Writing Tools and Resources

writing tools resources

Writing Tools and Resources

Writing Tools and Resources
Here are some of the tools and resources I use. I hope they will help you as much as they have helped me. The list is ever expanding as I am still a student and would like to stay that way. So come back and check the actual page every now and then —Writing Tools and Resources page can be found on the main menu which is on top of every page.

Scrivener is a word processor and outliner which helps you outline and structure your ideas, organise notes, research and create characters, settings and build worlds. It is the ultimate writing software which I have been using for some time now and highly recommend.

Evernote is where I take notes, save my research, capture ideas, plan holidays, keep my recipes, course notes, my clippings from eBooks and so much more.

Wunderlist is an online to-do list application. Smartphone friendly therefore your lists go to the supermarket with you.

Penzu is a personal online journal with military grade security.


Books

On Writing by Stephen King
In this part memoir, part writing book, Stephen King pains a real picture for anyone who wants to write, equips them with all the tools and you may learn things like “adverb is not your friend.”

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
I’m not a huge fan of Lamott’s books about her faith or grandchildren but I enjoyed her unique approach to writing in Bird by Bird and “shitty first draft” is not the only thing I took from this book.

Natalie Goldberg’s Books
Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg

You’re a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins
This book is full of practical tips and inspiration. Jeff Goins knows how to convince you that you actually are a writer and prepares you for the road ahead.

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
An ultimate book on creativity. With The Artist’s Way, you learn how to write your morning pages.

No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty
Chris Baty is the founder of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and this book is an absolute must if you ever want to be a part of NaNoWriMo.

K. M. Weiland’s Books on Outlining and Structure
When it comes to outlining and structure, Katie of K. M. Weiland is your person. I have all four in both formats: eBook and paperback. As you can see, there are accompanying workbooks too which are incredibly valuable and they get you started immediately.
Outlining Your Novel by K. M. Weiland
Outlining Your Novel Workbook by K. M. Weiland
Structuring Your Novel by K. M. Weiland
Structuring Your Novel Workbook by K. M. Weiland

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
This is another good book on structure. James Scott Bell puts it out there with great examples and some extras too. I highly recommend this one.

Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi Reference Books
I believe every writer should have these in their library. These books help you create fresh, compelling and captivating characters.
The Negative Trait Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
The Positive Trait Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
Emotion Amplifiers by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi (A companion to The Emotion Thesaurus)


Food Writing
As you may know, I am a published food writer so I thought I’d add a little list of books on food writing as well.
Will Write for Food by Diane Jacob
The Recipe Writer’s Handbook by Barbara Gibbs Ostmann and Jane L. Baker
The Resource Guide for Food Writers by Gary Allen, published by The Culinary Institute of America.


Writing Blogs to Follow
Helping Writers Become Authors by K. M. Weiland
The Creative Penn by Joanna Penn
Positive Writer by Bryan Hutchinson
Live Write Thrive by C. S. Lakin
Writers Helping Writers by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi
Goins, Writer by Jeff Goins

The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club

The Maeve Binchy Writers' Club

The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club

Maeve Binchy’s Evening Class was the first book I have ever read in English. I was so proud of myself for reading a big book in English and enjoying it, too. This one, however, is a guidebook on writing and it has been one of the most approachable ones for me. It is inspired by a course run by The National College of Ireland. The advice in it comes not only from Maeve Binchy herself but also from other writers, editors and publishers. Here’s the list of these experts: Marian Keyes, Alison Walsh, Norah Casey, Paula Campbell, Ivy Bannister, Seamus Hosey, Gerald Dawe, Jim Culleton, Ferdia McAnna and Julie Parsons.

The Maeve Binchy Writers’ Club is written with charm, humour and generosity. It warms your heart only Maeve Binchy can do. She basically shows us how authors write and covers topics from finding a subject and creating good writing habits to sustaining progress and seeking a publisher. It doesn’t matter if you want to write plays, short stories or mysteries, there is something in it for every one.

At the end of the book, there is an appendix full of suggested further reading, a selection of writing competitions and awards as well as websites and literary journals.

“The most important thing to realize is that everyone is capable of telling a story.” –Maeve Binchy

On Writing by Stephen King

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On Writing by Stephen King

I have a confession to make: I have never ever read any of Stephen King’s books. I remember making an attempt to Misery in English but I dropped it after a few pages  as my English wasn’t good enough at the time. On Writing, however, was recommended by a trustworthy source for writers. I’m glad I took that advice.

Although I have pages of detailed notes from this book on my computer, what you see below somehow made its way up here. Here’s some of the highlights:

Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally  from nowhere, sail at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these  ideas but to recognize them when they show up.

When you’re still too young to shave, optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.

Writers were blessed stenographers taking divine dictation.

In the Durham of my childhood, life wore little or any makeup.

I stood there in the doorway, casting the same shadow as always, but I couldn’t talk.

Finally I gave up and asked the guy behind the counter (the same bald, bored-looking, gray-coated guy who has, I’m convinced, sold alcohol virgins their first bottle since the dawn of commerce) what was cheap.

Silence isn’t what that part is about. It began to scream for help in the only way it knew how, through my fiction and through my monsters.

It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.

The adverb is not your friend.

Fuhgeddaboudit!

Language does not always have to wear a tie and lace-up shoes.

Critics who try to rise above this intellectual hardening of the arteries usually meet with limited success.

Story is honorable and trustworthy; plot is shifty, and best kept under house arrest.

… it’s the story undressed, standing up in nothing but its socks and undershorts.

The scariest moment is just before you start. After that things can only get better. Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates or making friends. In the end it is about enriching the lives of those who will read your work and enriching your own life as well. It’s about getting up, getting well and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy. Much of this book – perhaps too much – has been about how I learned to do it.

Much of it is about how you can do it better. The rest of it – and perhaps the best of it – is a permissionship. You can, you should and if you’re brave enough to start, you will. Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. So drink. Drink and be filled up.’