Cameron Chapman

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Online Resources for Fiction Writers

I was talking to a friend on Facebook the other day and he mentioned something about how I knew all these great resources online for writers. I have a tendency to forget that not every writer out there knows a lot about the resources the internet has to offer them. I work online on a daily basis, constantly looking up new resources for one project or another, and come across new tools all the time.

So I’m going to attempt to put together all the best resources I’ve found useful into a single reference guide for fiction writers. I’ve scoured my Google Bookmarks to come up with this list. If you have other tools you’ve found useful that aren’t included here, please share them in the comments!

Online Writing Communities and Forums

Authonomy.com: This was one of the first novel-writing forums I joined, and where I met the vast majority of my writer friends. I also learned more about how to write well from the people here than I can even remember. The quality of critiques has gone downhill overall in the past year or two, but there are still some very helpful people there.

Absolute Write Water Cooler: A huge forum with a ton of very helpful writers. A number of professional authors frequent the boards, though you won’t always know who they are. There are categories and boards for virtually all types of writing, and a password-protected forum for getting feedback on your work. Especially helpful is the query forum for getting feedback on your query letters.

Zoetrope.com Virtual Studio: This is the workshop offered by Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope studio. If you write screenplays, short stories, novellas, flash fiction or poetry, there are departments here for you to get feedback. They require submitters to review a set number of other entries before submitting their own (after the first submission, that is), and critiques are generally of very high quality.

WeBook: WeBook is a fairly new community, and offers both paid and free services for writers. You can use it to write collaboratively, or to get feedback from other writers. I’m an active participant in their PageToFame contest.

Scribophile: Scribophile has active forums and provisions for sharing your work and getting feedback.

YouWriteOn: YouWriteOn is another site that’s set up for getting feedback. The highest-rated manuscripts each month get reviewed by publishers and/or agents. I was a member briefly, but am not a fan of the format.

Contests

WeBook’s PageToFame Contest: P2F is a fun contest that I’ve been participating in for a few months. You start out submitting a single page, which others on the site then rate. If your first page rates high enough, you move on to round 2, where you submit the first five pages. Those go through another round of ratings, and then if you rank high enough again, you move on to round 3, where you submit the first fifty pages. If you pass through the third round, you then go on to the final round, where publishers and agents review your manuscript. The winners are supposed to get help with finding representation and/or a publisher, though the contest is still young and no winners have yet been declared.

NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month is another fun contest for writers. The goal is to write an entire novel (50k words or more) during the month of November. They have hundreds of thousands of participants each year, and an active forum for the months of October through December or January.

Agent and Publisher Resources

AgentQuery: AgentQuery is a great source for finding agents based on genre, and for getting feedback on your query letter and synopsis. They also have a lot of great information about finding an agent.

QueryTracker.net: QueryTracker is a great way to find agents and their submission policies. You can also track the status of your queries, and view stats about how each agent generally responds to queries sent by those using the system.

Duotrope: Duotrope has a searchable database of publishers, including literary journals and ebook publishers. You can search based on payment levels, genre, type of publisher, length of the work, and more.

Generators

Seventh Sanctum: Seventh Sanctum has one of the biggest collections of story generators out there. They cover mostly sci-fi and fantasy, though there are other generators, too.

Genre-Fiction Generator: This generator provides mostly steampunk-based storylines.

Serendipity: Another collection of fun generators.

The Evil Overlord’s Plot Generator: Another stupid/fun plot generator.

Random Title Generator: I used this to come up with the title for one of my novels. Most of what it puts out is crap, though.

Tools

Writeboard: This is a great tool for collaborating with other writers.

Google Docs: Another tool that lets you collaborate with others or work on your own. The advantage to this is that you can access your files from anywhere, view previous versions, and have automatic backups.

Word Frequency Counter: While this isn’t particularly useful, it can be interesting to look at the frequency of “problem” words (like “that” or “just”) before and after editing.

Articles and Guides

I have literally hundreds of articles bookmarked, but here are three of the most useful and interesting.

How to Plot a Novel for Beginners in Writing: A very basic introduction to the three-act structure.

How to Write a Book in Three Days: A practical guide to writing very, very quickly.

How to Title Your Book: This is probably the most helpful advice I’ve ever found on how to come up with a title for your novel.

These are just some of the resources I use or have used. There are thousands of resources out there, so please feel free to share whatever you’ve found useful in the comments!

I don't get paid for the content on this site, so if you find it useful, consider a donation.

2 Comments on Online Resources for Fiction Writers

  1. Wen Scott
    January 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm (1283 days ago)

    Evernote:
    Under the Tools heading, I would add Evernote, an excellent software for collecting articles, links, writing notes, etc. It is available in all flavours, cross-platform, including mobile, which makes it very useful. There is both a free and paid version, your collections stored both on your laptop, PC, Mac…. and synced version online.

    Reply
    • Cameron Chapman
      January 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm (1283 days ago)

      I’ve used Evernote a few times in collecting research for novels and other projects. I do so much of my planning on actual paper, though, that I don’t often use tools like Evernote. On the rare occasions when I actually do plan things online, I usually just use Google Docs. Zotero is another great browser-based research and organization tool. I used that when writing my first non-fiction book to keep track of all the references I used.

      Reply

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