In our July meeting, Charlotte Writers Group members shared some of the resources that help us most in our respective writing processes. Our members brought some great suggestions ranging from editing tips to websites, to screenwriting books that can help writers of any kind of story. Since not everyone can attend each meeting, our goal is to share what we learn here so all of our members, prospective members, and fellow writers can benefit. Each of these items has been vouched for by a group member. If you have a question about a specific recommendation, check in on our Facebook group and ask about it!
The list is broken down into books, websites, tips, Cons and local events. There’s something for everyone!
All books are listed with ISBN numbers to help you find them through your favorite digital or physical retailer.
- Angela Ackerman’s Thesaurus Series: The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus, The Urban Setting Thesaurus etc) – Get help finding the word you need without using the same one over and over.
- Bird by Bird (ISBN-13: 978-0385480017) by Anne Lamott – part writing advice, part guru-level advice on unleashing your creativity. A favorite for many writers.
- Chicago Manual of Style (current year) by University of Chicago Press – Everything you’ll ever need to reference about style and process in one volume. Used by writers, editors and publishers, this manual updates approximately annually. Corresponding website below.
- Eats, Shoots & Leaves (ISBN-13: 978-1592402038) by Lynne Truss – Punctuation with a sense of humor.
- Elements of Style (ISBN-13:978-0205309023) by Strunk and White – Essential grammar without the fluff.
- The Emotion Amplifier (digital only) by Amanda Ackerman – A companion book to The Emotional Thesaurus
- English Composition and Grammar: Complete Course (ISBN-13:978-0153117367) by John E Warriner – Basic English grammar text book with more explanation and clear examples.
- Forensics: A Guide for Writers (ISBN-13:003-5313643828) by D.P. Lyle, MD – Part of the Howdunit Series with everything you ever wanted to ask about forensics, but were afraid to Google.
- Gotham Writers’ Workshop – Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School (ISBN-13: 978-1582343303) – A writing workshop in a book.
- Grammar Girl book series by Minion Fogarty (http://www.amazon.com/Mignon-Fogarty/e/B001JS0XMW/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1468947302&sr=1-1) – Smart, sassy grammar for anyone in bite-size tidbits. Corresponding website below.
- The Hero with A Thousand Faces (ISBN-13: 858-0001046747) by Joseph Campbell – Breaks down the hero’s journey throughout mythology to point out what resonates with readers and why. A good foundational understanding of story mechanics.
- Howdunit Series – a series of books covering everything a writer might need to know about forensics, poison, police procedurals, crime scene investigation, weapons and more.)
- Immediate Fiction: A Complete Writer’s Course (ISBN-13: 978-0312302764) by Jerry Cleaver – A step by step guide through the writing process.
- Karen’s Conundrums: A Compendium (a what?) of Grammatical Imponderables by Karen T. Newman – A CLT Writers Group member’s personal contribution to all the grammatical obstacles.
- The Kick-Ass Writer: 1,000 Ways to Write Great Fiction, Get Published, and Earn Your Audience (ISBN-13: 978-1599637716) by Chuck Wendig – An in-your-face, irreverent, and funny presentations of the hard lessons of the writing life.
- Police Procedural: A Guide for Writers (ISBN-13: 978-1582974552) by Lee Lofland – Part of the Howdunit Series – like having an expert in your pocket.
- Right Word, Wrong Word: Words and Structures confused and misused by learners of English (ISBN-13: 978-0582246461) by L. G. Alexander – Are you using these commonly confused words correctly? Are you sure?
- Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need (ISBN-13: 978-0060391683) by Blake Snyder – A guide on how to structure your story. One of a great series of books including worksheets to outline your story.
- Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting (ISBN-13: 978-0060391683) by Syd Field – Though this focuses on screenwriting, the principles of storytelling can be related to any kind of writing.
- The Screenwriter’s Bible (current edition – ISBN-13: 978-1935247104) by David Trottier (periodic update) – Written for screenwriters, however, provides solid information about character creation, story concept, plot points, etc.
- Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting (ISBN-13: 978-0060391683) by Robert McKee – insight into story construction and how character and structure are interrelated. Screenwriting focus, but principles can be applied to any story writing.
- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles (ISBN-13: 978-0060391683) by Steven Pressman – We all encounter resistance in many forms and this is an art warrior’s guide to fighting through it.
- The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers (ISBN-13: 978-1932907360) by Christopher Vogler – Takes Campbell’s mythic structure and provides practical advice for applying it to the craft of storytelling.
- Writing Down the Bones (ISBN-13: 978-1611803082) by Natalie Goldberg – A blend of wisdom, advice, and encouragement for becoming the writer you want to be.
- Writing Screenplays that Sell (ISBN-13: 978-0060391683) by Michael Hauge – Insight into developing character and story structure will help any writer, not just a scriptwriter.
- Writing the Breakout Novel (ISBN-13:978-1582971827) by Donald Maass – A guide to producing commercially successful novels.
- Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook (ISBN-13: 978-1582972633) by Donald Maass – The companion workbook to Maass’s book.
- Chicago Manual of Style (chicagomanualofstyle.org)
- Christopher M. Park’s Manuscript Analyzer (christophermpark.com/manalyzer.php) – Discover your repeated words before your readers/critique partners do
- Charlotte Writers Group (CLTwriters.com) – Our home base
- Drew’s Script-o-Rama (script-o-rama.com) – a resource for finding scripts to see how they are constructed, study dialogue, etc.
- Duotrope (duotrope.com) – Writer’s resource for market listings and submission tracking for paid subscribers.
- Goodreads (goodreads.com) – Social media site for book lovers.
- Grammar Girl’s website (quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl) – Quick answers to grammar questions and top tips.
- Grammar the Easy Way (http://www.english-grammar-revolution.com/diagram-it.html) Website and free PDF download
- Jake Bible’s “Writing in Suburbia” Podcast – An uncensored, unedited podcast that Jake puts out about being a human who also happens to be a professional writer. It’s a realistic discussion about the business of being a professional writer presented with a sense of humor and a little tough love. (NSFW)
- John G. Hartness’s “Writing Rants” Podcast – If you’ve ever seen John on a panel at a con, you know exactly what you’re getting. If not, check this out. John rants about all things related to the writing business – and beyond – in typical John style. (NSFW)
- Magical Words (magicalwords.net) – Writing advice and insight from local fantasy/sci-fi authors. While the contributors may be genre-specific, most of the advice can be applied to any genre.
- NewPages (newpages.com) – A multifunctional resource for writers.
- Purdue Owl (owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/) : Online writing lab, primarily for citing resources, however, it does contain a section on the Chicago Manual of Style 16th
- Ralan (ralan.com) – Spec Fic market listings
- Sixfold Short Stories and Poetry – The Completely Writer-Voted Journal (sixfold.org)
- Submission Grinder (thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com) – Market listings and submission tracking – currently free.
- Text to Speech (fromtexttospeech.com) – A free service that converts your text to mp3 with relatively natural sounding voices.
- Writing World (writing-world.com) – A sprawling multifunctional resource for writers.
- AdBlock – an extension for Chrome and Firefox that blocks ads in websites, YouTube, etc.
- Evernote – A multi-platform notetaking app.
- Excel – easily track expenses, word count, and/or create your own submission tracker.
- OneNote – a multi-platform Microsoft product for creating “binders” of notes/resources.
- Scrivener – robust writing software that stores resources and writing all in one location for easy access. Steep learning curve, but reportedly worth the effort.
- Windows Narrator – A Windows “Ease of Access” app that “reads” on-screen information. This can be used to read your work back to you.
- Read your work out loud, or use a program to read it out loud to you. This will help you find mistakes (like missing words), hear awkward phrasing, and test your writing for how well it flows. (Besides, the more you practice reading your work aloud, the better you’ll be when it comes time for a reading!)
- Keep a list of your -isms and use them for editing each manuscript – verbal tics and crutches, words you habitually overuse, feedback you’ve received repeatedly, etc
- List of commonly overused words/stutter verbs (began, turned)
- Do a Find/Replace in your document for your -isms, results from the manuscript analyzer, commonly overused words/stutter verbs and change them to CAPS before editing. This will make them stand out and make your text easier to edit.
We all know that finding the right con can be a great help to writers – from strong writing tracks to learning about the industry and, possibly most importantly, networking and pitching. The italicized cons are events our members have attended.
Writers Conferences 2017
4/20-22/17 Las Vegas Writers Conference – Las Vegas, NV
4/27-4/30/17 – World Horror Convention – The Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA
5/5-7/17 DFW Writer’s Conference – Dallas, TX
6/2-4/17 ConCarolinas – Concord, NC
6/30 – 7/2/17 Writers League of Texas Conference – Austin, TX
7/15-17/16 ConGregate – High Point, NC
7/26-29/17 Romance Writers of America Annual Conference – Orlando, FL
7/22/17 2017 Tennessee Writing Workshop, Nashville, TN
8/18-120/17 Writer’s Digest Con East – New York, NY
9/1-4/17 DragonCon – Atlanta, GA
9/1-3/17 Decatur Book Festival – Decatur, GA
10/4-8/17 Novelists, Inc (NINC) Conference – St. Petersburg Beach, FL
9/22-24/17 Baltimore Book Fesival – Baltimore, MD
9/15-16/17 Chattahoochee Valley Writers Conference – Columbus, GA
10/19-22/17 Florida Writer’s Conference – Alamonte Springs, FL
11/3-5/17 North Carolina Writers Network Conference – Wilmington, NC
Writer’s Conferences 2018
1/11-14/18 Key West Literary Seminar – Key West, FL
2/15-17/18 Amelia Island Book Festival – Amelia Island, FL
2/23-25/18 – ConNooga – Chattanooga, TN
2/23-25/18 MystiCon – Roanoke, VA
TBD Unicorn Writers Conference – Purchase, NY