This page contains links to various websites that will hopefully help you in some way on your road to becoming a writer. Most of them have been a great help to me.
A lot of these sites have their own lists of helpful resources, and I recommend checking those out.
If you have anything you think I should add or other writers should check out, a disagreement with anything I have listed here, or any comments in general, feel free to share.
The Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. Every writer should probably have a copy of this book. It has been revised several times, this site contains the original text. You should probably buy a copy and carry it around with you at all times. (I’m only slightly joking.) It doesn’t get everything right and some of the rules have grown antiquated over the years, but the wealth of information in this book makes it required reading for the aspiring writer.
On Writing, by Stephen King. This will just take you to the Wikipedia page. The book is worth buying, it takes a far more human approach than The Elements of Style and being written almost a century later is a bit more up-to-date.
Uncle Orson’s Writing Class. You should know who Orson Scott Card is (and if not, go to a library or book store right now and pick up Ender’s Game. I’m not joking, close your browser, get your shoes on, and get that book and come back when you’re done reading it). This page features several articles he wrote, usually in response to questions, about the craft. I don’t always agree with his advice, and some of the articles are old and possibly irrelevant (like when he says you don’t need an agent for genre writing, I’m not sure that stands today) but there is definitely useful info on here.
QueryShark. A blog by a literary agent. She’s been critiquing queries for years, making this blog a good place to learn from others’ mistakes before making your own. Make sure to read all of the archives, some of her opinions and thus advice have changed over the years.
From the Query to the Call by Elana Johnson. Johnson’s query format won’t work for everyone (nothing will work for everyone, honestly) but it’s worth trying. My own query has evolved several times since using her advice (which you can and should get in the form of a free ebook) but her format was among the first where I finally started to cut out all the fat and get to the point. Another great help was
BR Myers. She has a great blog post on queries, including the Three Cs. Hers was another blog that really got me on the right track, and Myers personally helped me with the latest (and probably best) version of my query letter to date.
QueryTracker Community. This is a forum related to the QueryTracker website. The members there will critique your query letter, your first five pages, your synopsis, and they’ll provide general information and helpful resources as well.
AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler. This one is very similar to the QueryTracker Community. I don’t have an account here but I’ve found myself at several threads while looking for information on Google, and the site and its members seem very helpful and resourceful.
When you have your manuscript written and edited and you have your query letter in shape, it’s time to start contacting agents. Here’s where you can find them.
Association of Authors’ Representatives, or the AAR. An organization of literary agents, their website has a thorough and searchable database of agents. Make sure you always check the agent’s website or blog if they have one, as their schedules can change frequently and some changes won’t appear in this database.
QueryTracker. A much more complex database of agents, QueryTracker also provides for user feedback. The search function is more in-depth, and the site keeps detailed statistics regarding agents and their rates of acceptance, rejection, response time etc. Registration is free, and there’s also a premium membership option with more details and the ability to keep track of more than one project. Again, always check agents’ websites and blogs to keep up-to-date with their submission info and guidelines.
AgentQuery. Another agent listing, and again I’ll ask you to always check an agent’s website before submitting to them. The last thing you want is to send an agent a query when they aren’t accepting them or have changed their rules, or even the genres they represent.
National Novel Writing Month, by The Office of Letters and Light. Hosts “NaNoWriMo” every August, which challenges people to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November, and offers tips and prizes like discounts on writing software. Recently began “Camp NaNoWriMo” in June and August.
Script Frenzy, also by The Office of Letters and Light. Similar to NaNoWriMo, but takes place in April and the challenge is to write a 100-page original script.
Other Helpful Resources
Writer Beware, by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Lists helpful tips and information regarding untrustworthy, fraudulent, and outright scams in the literary world. Includes information on agencies, publishers, editors, and the industry in general.
Duotrope’s Digest. This one is especially helpful if you write short stories, in which case you probably own’t need an agent. Duotrope is a market listing, and features a very customizable search engine. You can search by genre, length (everything from flash fiction to novels can be found here), pay scale, submission type and more. The result will be a list of publishers matching your search criteria and links to their websites.
Writer’s Relief Classifieds. I won’t speak on the rest of this website’s content, but their classifieds section is worth listing here. You’ll find a frequently updated listing of writing contests and calls for anthology submissions. Just make sure you thoroughly research the publication before submitting anything to it.