For Writers

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”  

― Stephen King

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First, Some Words of Advice
  • Write everyday (even if it is only a paragraph).
  • Read, read, and read.  If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.  Know what is happening in your genre and feed your soul.
  • Guard your writing time.
  • Be consistent.
  • Spend a little time on social media each day.  Build a supportive community.  Be generous.
  • Have your work professionally edited–by more than one editor (content and line-by-line editors).
Writing Journal Idea

Keep a journal to jot down ideas. Keep notes on characters, allusions, symbols, plot points, scenes, etc.

After using blank journals for a few of my novels, I developed my own journal filled with graphic organizers.

Several writers who I’d been working with asked me for all of my organizational material, so I turned it into a workbook for everyone to use. Prompt Me Novel: Fiction Writing Journal.

I use one of these for each of my writing projects. It keeps me organized and pushing forward.

Try to write each day to help with continuity in your larger projects. If you can’t, don’t beat yourself up. Just get back at it.

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

― Louis L’Amour


General Writing Resources
Do it Yourself and Save Your Money
  • US Copyright Office. You can apply for your own copyright, it isn’t hard. Honestly, if you make a mistake, they will contact you. They are very nice.
  • QR Code Generator.  Don’t pay to have someone do it for you.  This is easy and free! You don’t need anything fancy. Just get a png or jpeg of your QR code and you are good.
  • New Author Checklist: 10 Things to Do. You finished your manuscript. You’ve published or are about to publish. Here’s a list of 10 things you need to do now.
  • Creative Commons Licenses. The Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates.
  • How to start a Blog. 12 steps to a well-planned blog with links to help put it together.
Social Media
Accuracy in Writing

Do your due diligence and research the information you present in your writing. Starting with simple things like realistic travel times to the realistic use of poison.

  • Inflation Calculator: If you are writing a period piece, this will help you figure out how much money was worth at the time.
  • Realistic Travel Times― by sea, air, and land.
  • Air Travel.  Are your characters traveling by private plane?  How long does it take to fly from Paris to Prague?  You can figure it out here and keep your timelines intact.  Do the research–even for fantasy novels.  Remember, we want the audience to buy into the story.  Don’t distract with unrealistic settings.
  • Do you have weapons in your story? Check out A Writer’s Guide to Weapons site. Do revolvers have a safety? Is a switchblade the right choice?
Templates, Formatting, & Graphic Design
  • My 7 Fave Free Design Resources.
  • How to format your manuscript article by Jodie Renner . This will save you (and your editor) time and frustration.
  • How many spaces after a period?
  • Book Interior Template: If you are going to be formatting your own book, save yourself hours of grief and write directly into the template.  KDP has a wonderful set of free templates (my publisher even uses them).  Make sure you choose the size that is standard for your genre.  I use the 5.5 x 8.5 template for Young Adult Lit.
  • Book Cover Template: Generate a free Photoshop book cover template.  You need to know how many pages your book will be in order for the spine to be the correct size.
  • Fonts. Make sure all of the fonts you are using are free for commercial use.  Font Squirrel is one of my favorite sites because they are all “free for commercial use.”  I also love, but you need to be careful, shareware is not always free for publishing use.
  • Amazon Description Generator: Kindlepreneur is one of my favorite resource sites. It’s by authors for authors. Don’t worry about any HTML, plug your book description in here and you can make it look fabulous on the first try!
Grammar and Style
  • Quick reference guide for CaPiTaLiZaTiOn.
  • Using Numerals in Text: “Eight or 8?”
  • Have you ever been reading a book and thought, “If they use that word one more time, I’m (fill in the blank).” I certainly have.  Here is a wonderful tool, it counts the Word Frequency.  They also have a Phrase Frequency Counter. Even NY Times bestsellers can have this problem. Edit! Edit! Edit!
  • This is an Adverb Detector. It is working from a list of commonly used adverbs, so you will need to decide if you actually used the word as an adverb. Is it the end of the world to use an adverb? No, but as with everything, use in moderation. Always ask yourself if it is redundant or clarifying.
  • Good writers include sensory detail. That means that they tap into taste and smell, as well as, sight and touch. I have compiled a Tastes & Aromas Cheat Sheet on this blog post.
  • Here are 8 Tips to help make your dialogue sparkle.
  • Check out my blogs tagged “Writing Resources.”

Naming Your Characters

Find Some Good Writing Blogs to Follow

  • Jane Friedman: A leading expert in the publishing industry who gives tons of free tips and tricks. Her newsletter is filled with fabulous free resources.
  • K.M. Weiland: Great resources on the craft of writing and marketing your work.
  • Kindlepreneur: Fabulous articles and free tools. spend some time on this site.
  • Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tricks.
  • Jami Gold: Great worksheets on developing your story, characters, and more.
  • Russel Blake: Writing advice and what is happening in the publishing world.
  • Molly Greene: Need instructions on how to start a blog?  Twitter tips? Grammar? Great resource all around.

WORD LISTS: Other Words For…

Now some people argue that you shouldn’t use synonyms, especially with the word “said”. Here is a great article on Arguments for Using Synonyms.

My writing assistant.
All Prompt Me Series books have a reference section with master lists.