Before I do this month’s roundup of helpful writing sites and blog posts, I just want to send out my thoughts and prayers to those in New Zealand affected by the earthquake. If you wish to donate to the New Zealand Red Cross to help out those affected, here is a link: New Zealand Red Cross
Onto the most helpful sites and posts I’ve come across this month:
This is by far the best site on punctuation I’ve found. It covers colons, semicolons, commas, dashes and apostrophes. It is very straightforward and clear and makes understanding how to use punctuation very easy. I always thought I was good at punctuation, but reading so many complicated posts on punctuation on the internet has often left me confused on whether I’m doing it right. This site is now my go to site when I need clarity.
The Very Basics: Ten Things All Writers Need To Do
Ten things writers should do if they want a shot at getting published.
Killzone author James Scott Bell outlines opening chapter no nos based on statements by literary agents.
Five Tips for Your First Five Pages
From things you shouldn’t do in your opening to things you should do.
This post explains the difference between a conversation and dialogue.
8 Ways to Pile on the Fear in Your Horror Fiction
Great post for horror writers looking for ways to amp up the fear factor in their writing.
A look at the way J.K. Rowling uses touch in the Harry Potter series as a way of showing emotion, rather than telling.
A great post for fantasy writers on creating a magic system that fits best with the world in your novel.
Lovable and Admirable Characters
We all want to create characters our readers will want to read more about. Author Denise Jaden shares some advice she received about qualities your main character should have to ensure he/she is engaging and lovable.
How to Get the Biggest Bang for Your Plot Point
This post outlines where your main plot points occur in your manuscript and what you should be doing at these points to create a deeper connection with your reader.
Tightening Your (Manuscript’s) Belt
A checklist for eliminating unnecessary prose.
7 Ways Glee Can Improve Your Fiction Writing
Joanna Penn uses the popular TV show ‘Glee’ as a metaphor for ways to improve your writing.
How to Write a Bio for Your Query
Dot point list of what to include and also includes an example of what to do if you have no writing credentials.
What Your Query Says About Your Book
Your query letter is your first impression of your manuscript. This post tells you how much an agent can tell about your manuscript just by reading your query letter.
Corinne Jackson shares an original query letter she wrote that kept getting rejected, tips she received from a literary agent to improve the query and a revised query she wrote using the tips from the agent that resulted in requests for partials and fulls.
Just for Fun
For anyone on Twitter, you’ll be able to relate to these ‘stages’.