From Category: General Resources for Writers
Whether you're writing a real or parody 19th-century historical melodrama, or seeking some levity while studying English literature, this algorithm will make you smile, and possibly alert you to cliché tropes in your work. What happens when the Troubled Squire who is in Love with a Duke meets the Mysterious Governess with Homosexual Tendencies? Let your imagination run wild.
The website CouponChief compiled this list in 2020, with links to numerous free online mini-courses and full semester classes in business communications, creative writing, technical writing, and journalism. Sponsors include well-known universities like Yale, Wesleyan, MIT, and UC-Berkeley, as well as online workshop providers like Creative Writing Now and The Crafty Writer.
Based in Chicago, the American Writers Museum hosts exhibits and events to educate the public about great American writers, foster a love of literature, and mentor young writers. Their resources page features links to many reputable contests, book festivals, and literary societies.
Like Netflix for books, Booksfree allows customers to rent up to 15 books at a time, with no late fees, due dates, or shipping costs. Members can choose from more than 250,000 paperback titles or 36,000 audiobook titles.
This free, donation-supported website curated by Maria Popova collects links to the week's best articles on literature and culture. Sign up for their email newsletter to be notified when new pieces are posted.
Fiction writer and digital marketing expert Christopher Fielden's blog features a list of links to services, both free and paid, where you can get feedback on your writing.
Unique conference designed to set poets with a manuscript-in-process on a path towards publication. Led by award-winning poets Joan Houlihan and Fred Marchant. Includes meetings with editors from leading poetry presses such as Tupelo Press and BOA Editions. The conferences are held several times a year in Harvard, Mass., and Colrain, a town in Western Massachusetts. Visit the Concord Poetry Center website for news of upcoming readings, seminars, workshops and conferences.
This website aims to teach writers and readers how to give and receive constructive feedback, using short animated videos. They offer a contest to submit your own video script for their characters.
DailyLit was created for people who are so busy reading their email that they never manage to pick up a book. Subscribers can read books of their choice in serialized installments sent daily by email or RSS feed. They currently offer over 1,000 classic and contemporary books available entirely for free or on a pay-per-read basis (with sample installments available for free). The site also includes a discussion forum to share reviews and book lists.
Word-lovers will appreciate graphic designer and filmmaker John Koenig's list of words he's invented to express subtle, familiar, as-yet-unnamed feelings. Some are illustrated with video clips. What imaginative person hasn't experienced "onism: the frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time"? E-books have their merits, but they'll never evoke "vellichor: the strange wistfulness of used bookstores".
The website TransArtists posts listings of artist-in-residence programs from around the world. There are opportunities for writers, performers, visual artists, graphic designers, fashion and applied arts practitioners, and more. It is a project of DutchCulture, an Amsterdam-based center for international cooperation.
Independent small press Dzanc Books offers a very reasonably priced online mentoring program through which members can get critiques of their poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction from professionally published authors. Fees support Dzanc's creative writing programs for low-income youth. Dzanc Books also runs Black Lawrence Press, which sponsors several well-regarded literary contests annually.
Looking for a stylish, quirky gift for a literary friend? Award-winning poet and ceramics artist Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingde's online store features a wide selection of objets d'art with conversation-provoking lines like "A Good Poem Beats a Dollar Burger", "Chief of Your Own Conscience", "Dadaism Rules/Stinks", "Easter Bunny in Animal Soup", "Madder Than Plath", and "What Gender Performance". Available products include journals, glassware, aprons, totes, t-shirts, pencil cases, iPhone covers, MacBook sleeves, and fine art prints. See more products by Desmond at Lulu.
Created by Dejobaan Games, Elegy for a Dead World features three beautiful post-apocalyptic landscapes based on poems by Shelley, Keats, and Byron. Gamers explore and restore the world by completing writing challenges. In this positive review at Big Think, screenwriter Laurie Vazquez shares how the game helped her overcome writer's block.
The website Found Polaroids is a curated collection of over 6,000 anonymous photos from the past. Readers are invited to submit a short story (250-350 words) based on one of these images. Or use them as the seed of inspiration for your own writing projects.
"Grief is more a recovery process than a traditional 'healing' process. It is not something we get over, as much as it is a set of experiences and emotions that we learn to live with, as we live on in our own lives." Check website for monthly themes for submissions.
This humorous blog based in the UK showcases examples of terrible book cover design for fantasy and sci-fi novels. Come for the laughs, stay for the ideas about what to avoid when designing your own indie book cover.
Hedgebrook's motto is "Women Authoring Change". This retreat for women writers is located on Whidbey Island near Puget Sound, 35 miles from Seattle, WA. Each year, the retreat hosts about 40 women writers from all over the world for residencies of 2-6 weeks, at no cost to the writer.
Inked Voices connects writers who are looking to form small groups (5-15 members) for critiques or accountability in meeting deadlines such as NaNoWriMo. Their software facilitates sharing of drafts and mark-ups. Each group has its own private online workspace.
Founded in 2006 by writer/filmmaker Clay Stafford, the Killer Nashville Writers' Conference provides unique educational and networking opportunities for genre and non-genre writers whose work contains elements of mystery, thriller, or suspense. Held in Nashville, TN in August, this four-day event boasts 500+ participants annually. Three crime-writing honors (Claymore, Silver Falchion, and John Seigenthaler Legends) are awarded during the conference. Sponsor offers three need-based scholarship opportunities for writers who would like to attend the conference but can't afford to do so: the Lisa Jackson Scholarship, the Kris E. Calvin Scholarship, and the Jimmy Loftin Memorial Scholarship. Scholarship winners will receive funds toward conference registration, breakout sessions, writing critique sessions, and lodging.
Writing instructor, speaker, and memoirist Maralys Wills is the author of 12 books, including the writers' manual 'Damn the Rejections, Full Speed Ahead'. Visit her website and blog for writing advice and pithy anecdotes about juggling work and family life.
Tanya Pryputniewicz hosts this multi-authored blog that includes mentorship networking opportunities and articles on balancing motherhood and writing.
Jump-start that book you've been meaning to write, with this fun project that dares participants to write a 50,000-word novel between November 1 and November 30 each year. Read your fellow scribblers' work online, share ideas and encouragement in the forums, and write without looking back. NaNoWriMo's philosophy is "quantity over quality": what matters is that you overcome your fear of getting started.
Fiction writer Clarke offers helpful tips on plotting, pacing, revising, and other nuts-and-bolts aspects of creating a novel, in a series of 30 articles originally written for the online magazine NovelAdvice.
The Origami Poems Project features instructions for creating your own mini-collection of poetry that can fit on a single sheet of paper, to be folded origami-style into book form. Participants' books, with folding instructions, are available for free download from the website. The project was founded by Rhode Island poets Lynnie Gobeille, Jan Keough, and Barbara Schweitzer, who also distribute the featured books as free gifts at local libraries, coffee shops, art centers, and bookstores.
In response to the closure of public libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, artists Katie Garth and Tracy Honn created Quarantine Public Library, a free digital collection of mini-books by illustrators and writers. Books can be printed on one sheet of paper and folded into 8-page folios, similar to 'zines.
Queer in Color is a site to showcase fiction books featuring LGBTQ characters of color. The founders are romance writers but the site is open to all genres. They will add books to the website for free, and charge a small fee to promote them on social media.
The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative offers affordable online writing workshops taught by MacArthur Scholars, MFA professors, literary journal editors, and spoken-word performers. Workshop themes have included the art of revision, explorations of literary forms, emotion versus sentimentality, and poetry inspired by philosophy. "The rooster, like the poet, demands that we listen. The poet, like the rooster, urges everyone to wake up, bear witness, be alive."
The Seaside Writers Conference for poets, fiction writers, and screenwriters is held annually in May in Seaside, FL, an environmentally conscious planned community. Applications are due in February. It features a full week of intensive writing workshops, one-day seminars, school outreach programs, and social events, with well-known authors as headliners.
Brief articles by professional editor John Robert Marlow offer advice on spotting and fixing common problems with your novel, screenplay or nonfiction book. Topics include character names and the proper use of flashbacks and coincidences.
Launched in 2018, Serial Box is an app delivering specially-written novels in installments that take about 40 minutes to read. Rather than chopping up existing full-length works, Serial Box features fiction that was designed for the serial format, like episodes of a TV show. Their catalogue of diverse and best-selling authors includes Mary Robinette Kowal, Michael Swanwick, Malinda Lo, Barbara Samuel, Ellen Kushner, and Delia Sherman.
Standard Ebooks is a volunteer-run nonprofit that converts public domain literary classics to attractive, professionally formatted e-books that are compatible with the most popular e-reader platforms (iBooks, Kindle, and Kobo). If you don't see the book that you want, look for a plain text version at Project Gutenberg and contact Standard Ebooks for help converting it to their format.
StoryADay is a twice-yearly writing challenge where participants complete one short story per day in May and September. This website is the online hub for participants, offering inspiration and tips to keep the momentum going. The site includes an archive of prompts from past challenges, going back to May 2010.
Storymatic is a box of writing prompts that doubles as a party game. The box of 360 cards has a shape and layout similar to Trivial Pursuit clue cards, with each card featuring a short phrase for a character trait or situation. Pull random cards from each section to generate an impromptu storytelling session or ideas for writing a scene. Other products in this series inclue Storymatic Kids (simpler language and concepts for ages 5+) and Rememory, which can be used for memoir-writing or icebreaker conversations at a party or reunion.
Having trouble with your fictional characters' motivations? Wondering how to depict mental illness accurately? Jeannie Campbell, LMFT, will sit your imaginary friends down on the couch for a diagnosis.
Award-winning writers and filmmakers Ricky and Lia Friesem are compiling authentic dramatic anecdotes (1,500-3,000 words) from immigrants who chose to live in America. They hope to turn some of these stories into short films that will be shown in the movies and broadcast on TV. "We are looking for those special moments, encounters, surprises, experiences, disappointments, which vividly convey what it's like to be an immigrant in America. The good, the bad, the sad, the miraculous, the joyful—every anecdote is welcome as long as it's authentic and well told." See submission guidelines on website.
Novelist Peder Hill takes you inside the process of writing his novel-in-progress, 'Dreaming Underwater'. Brief articles give advice on the essentials of plotting, character development, and dialogue, while Hill's blog lets you observe the evolution of his book through writing and revision.
Fantasy novelist Danielle Ackley-McPhail's blog shares practical advice about structuring a story, marketing your work, and polishing your prose.
This group blog features reviews of short stories and story collections, plus essays on the form.
The Write Life, a writing resource site, compiles this annual list of their favorite websites in 10 categories: freelancing, inspiration, writing tools, blogging, creativity and craft, editing, podcasts, marketing and platform building, writing communities, and publishing.
The Writer's Hotel is the teaching and editorial arm of the literary journal, The New Guard. The Writer's Hotel hosts a writing conference in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry each June at a "floating campus" in Midtown Manhattan between three hotels with a literary history: The Library, The Algonquin, and The Bryant Park Hotel. The conference includes virtual pre-study with Editors Shanna McNair and Scott Wolven and on-site workshops, lectures, agent speed dating, literary events, and student readings in the city at KGB Bar Lit, The Bowery, and Book Culture. Via The Writer's Hotel, TWH editors also offer a year-long course called "Private Study", which functions much like a low-residency creative writing course.
Tweetspeak is a friendly online poetry community with a clean, sophisticated design. They offer a variety of features to help people engage with poetry, including writing prompts, book clubs, audio recordings, and craft essays.
This 2019 list from the literary website BookRiot links to high-quality online sources for free short fiction, including prestigious journals such as Granta, Guernica, Virginia Quarterly Review, and American Short Fiction, as well as leading sci-fi and fantasy sites like Tor.com and Lightspeed Magazine.
Online publisher and writers' resource site offers a selection of well-crafted short fiction and nonfiction by emerging and established writers, including the winners of Writecorner's $1,100 E.M. Koeppel Short Fiction Award. The P.L. Titus Scholarship of $500 is awarded to a student winner of this contest. Copies of novels, short fiction collections, poetry books, oral history works, and memoirs from established publishers will also be accepted for possible review on their site.
"First we’ll show you several ways to approach writer’s block / creative blocks. The next section will show you the kinds of traps that creative artists/writers get caught up in, and after that, the tools that we find most helpful to get the creative flow going again."
Basic advice on contest etiquette, record-keeping, proofreading, and making your submission look professional.
Zona Rosa began in Savannah, GA as a female empowerment writing workshop founded by award-winning Southern memoirist Rosemary Daniell. Chapters now exist across the country, with famous graduates including John Berendt ('Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil') and Cassandra King ('Those Same Sweet Girls'). Visit the website for a schedule of workshops and retreats, information on starting your own group, links to Daniell's books, and an excerpt from her new guide 'Secrets of the Zona Rosa: How Writing (and Sisterhood) Can Change Women's Lives'.