For Writers

This page is my place to put writing resources that have helped me over the years. So, if you’re currently pursuing a career as a writer, starting out, or just thinking about plunging into the mad, mad world of storytelling, I hope these resources will help.

BorderA question has been coming up a lot lately when I do workshops: What’s the difference between a trope (which is good) and a cliché (which is not).

A trope is a broader type of cliché , like a kickass heroin in Urban Fantasy or a klutzy heroine in Cozy Mysteries. Readers love tropes in the genres they enjoy and if you want them to buy your books, you have to have them. You make them fresh and interesting with unique characters and the events they experience.

Clichés are details that usually reflect lazy writing. They’ve been done over and over again like redheads with a temper, characters describing themselves (especially by looking in the mirror), messages in dreams, or ethnic characters with mystical powers.

To discover the tropes your genre needs to have, read the best writers in your genre and look for similarities.

Also see,  Not only informative, but very entertaining. 🙂

My Latest Finds

NEW! Can’t say enough good things about this book on outlining: Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker. I’ve had a lot of training in storytelling and her simple, straightforward take was incredible.

A humorous take on the worst writing advice you’ll ever get. 🙂

Also heard Chris Fox on The Rocking Self Publishing Podcast talking about writing 5,000 words a day. I was impressed. Here’s his website:


Open book icon

Via @AllyABishop, a consolidation of WORKSHEETS FOR WRITERS on Jamie Gold’s blog. A great one-stop-shopping resource!

Want to write faster? Janet Avery has an article on turning that negative voice in your head toward a better place so you can write. Thanks Janet!

How to Start Writing a Book — 9 Sources of Blockbuster Ideas at the blog, Writania.

Popular Topics!

Character Traits List – Create characters that can deliver a compelling story.

Kick Writer’s Block to the Curb – Tips to keep you writing.

Streamline Your Writing: Know What Happens Next – a unique technique for quick plotting.

 Why Your Amazon Kindle Book Could Be Far Bigger Than You Imagine — Jonathan Gunson

Catherine Caffeinated – Fun blog and fabulous article about the 11 sizzling ingredients in a great book description.

Some good tips for writing cleaner and faster: Writing Better Fiction Faster. A LOT of free material to glean through here.

A cool resource link can be found here: The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar. I love lists that have the power to stimulate my imagination and get me out of a writing jam. Thanks Kottke!

If you want to explore the Dramatica Pro method of storytelling, Dramaticapedia is a good way to start. The Dramatica way is a mind-bender which I have vowed to master. Until then, I’ll take all the help jamming it into my brain that I can get.

For grammar tips and industry news, I really like the articles C.S. publishes on her blog Live, Write, Thrive. Also Grammar Girl.

For books that I can’t live without, Save the Cat by Blake Snyder rises straight to the top. (Also see Blake Snyder Tools and Beat Sheets.)

Also, Donald Maas Writing the Breakout Novel.

If videos are your preferred learning method, check out Kaye Dacus’ blog “Becoming a Writer: Advice from Best Selling Authors.

I’ll continually add to this list as I come across information, so check back often!

What do you think?