Once upon a time, I was a new military wife sitting up late at night hiding my writing from my husband because I was so embarrassed to admit to anyone that I thought I had a book in me. And now, *mumble mumble* years and manuscripts later, I want to give a shout-out to the people who have helped me along the way, even when they didn’t know it. (And perhaps provide a few resources for anyone who might be in that same spot I was in *mumble mumble* years ago.)
So today, I say a huge, hearty thank you to my best writing resource peeps. Including:
To the best of my knowledge, RWA the only national writing organization that accepts unpublished members, and they have amazing resources and classes and conferences to help new writers learn and improve the craft of writing. Also? I met my awesome critique partners (Kelsey Browning and Maria Geraci) through RWA.
2. Deb Dixon
The very first thing I learned about writing stories when I joined an online RWA chapter was that my hero and heroine each needed a goal, motivation, and conflict. I’ve never met Deb Dixon or taken her class, but she wrote a book (called Goal, Motivation, and Conflict) that was quoted frequently on my writer boards. It’s the foundation of everything I know about writing a story.
Laurie teaches writing classes at WriterUniv.com on topics such as fatal flaws and plotting via motivation. Her classes have taught me how to make a solid framework for the plots of my stories. (And her blurb class helped me hone and tighten my teasers and query pitches for my books too!)
Michael Hauge teaches screenwriting, but he also teaches classes and workshops on story structure and something he calls Character Identity to Essence. And he has a writing book (or eight) available as well. He has a way of explaining turning points and stages of a story that makes sense to me. I listen to the audio recordings of his workshops from the 2011 RWA conference when I’m on long road trips, and every time, I come away with something new to apply in my writing to make my books stronger.
6. Chuck Wendig
I’ve never met Chuck, but he runs a blog called Terrible Minds that is full of writerly goodness for writers in every stage of the writing game. From the actual writing to the business side of being an author and everything–and I mean everything–in between, Chuck covers it all in his unique, bearded, beautifully vulgar way. He’s smart, he’s generous, and he’s level-headed. He hides it behind strong language sometimes, but he’s a great resource.
7. Angela James
Angela is the editorial director for Carina Press, and she teaches a class called Before You Hit Send. I like to call it a line-editing short course, which means she teaches ways to clean your prose by eliminating unnecessary words, tightening phrases, and basically cleaning your manuscript so that when it lands on an agent’s or editor’s desk, they’ll be able to read the story rather than get distracted by misspellings or slow pacing. There’s more to line editing than what she teaches, but this is a great starting point for polishing a manuscript. Angela’s also very active on Twitter, where she provides a ton of other resources for writers.
8. Penny Andler
Penny is my copy editor, and I love her. When she gets my books, they’ve already been through content revisions, line edits, and my own spelling and grammar check (reading out loud is awesome for this). In theory, I’m handing her a clean manuscript. But Penny makes it shine. She finds everything that everyone before her missed. And she’s good. (My reviewers have noticed too!)
There have been several other classes and articles and books I’ve read along the way, but these are the people (and organization) I credit the most with helping me to grow as a writer (and reviser). And I hope in the next *mumble mumble* years, I find even more wonderful, generous writer-type peoples to connect with over the craft of writing.
So let’s hear from my fellow writers today – who are your favorite writing resources?