As a former teacher, I can’t help but recommend some of the great writing resources out there. Here are some things I have found useful. I’ll add more things as I think of them. (Sorry Mrs. T., my ninth grade history teacher, for using “things” in a sentence instead of being more specific.) Ahem. I’ll add more links as I think of them.
* Writer Univ.com The brilliant and wonderfully to the point Mary Buckham is behind this endeavor. As one of my writer friends who I’ve turned on to this has said, “They’re so good and such a good deal!” Seriously. Take these classes.
* How to Think Sideways. Holly Lisle’s classes get you think differently and overcome writing hurdles. I’ve gotten a lot out of this class. She’s also got a lot of free stuff and recently has offered a self-pub class. And she sounds just like Mary Shannon on In Plain Sight, which, to my enduring surprise, is one of my favorite shows. So that’s a bonus.
* Mary Buckham’s Break Into Fiction. Yeah, I think Mary’s the Bomb. Glad to see you’re paying attention. Gold stars for you!
* Word Menu. This is for when you’re trying to find a word for how someone walks besides ”walk”. And so on. Really great organization you can’t find anywhere else.
* Visual Dictionary. This is for when you’re trying to figure out what the tips of a fork are called. (“Tines.”) Or what that part of a church you are visualizing in your head is called. (I can’t say as I can’t see in your head. I’m probably glad for that.) They have online versions, but they’re also really fun to page through. (My def. of fun might be different than yours, but then, I taught rocks to thirteen year olds and liked it.)
* Scene and Structure. This is one of those books that was transformative for me. I got it just at the right time. I’m disgustingly preachy about it. I have secret love for Jack Bingham for writing this book. Side note: I’ve found many other books in the Elements of Fiction series useful.
*Robert McKee’s Story. It’s for movies, but it’s good to read. It helped me understand the concept “drinking the Kool-Aid” and how important that is for character development.
* The Writer’s Journey. Probably every writer has this and has ready it by now. But just in case, here it is. If you can elbow your way into a Mary Buckham course so she can teach The Hero’s Journey to you, do it. No, Mary doesn’t pay me to say that.
* Jennifer Crusie’s “For Writers” blog page. I stumbled across this and think it’s great. Her conflict essay helps makes a difficult concept clear. She simultaneously gives you useful information and makes you laugh.
*DP Lyle’s forensic books. He answers questions on his blog about how to bump people off properly. As you’ll see from his website, he’s a consultant on a lot of shows. He is generous in helping fellow writers. He helped me with some tricky (to me) stuff in Underdead In Denial and I’ve also got a question into him for the third Underdead book. Apologies to DP for any mistakes of made. Definitely mine, not his.
* Sisters In Crime Guppies. This is an off shoot of Sisters In Crime, for new mystery writers. It’s a great sources of information and support. Writing is a lonely task. If you’re sitting alone at your desk, how do you know if your first five pages are good or if they stink? How do you learn what a “partial” really means? This is a great organization.
A lot of stuff in one space
* Author Rhonda Hopkins wrote a great blog with a HUGE amount of great info and a ton of links. She gave me permission to steal her page–I mean LINK to it. Go check it out.