Wording With Purpose

John’s Writing Resources

 I love to write but it can be a lonely pursuit. And then there are the “what if no one buys this” concerns. My daughter, Amanda, owner of Wit & Whistle, created a motivational poster just for me. It is visible every time I enter my office or kick back to take a break.

Write something today

Copyright © 2013, Amanda Wright. All rights reserved.

And she added a note on the back, “but don’t worry. It won’t suck!” I hope this page of information helps my writing friends.

Books

Note: Amazon affiliate links are provided. These will open a window on Amazon.com for shopping.

Stephen King On WritingOn Writing by Stephen King

This is a great place for a would-be writer to start. Not everyone likes Stephen King’s novels, but the man can write. In this treasure he shares his background, his struggles as a writer, and a plethora of useful writer advice. I have been through my copy twice in the last year and it is well marked.

Buy from Amazon: On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft

 

 

On Writing Well ZinsserOn writing Well by William Zinsser
What Stephen King does for fiction writers, William Zinsser does for nonfiction. Zinsser holds the writing of Joseph Mitchell up as an example of nonfiction written so it reads like a novel. Wow! I bought a copy of Up in the Old Hotel by Mitchell and could see Zinsser’s point.

Buy from Amazon: On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

 

How to write what you love

How to Write What you Love by Dennis E. Hensley
I heard about Doc through the Christian Writer’s Guild and have enjoyed his webinars. I have heard the adage “those who work do and those who can’t teach” but in Doc’s case, he can write and teach. My copy of this one is well-marked.

Buy from Amazon: How to Write What You Love and Make a Living at It

Elements of StyleThe Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White

Having this book on my desk is like having the teacher’s manual, you know, the one with the answers. I browse pages when I need a break from writing and pay attention to the rules. Number 17 is my favorite – “Omit needless words.”

Buy from Amazon: The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

How to write a book proposalHow to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen

Great book from someone who knows publishing. My copy is filled with tabs marking sections I found particularly useful and plan to revisit. I found some sections a bit discouraging – if you don’t have a platform with 5000 people ready to buy your book you will never get published, you need a schedule filled with speaking engagements to show a prospective publisher your value, etc. I understand the points being made and vow to forge ahead. I have to start somewhere. This book was a Father’s Day gift and a very worthwhile addition to my library.

Buy from Amazon: How to Write a Book Proposal

Guide to News WritingThe Associated Press Guide to News Writing by Rene J. Cappon

An updated edition is available. This  gem is stocked with examples of good and bad writing. The Table of Contents is sufficiently zoomed to make the book easy to revisit for reference and reminder. News writers desire to communicate accurately using as few words as possible. Seems like a great goal for most writers.

Buy from Amazon: Associated Press Guide to News Writing: The Resource for Professional Journalists

Create Your Writer PlatformCreate Your Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino

Chuck Sambuchino offers a good definition of platform – “your visibility as an author, your personal ability to sell books right this instant.” Many case studies and practical examples of platform construction by various authors makes this work a good reference to add to the book collection. Chapter 8 provides ideas for blog content. The message I took away was to work at the platform, one step at a time.

Buy from Amazon: Create Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books, and Finding Success as an Author

Art of War 1The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell

Talk to experienced authors, attend a writer’s conference, or sign up for a webinar on writing and you will soon hear the name James Scott Bell. Bell has authored a stack of books educating hopeful writers. He graciously shares his knowledge, experience, and advice in the manner of a wise mentor. The Art of War for Writers is a compilation of 77 easy-to-read and easy-to-understand writing tactics, exercises, and strategies. My copy will become well-worn in the coming years as I refer back for refreshers, encouragement, and coaching.

Buy from Amazon: The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises

 

Revision and Self-EditingRevision and Self-Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell

To achieve my goal of improving as a writer, I need more than wishful thinking. I need an action plan that includes learning from the best. Buying books to fill space on my shelves does not bring improvement. The books must be read, marked, annotated, and revisited often. Revision and Self-Editing for Publication is a practical work filled with expert advice, check lists, and excellent analysis questions to assist me in polishing my manuscript. It is a solid investment to add to your collection.

Buy from Amazon: Revision and Self Editing for Publication: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft into a Novel that Sells

Useful Websites

Here’s a site with 150 resources for writers. Now, don’t waste all day browsing as you still need to actually write something today.

150 Writing Resources

 

Research Websites

I am working my way through Don MacLeod’s book, How to Find Anything, as he teaches me how to research. Some of the tools he references are brand new to me. Here are some I have now bookmarked.

 

Need some free pictures for your blog? Try this site:

morgueFile

 

I discovered the Library of Congress has a wealth of online information, including photos that may be used with proper credits. Take a look:

Library of Congress

Virtual Reference Shelf – Ask a Librarian (Library of Congress)

 

There is a free level to Britannica and a subscription option. An online version of the flagship encyclopedia which uses no bookshelf space.

Encyclopedia Britannica

 

This site allows the user to travel back in time and see a particular web page from a specified date and time.

Internet Archive Wayback Machine

 

Formulas, calculators – anything math related.

Math.com – World of Math Online

 

Census data coupled with a search mechanism. What is the average sized house in zip code 27613?

American FactFinder

 

Great books online with a search engine to find quotes and passages.

bartleby.com Great Books Online

 

General information. Includes a “This day in history” search.

http–www.infoplease.com-

 

This is the Internet Public Library Site.

ipl2 Information You Can Trust

 

General research – topically organized

ODP – Open Directory Project

 

Portal to several search engines.

pearltrees • rustythecat • deep web search engines

 

Treasure trove of scientific information.

Public Library of Science

 

Need a quote?

Quotes and Famous Sayings – The Quotations Page

 

Portal to many sites. Includes Thought of the Day, This Day in History and the always depressing US Debt Clocks.

Refdesk.com

 

Business and product related searches.

ThomasNet® – Product Sourcing and Supplier Discovery Platform

 

Another mine of useful information.

Welcome to INFOMINE Scholarly Internet Resource Collections