We’ve compiled a list of writing resources for you, and will continue adding to the list as time goes on. We hope you’ll find the info helpful.
A quick checklist for Noobie Writers on how to start writing:
- GET INSPIRED – Read books, memoirs or novels that you’d love to have written yourself.
- PERFECT YOUR CRAFT – Brush up on your writing (See list, below).
- CHALLENGE YOURSELF – Write. Join an online writing camp.
- SHARE – Sign up with a creative writing class, hold your head high, and read aloud…
You want to write a book, or at least write something, but you don’t know where to start.
Get Inspired. Read. Observe.
Pick up your favorite book and then STUDY it.
- Find out what you liked about the book. The characters? The words? The perfectly satisfying ending? What phrases in the book stood out to you? What melted you into a fit of crying jags?
Then, pick up the last book that you didn’t finish reading, in other words…a book you wanted to toss right into the sewage treatment pool at the corner of 44th Avenue and Ward.
“Must I?” Your brows knit together as you fold your arms neatly across your chest.
“Yes.” I inch closer.
Your lips quiver. “But I don’t even want to look at it!”
“But you must. You’d–”
“No! No! No!” You blurt out, shaking your head like a kid facing a spoonful of icky fever medicine. “Don’t make me do it!”
“It’s okay, it’s okay,” I say, slowly pulling behind me, a cartful of books we’ve talked about earlier in our Is-It-In-You? A-Book-Within-You-discovery session.
You dart towards the door, but as you pull the knob and turn it, you find that the door is locked. Heaving, you look for another way out. But there is nowhere to run.
It couldn’t have been that bad of a story, could it? I take a big breath and say to you in a voice practiced on my kids many, many times over. “You’ll thank me for this later….”
I have my hands behind my back, fingers crossed.
This is how my mind works. I see a picture and run with it. Does yours?
So let’s get back to analyzing your least favorite book. You now have it in your hands…. (Phew!)
- Find out what you didn’t like about the book. Was the narration too long and winding? Were there too many flashbacks that took you out of the present story? Were there grammatical errors that made you stop and wished that the author had done a better job proof reading the book? Were the dialogues so mangled up that you couldn’t even figure out who was saying what? Was the character just sitting and thinking, and thinking, and thinking, but there was absolutely nothing happening?
Once you’ve identified what you liked or don’t like about a book, you’re one step closer to writing something that you would deem ‘just right’. Fingers crossed.
PERFECTING YOUR CRAFT
The world of writing is vast. With a plethora of different offerings out there–on the web, plus on the printed paper–what is a new writer to do when the need for focused information arises?
Before you leave for the library or buy any books on writing, check what’s out there online. Writers all over the world have blogs that may help you answer some of your pertinent writing questions.
Writers Write (http://writerswrite.co.za/ )This website has mines of information that you can dig up on the writing techniques for fiction and non-fiction/ business writing. Started by Amanda Peterson from Australia, this site is backed by other writers who add punch to the content.
Check out Writer’s Digest magazine. It has interviews of successful authors, competitions, and many useful tips on the craft of writing for fiction and non-fiction. We’re not doing it justice here, but just to illustrate, most of the reference books on writing that we end up collecting for our own writing library came from those small blurbs about the writer at the end of the articles in this magazine as many of the articles were excerpted from books they’ve written.
Also, check out Writer’s magazine.
Yes, and I do mean, check out. Your local library should have a stack of magazines available for you to peruse and check out. If you like the magazine later down the road, make a commitment to yourself and then subscribe.
After looking through hundreds of books on writing, we find that these few are well worth a look:
FOR WRITING FICTION
If you want to hone your skills for writing fiction, here are some books to start with. Check them out at your library. Or start your own collection (we get no commission whatsoever for listing this lot):
79 ways to Save Your Novel by Peter Selgin (Writers Digests Books)
Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham (Writers Digests Books)
Setting by Jack M. Bickham (Writers Digests Books)
Character & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card (Writer’s Digest)
Plot Vs Character by Jeff Gerke
On Writing by Stephen King (Scribner)
Beginnings, Middles, & Ends by Nancy Kress (Writers Digests Books)
Conflict, Action & Suspense by William Noble (Writers Digests Books)
Description by Monica Woods (Writers Digests Books)
FOR WRITING NON-FICTION
Writing Well by William Zinsser (Collins) – Tips on how to write well for non-fiction writers.
SIGN UP FOR A WRITING CLASS
No where else will you find a group of kindred spirits toiling hard to share their writing, their innermost secrets, memoirs, and imagination, than the adults sitting around you at your writing class.
No where else will you find, people so dedicated in their craft, and willing to share their ups and downs of writing within a fifteen minute window per writer, every class.
Usually an instructor would lead the group, time each participant’s reading, give comments on the content, and suggest better ways to write a word, a phrase or a paragraph. The whole group would also chime in. Opinions fly.
It may be hard to have to strike off a lovely phrasing that you might have conjured up. But don’t take it personally. This is, after all, a way for you to hone your craft, and get your storyline in check. Usually the combined experience from this group out pars tenfold of you doing writing all by yourself.
But where do you start?
Most community centers hire experienced writing teachers to conduct classes throughout the year. Check out colleges or universities and see if they would let you audit a class.
Keep on learning and open yourself to stimulating conversation. Who knows where that would lead you?
- Arvada Center- EDUCATION
- Apex Parks & Recreation District – EDUCATION
Find ways to push yourself. Write everyday. If you can’t, thinking about writing also keeps your mind engaged. Find out if there are writing camps where you can join other writers and learn.
One way to see if you can take on a challenge along with hundreds of thousands of writers in the US, is to join a writing challenge. The National Novel Writing Month is held in November every year, when writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words by the end of the month. If you’re not into fiction, Nina Amir, a blogger, started a National Non-Fiction Writing Month, with the same challenge. Look for opportunities online.
Remember not to compare yourself to others when you seek to improve your craft. Take it slow, give yourself time to absorb and learn, and watch yourself grow.
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO FROM HERE?