I wasn’t sure what to post today, so I’ve compiled a list of some writer’s resources I’ve personally found helpful and that I hope you will too. Writing is not a solitary effort, even though it seems like it is pretty much all of the time. The things mentioned in this list include writing communities, material to help you research your novel, plan your novel, promote your novel and more.
Baby Names Book/Sites Honestly, I find my baby names book one of my most helpful pieces of writing stuff. If you don’t have a baby names book, I would definitely recommend you buy one. In one comprehensive book, you will have access to thousands of names from hundreds of different cultures and time periods, along with their meanings and alternate spellings.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to buy a names book (or don’t have room for it on your bursting bookshelves), there are heaps of websites which will do the trick. Nameberry and Behind the Name are both good options.
Movie Soundtracks These are great resources for writing. Some people like to listen to songs as they type, but I find the lyrics distracting, so I prefer to listen to music without lyrics or movie soundtracks as I write.
The reason soundtracks are so great is simply this: they are designed to present emotion and make you feel a certain way. If you’re writing a tense, creepy scene in your novel, but are struggling to add emotion to the scene, try listening to some tense, creepy music. They also tend to blend into the background, so that after a while you don’t notice it (though it is still subtly affecting your mood) and you aren’t distracted by lyrics. I enjoy listening to The Lord of the Rings, How to Train your Dragon, The Flash and Sherlock soundtracks while I write.
(As a sidenote, there are apparently people who like to listen to other types of sound as they write. For those people there are sites like Rainy Mood, which plays the sounds of thunderstorms and rain, if that’s more your thing).
Pinterest I’ve only recently made my own Pinterest account, but I love it! It’s a great way to waste time and procrastinate to find writing prompts, character pictures, and random things that may or may not relate to your story. You can create boards (I have one for each of my works in progress and sometimes I make character boards for my main characters as well), on which you can pin things that relate to your stories. You can check out my writing boards here *(Warning: Pinterest can be a black hole which sucks out a writer’s productivity. Approach with caution, you may never be seen again) *
Social Media I personally don’t use any social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, but there are a lot of other writers who do. They’re useful for giving your followers quick updates on your life and writing, and also very useful for promoting a novel of yours that you’ve just had published, a magazine you’re featured in and other such things. If you are actively looking for an editor or agent it also helps to have a website, blog, Facebook, etc, for them to look up and find you. Social media also allows you to find agents/editors and other writers, stay in touch and keep you updated on their progress as well.
Websites/Books These are so helpful when it comes to learning more about crafting stories, finding your voice, plotting, characterisation, you name it. Some books I’ve found helpful are Writing Christian Fiction by Ron Benrey, How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card (this one focusses on speculative fiction, but it has heaps of good tips for writing in general), and The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White (I haven’t read that yet, but lots of writers recommend it, so I’ll take their word for it, it’s meant to be super helpful).
Some good websites are Writer’s Digest, Kingdom Pen, Teen Ink (for teen writers), Re:Fiction (I only just discovered this website, but it definitely looks worth an explore), and for Australian authors, the Australian Writers’ Resource is good.
Blogs These are also great resources. They allow us a close look at the lives of other writers, allow us to make friends, join communities and give and take advice. Bloggers often share tips, stories or snippets of their personal lives, which make each blog unique and interesting. Its well worth investing in finding and following bloggers and forming friendships with them. if you have your own blog, you can use that as platform to build a readership base, promote your novel and share your own bits and pieces of writerly wisdom. If you don’t have your own blog, why not make one?
Encyclopaedias We live in an age when we can simply Google everything and anything and have what seems like every scrap of info in the world at our fingertips. But maybe there is still a place for an old-fashioned encyclopaedia? The amount of random information in one of these massive old tomes can be astonishing!
Library These are great resources, but sadly so underused these days, for the reasons I stated above. However there such a wealth of info available at a library! If you’re researching medieval wedding ritual, Japanese funeral customs, how long it takes to die of a bullet wound or escape artists, your library probably has a book on it. Books are certainly still useful, even though so much of our research is done on the internet. For one thing, books tend to be much more thoroughly researched than internet articles, and are often more in-depth. Besides, libraries have a magical feel about them and it’s always nice to haunt an abandoned corner and write there, far from the screams and cries of younger siblings.
Experts, Associations and Re-Enactments
These people are especially helpful for those of us who write historical fiction or fantasy. Sometimes just reading about jousting tournaments isn’t enough and we need to go and see flesh and blood knights fight it out together. Historical re-enactments allow us a glimpse into the past which books (as much as we love them) just can’t give us. If you can’t make it to one of their re-enactments, you can always email them and ask questions. Associations and experts are also helpful as they can provide information that isn’t available in other places.
Here are some Associations and re-enactment groups to have a look at:
The Medieval Combat Society (United Kingdom)
Danelaw Medieval Fighting Society (Australia)
Australian Re-Enactors Association (Australia)
Civil War Re-Enactment Society (America)
The Great War Society (United Kingdom)
WW2 Historical Re-Enactment Society (I think this one is based in America, Canada and Europe)
Here is a list of societies, associations and re-enactment groups if you’re interested in finding more.
Ultimately there is no better resource than the Bible! God gave us the Bible to be our guide through life, so it should be our resource on which we base all of our writing. The Bible can direct us in how we write, what we write, when we write and who we write for. It helps us develop our themes for our stories, and gives our characters something to stand on.
Use it the most out of all of your resources.
Some verses which relate to writing:
Colossians 3:17: “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Philippians 4: 8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—thing about such things.”
Did you find this helpful? Let me know if you did, I’d love to compile an even bigger, more comprehensive list!