is the wide range of sizes, tastes and – ahem - respectability out there.

Is this a complete list? Not by a long shot. I do have to separate myself from my computer to sleep, you know. That said, if you know a blog that you find particularly helpful, feel free to add it in the comments below.

Warning: These are all YA focused blogs. I apologize to all our Illustrators and Picture Book / Early Reader writers out there for that. This is due to my ignorance in those fields. So, who’s going to write a similar blog post on those areas? Any takers? Anyone?

Disclosure: The below rating system is mine and mine alone. Do you have to feel the same way about these blogs as I do? Um, until we officially live in Buffistan --no.


Three stars or CONGRATULATION ON EMERGING FROM UNDERNEATH YOUR ROCK. NOW GET OVER TO THIS SITE AND SUBSCRIBE IMMEDIATELY!!!

*** Fiction University, formerly known as The Other Side of the Story http://blog.janicehardy.com

Janice’s blog is one of the best I’ve come across. This MG author has a goldmine of advice, examples and even offers critiques. And with this new University approach, she’s added a wide range of publishing faculty to help keep her audience informed.

*** Writing and Illustrating http://kathytemean.wordpress.com

Former SCBWI RA Kathy Temean has a good grip on the pulse of publishing. And she hosts a monthly critique with a publishing professional.

*** Writer Unboxed http://writerunboxed.com

These people are passionate about writing. And helping writers. In their ranks are Donald Maass, Lisa Cron, Dave King, and Robin LaFevers.

*** Adventures in YA Publishing http://childrenspublishing.blogspot.de

Their subtitle: Young Adult Fiction, YA Book Giveaways, Advice from Young Adult Authors, Plus Writing Tips, Publishing Information, and Insider Tidbits says it all.

*** Writers Helping Writers http://writershelpingwriters.net

Not only did authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi write The Emotion Thesaurus, but they’ve also written Thesauruses (Thesaurusi?) on setting, weather, character traits, and symbols.

*** Shelf Awareness http://www.shelf-awareness.com

This blog is mainly for booksellers, but that’s what we are in theory – only we want just want to sell our books. Great resource for books that are hyped and your next read.

*** Editor Torrent http://edittorrent.blogspot.de

Written by two editors, this website offers great advice on grammar, punctuation and writing how to’s.

*** Publisher’s Weekly. There are two links for this one. First is the Children’s section: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/index.html and second is the main page: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/home/index.html

It’s Publisher’s Weekly. Enough said.

*** Query Shark http://queryshark.blogspot.de/

Before you write one word of your query, go here and read through the posts. ALL OF THEM. Believe me, it is well worth your time. You’re Welcome.

*** The Official SCBWI Blog http://scbwi.blogspot.de/

Duh. Great source for publishing and SCBWI news.

*** Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents

Don’t even think of looking for an agent without checking out this blog first. Great interviews and up-to-date list of agents’ wish lists.


Two stars or YOUR PASTY COLORING IS STARTING TO TURN BROWN FROM ALL THE EXPOSURE. HERE ARE A FEW SITES GOOD FOR SOAKING IN ON A REGULAR BASIS.

** Sub It Club http://subitclub.wordpress.com

This club is great for those going through the pains of submission. Lots of picture book writers here, probably due to SCBWI France’s Assistant Regional Advisor Dana Carey being one of the founding members.

** Helping Writers Become Authors http://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com

K.M. Weiland is a fantasy writer with lots of awesome tips on how to improve your writing. She also has a few craft books out now.

** Operation Awesome http://operationawesome6.blogspot.de

These writers offer advice, wisdom and a monthly contest with a mystery agent or editor.

** Cockeyed Caravan http://cockeyedcaravan.blogspot.de/

This blog is actually a screenwriting blog, but it has a thorough checklist of elements of successful stories. As well as an impressive backlog of deconstruction of screenplays.

** Kidlit http://kidlit.com/

Mary Kole, author of Writing Irresistible Kidlit (also a must read), shares her knowledge from her six years of being a literary agent.

** Jody Hedlund http://jodyhedlund.com/

Author Jody Hedlund is extremely generous with her knowledge and offers great advice and examples on how to improve our writing.

** Literary Rambles http://www.literaryrambles.com/

Featuring agent and writing duo Casey McCormick and Natalie Aguirre, this blog is a goldmine on agent spotlights, new authors and book giveaways. I love book giveaways!

** Pub Rants http://nelsonagency.com/pub-rants/

The blog of agents-extraordinaire Kristin Nelson and Sara Megibow gives us insight into the nitty-gritty (focus on the gritty) life of a literary agent. They also offer webinars for writers a few times a year.

** YA Confidential http://yaconfidential.blogspot.de/

Don’t have any teens in your life? Wondering what they think and why? This is a good resource for all things teen.

** YA Highway http://www.yahighway.com/

Interviews with agents, editors, authors. They even have a section of successful queries with comments from the author and agent. Plus a thorough round-up of the publishing world every Friday.

** Notes from the Slushpile http://www.notesfromtheslushpile.com

A British blog for once. Loads of info from really nice authors.

** Writers in the Storm http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com

Lots of info in short, easy to read format.

** The Funnily Enough http://www.scoop.it/t/the-funnily-enough

This “blog” scoops up articles from all over the web for you to read at your convenience. Blogger Mooderino finds them so you don’t have to.

** Pub(lishing) Crawl http://www.publishingcrawl.com

This blogging team made up of authors, publishing-industry people and agents has great tips for pre-published and published authors.

** A. Victoria Mixon http://victoriamixon.com

A renown editor has a blog. You should read it.

** Confessions of a Wandering Heart http://confessionsofawanderingheart.blogspot.de

Blog of agent Suzie Townsend. Any author would be honored to have her on their team.

Lisha Cauthen’s Kidlit Scoop http://lishacauthen.wordpress.com/kidlit-scoop/

This is actually a weekly newsletter that is so chock full of info and humor that receiving it has quickly become a highlight of my week.


One star or YOU’VE GOT A GREAT TAN AND YOU’RE LOOKING GOOD. DON’T NEED MUCH EXPOSURE FROM THESE SITES, ONLY WHEN YOU ARE IN THE MOOD. OR SUFFERING FROM WRITER’S BLOCK. OR PROCRASTINATING. OR....

* Steven Pressfield http://www.stevenpressfield.com

This man wrote a book (The War of Art) that saved my creative life. Enough said.

* Miss Snark’s First Victim http://misssnarksfirstvictim.blogspot.de

Written by the anonymous Authoress, she sponsors two of the most respected writing contests on the internet; the Secret Agent Contest and Baker’s Dozen Agent Auction. Even though I never participate, I like to see what types of stories and pitches are successful.

* Query Tracker http://querytracker.net/index.php

This isn’t a blog, but a website that helps keep track of agents you’ve queried and their response times.

* Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com

Ok, this doesn’t help writers per se, but it is a great resource for finding your next read. Add some books to your bookshelf, rate them and watch the recommendations pour in. And, since you’re there, join our Goodreads group (https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/76704-scbwi-germany-austria) and participate in our group reads. It’s like a book club, only online.


Podcasts. I only know of two.

Writing Excuses http://www.writingexcuses.com

Co-hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowel and Howard Tayler, this weekly podcasts tries very hard to remain under 20 minutes long. And now in their ninth season, they have a backlog of podcasts on every conceivable subject out there.

The Narrative Breakdown http://www.narrativebreakdown.com

These usually run an hour long, but are sometimes co-hosted by Scholastic editor Cheryl B. Klein, who also has an excellent book on writing called Second Sight.


3 comments:

  1. Wow! Great list, Patti! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for this great list Patti. A great blog for picture book writers is Picture Book Den - http://picturebookden.blogspot.de

    It's written by a group of picture book writers from the UK, several SCBWIers too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you Dana and Catherine. Sorry about the delay in responding - forgot to set up the notification on this blogpost. Ah, the things experience teaches us.

    ReplyDelete