Writer’s Resources

List of websites, podcasts, programs, and other tools I have run across as a writer that merit mention. Organized by what I consider the 3 legged stool of writing – and very well applies to most arts – the art, the craft and skills, and the business. I will expand this list often.

The Art of Writing

Chuck Wendig – novelist, screenwriter, and game designer; uses “naughty language”. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/

Character Creation :

Powerful website to help visualize your characters esp if high fantasy or sci fi. Build a miniature of your person.  Way too much fun. You could have your characters sit on your desk and inspire you.  Cost $20 to buy a mini.   https://www.heroforge.com/

Name Generators – for all those micro characters in your stories. I also like Baby Name lists or Census records. You can get either by year.
https://www.behindthename.com/random/ – allows selection by Country, mythology, or Fantasy realm
https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/ – over 1100 name generators for various Fantastical realms

Great resource for surname statistics and points of origin. Only 651 people in the world share my last name – WOW!  http://forebears.co.uk/surnames/count

Words: On my Twitter, I post Word builders as I find them – follow me @ClaireCount

Tip of your tongue – can’t find the word you are looking for – try this tool. You might find a better word http://chir.ag/projects/tip-of-my-tongue/

Another find the word tool – be sure to confirm definition before you use the word. Very robust list that sometimes is only tangentially connected to your original request. Great source for learning new words:  http://reversedictionary.org


The Craft of Writing

Podcast – The Creative Penn – posted on Mondays https://www.youtube.com/user/thecreativepenn
https://www.thecreativepenn.com/ – writing, self Publishing, Marketing and Entrepreneur

Readability gives you a guideline on your material. How difficult is it to read, the balance of long to short sentences, overused words. I do not agree with all their recommendations. I use this on every work I submit. https://readable.io/text/

Checklist to start you on editing from a writers blog. https://www.jerryjenkins.com/self-editing/

Grammar questions – My current go-to for punctuation problems is http://theeditorsblog.net/  Beth Hill has a $1 book on Punctuation that is an essential tool of mine.

General grammar questions:  Purdue Online Writing Lab has guidelines https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/6/

For authors of longer works, I highly recommend Scrivener. It replaces the index cards and folders with digital index cards pinned to a cork board and folders which can hold web links, videos, pictures, as well as text resources. It backs itself up so you never lose data from a brownout.  Save files to Dropbox or other cloud drive for additional protection highly recommended. Easy to track chapters, characters, locations and rearrange your story via click and drag.  Easily exports to other file formats.  Now if you are a NaNoWriMo winner, last year a prize was a coupon for half off which is lower than the rates I can offer.  These are links through which I get a small commission. I would not buy material to learn how to use the program; vast resources are available on youtube at no charge.

Buy Scrivener 2 for macOS (Regular Licence)Buy Scrivner2 for Mac OS (Standard License)

Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)Buy Scrivner2 for Windows (Standard License)

Student and Teacher Discounts: 

Buy Scrivener 2 for macOS (Education Licence)Buy Scrivener 2 for macOS (Education Licence)

Buy Scrivener for Windows (Education Licence)Buy Scrivener for Windows (Education Licence)

The Business of Writing

The first people you need on your team for a business is a knowledgeable accountant and a lawyer.  Specifically knowledgeable about your type of business; there are tax rules specific unique to writing that doesn’t apply to other small businesses.   To help there are also Lawyers for the Arts in various states for pro-bono or low-cost work.  Georgia’s can be contacted at 404-873-3911 or gla@glarts.org; the website is  http://glarts.org  If you are not sure what a contract entails or what rights you are transferring, get a lawyer to review it. You might be very glad you did.   Live in a different state, Look here for resources. https://professionalartistmag.com/volunteer-arts-attorneys-and-accountants/ 

Need other professional support in Georgia? Look here for referrals. http://www.artsgeorgia.net/directory/consultants/

Duotrope is a professional artist and writer resource to search and track submissions. Has other resources as well. https://duotrope.com/

Submission Grinder allows you to search for fiction submission calls. Free to use. https://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com/

Manuscript Wish List connects you to agents and editors who list what they are looking for and what they are sick of, like sparkly vampires.   http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/

Marketing resources and tips: The Book Designer, practical resources to build better books – articles and tips. They do sell products, which I have not bought so I can not evaluate. https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2016/07/reader-audiences-analytics-really-reveal/

SWFA’s Writers Beware is the site where authors share feedback on who not to do business with – or at least do so cautiously. http://www.sfwa.org/other-resources/for-authors/writer-beware/

Also Alliance of Independent Authors ( ALLI)  rates self-publishing services – https://selfpublishingadvice.org/allis-self-publishing-service-directory/self-publishing-service-reviews/

STANDARD FORMAT FOR SUBMISSIONS ( but always check editors guidelines)   https://www.shunn.net/format/story.html

COVER LETTER FORMAT geared for submissions to a magazine. Would also apply for anthologies.   http://www.strangehorizons.com/guidelines/fiction-cover-letter.shtml


Broad Base Resources

Elizabeth Spann Craig’s Twitterific website collects the best links from Twitter as an author resource.  http://elizabethspanncraig.com/category/twitterific/

Which feeds into Writer’s Knowledge Base – a searchable list of articles on and about writing.  https://hiveword.com/wkb/search

Writing Excuses: now in its 13th season, established writers share thoughts on specific subjects in only fifteen minutes. One of the hosts is Brandon Sanderson.  http://www.writingexcuses.com/They also have an annual cruise retreat with limited scholarships available.


ALLi is Alliance for Independent Authors to promote excellence and ethics is self-publishing. Full of authors and author resources.  https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/membership-faq/

ASJA is a resource for journalist and nonfiction authors. American Society of Journalists and Authors

Author Guild supports and protects the business side of writing. Many resources on this website. Can join at any time, but most benefit once you are either under contract or making over $5,000 a year from writing work. https://www.authorsguild.org/join/

Furry Writer’s Guild is for writers specializing in fiction with anthropomorphic characters. Resources available on site but membership requires publishing. Active chats weekly. Awards the Coyotl Award annually. https://furrywritersguild.com/

Horror Writers Association http://horror.org/ Stokercon

Sisters In Crime – Nationwide groups for Sisters and Misters interested in suspense, thrillers, or mysteries. http://www.sistersincrime.org/ Friendly to readers and developing writers Has local chapters. BoucherCon (member) and close to Georgia Guppies in Crimes is dedicated to assisting the developing writer. “Lured by mystery, hooked on writing. Come on in the water’s fine.” Must be a member of Sisters in Crime to join. http://www.sinc-guppies.org/ (member)

Mystery Writer’s of America awards the prestigious Edgar Award in New York City. More for the professional writer although have competitions for developing writers. Has regional chapters. http://mysterywriters.org/ (Former member) Killer Nashville con is supported by SE chapter of MWA.

Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month. A collection of writers across the world bind together to write 50,000 words in a month. Have events throughout the year but big event is in November. Genre is immaterial – everyone can find their peeps here. https://nanowrimo.org/

Academy of American Poets Poets have https://www.poets.org/ available with resources, support, and you can sign up for a poem a day.

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America -SWFA – membership is ONLY for the professional writer, but great resources on the website. Awards the Nebula Awards annually. SFWA membership is open to authors, artists and other industry professionals, including graphic novelists

Romance Writers of America membership open to professionals and authors in serious pursuit of becoming professional. Many resources online. Awards the Rita Award annually. Conferences – has local chapters.

International Thrillers Writers is for the professional writer, although memberships are available for developing writers. ITW is geared to promote and serve authors.

Thrillerfest conference. ITW produces The Big Thrill newsletter and zine and has a weekly round Table. http://thrillerwriters.org/about-itw/the-big-thrill-2/


There are many competitions; I won’t try to list them all. Many ask for a small amount of money to cover admin costs which is customary in the industry. I am only listing a very few here.

St. Martin’s Minotaur/ Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition http://mysterywriters.org/about-mwa/st-martins/
Due in December for unpublished authors only (Self-pub does not count) – mystery novel of 40,000-60,000 words

L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers & Illustrators of the Future – WOTF is a short story competition for artist and writers who have never been published professionally. The competition runs quarterly. Judges are successful professional authors like Jody Lynn Nye, Kevin J. Anderson, Orson Scott Card, and many others. Awards include a monetary prize for top three each quarter, and a workshop with professional authors for the top winners. All winners are published in the annual anthology. http://www.writersofthefuture.com/

Can sign up for a Yahoo group for regular updates on creative competitions and opportunities.  CRWROPPS is the Creative Writers Opportunities List. Email and ask to join  CRWROPPS-B-owner@yahoogroups.com

Georgia Author of the Year – Deadline Jan 31 for books published the previous year.  http://www.authoroftheyear.org/

Mystery Awards list  http://stopyourekillingme.com/Awards/

Screenwriting competitions: contest listings at moviebytes.com,  BlueCat Screenwriting, PAGE International, NaScWriMo,  and Writer’s Digest

Collected lists of writing contests can be found at https://www.christopherfielden.com/

Also Poets and Writers have an annual edition in June that lists FREE writing contests. https://www.pw.org/

Research Sources

GALILEO – Georgia Library Online  – https://www.galileo.usg.edu/welcome/


Many public libraries have digital images that are free domain – can be used commercially with no fee  https://www.nypl.org/research/collections/digital-collections/public-domain as an example  or Library of Congress https://www.loc.gov/collections/

WikiMedia – source of free use images, sound, and other media https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

Fun resource, no really https://www.census.gov/en.html


Audio Books

www.karencommins.com – learn about recording audio books