Writers spend a large amount of time creating characters, scenes, and researching historical events, contemporary happenings, and developing realistic settings. And after the work is done, there is the search for an agent, and after publication, the marketing of the book.
Below is a go-to list of some websites I have personally found to be invaluable in my writing journey.
1-2. Ever wondered what to name your characters? So much goes into the names – they have to “fit” the character in the author’s mind, have to be realistic and easy to pronounce. (Have you ever read a novel where you can’t pronounce the name?!) A couple of my favorite go-to sites for names are Baby Names (Social Security Administration), which includes rankings of popularity since 1880 (perfect for those of us who love to write historical and contemporary fiction) and Nameberry, which includes a handy-dandy search tool by beginning letter or by origin.
3. One of the hardest things to do in fiction writing is to give your characters effective and realistic flaws – ones that they can overcome. 123 Ideas for Character Flaws has a hodgepodge of flaws that you can give to your main and secondary characters.
4-5. Each week, helpful blog posts about the craft of writing can be found at The Steve Laube Agency. Rotating agents, including my awesome agent, Tamela Hancock Murray, deliver timely and informational insights into the writing world. Some recent posts include Book Proposal Basics – All About You and Using Someone Else’s Words (What is Fair Use?).
6. K.M. Weiland hosts an amazing amount of information on her website, Helping Writers Become Authors. Be prepared to spend serious time on this site because it offers advice on everything from How to Write Character Arcs to How to Structure Scenes; from Most Common Writing Mistakes to How to Outline your Novel.
7. An interesting site I came across recently is Grammar Girl. There is a host of fascinating posts, not only about grammar and its correct usage, but also Fascinating Words for Colors (and the Battle of Magenta) and a short post on the difference between sneaked and snuck.
8. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference is so much more than just information about preparing for a writer’s conference. Guest posts from a variety of authors, including one of my favorite suspense authors, DiAnn Mills, offer an array of constructive advice. Some recent posts sure to help the budding, as well as seasoned writer include How to Ask Your Characters the Hard Questions and Homonyms for Writers: Did you Sea/See There/Their Mistake? The latter even includes a chart of homonyms and a link for more extensive review.
9. A surefire way to become engrossed in the days of yesteryear is to take a visit to the Library of Congress Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers. Your research will take you to fascinating articles about all sorts of topics from newspapers dating back to 1789.
10. Maybe you need something to help get those creative juices flowing. Writing Prompts offers a diverse selection of story-starters to get you on your path to completing that word count goal.
Now it’s time to put the pen to the paper, or in our case of modern times, put the fingers to the keyboard and type the story your readers can’t wait to read!