Monday 5 July 2010


Right, you lot. For long enough now you have been taking my advice and gallavanting off into the sunset with it. I have no idea whether you've followed it or forgotten it, but it has been there for you and so have I. So, now I am asking for your help.

In fact, I have three ways in which I'm going to ask for your help, and the other two will come very soon. Here is your first task.

As you know, I'm writing Write To Be Published. (I will not let you forget this.)

In the section where I talk about rules for different genres, clearly I can't write a whole book about each genre. So, one thing I want to do is direct readers to a small but fabulous selection of resources for each genre. I have collected some myself but I thought I'd ask you for your suggestions. I will be looking for a mixture of books and websites / blogs. What I'll probably also do is collate all the suggestions into a resource list to put in a later post, but for the book I will choose only three (ish) for each genre.

Ideally, for each one, I ultimately want to have
  • an online resource which includes links / lists of other resources
  • an organisation that supports writers in that genre, whether pubbed or not - especially if that organistion has a list of resources on its website
  • a book
But it might not work out like that and if not, I just want the best resources of any sort. Please be cautious when recommending a blog: it needs to be one with likely longevity, otherwise it might not exist by the time the book comes out.

I do NOT want books such as the Writer's handbook or any general writing advice book or resource. (Those will come at the end of the book.)

The genres:
  1. Romantic - I have the Romantic Novelists Assoc
  2. Historical - I have the Historical Novels Review / Hist Novel Soc / Solander.
  3. Fantasy &/ sci-fi (I give reasons for tackling these together) - I have Jeffrey Carver's wonderful site
  4. Non-fic, including general and educational
  5. Other fiction - literary and commercial - these probably don't require resources, because they aren't technically genres and simply follow the general rules for fiction writing, but if you have any ideas, let me know
  6. Crime - I actually have enough, but happy to have more ideas for the list I'll put on the blog later.
So, over to you: your best recommendations for resources for each genre, please. This could end up being a really useful list for a blog post of resources.


Jane Travers said...

For Historical Fiction - you could do worse than which is @lucyinglis site. It's a mine of information.

A more specialist site, but jam-packed with Austen info, is (@austenonly) which also features a good deal of info on Austen's time and milieu, and not just her books.

Nicola Morgan said...

thanks, Jane.

For fantasy, I recommend a blog - Katherine Langrish ( is running a series at the moment about how to write fantasy.

catdownunder said...

I will ignore the blogs then Nicola because any of them could go before the book comes out but books? I assume you mean genre related but perhaps I could tell you what I find useful in my day job and see if that helps at all@
I would add for any genre a good baby name book. You might know what you want to call your characters but it can help to check the meaning, the spelling and the usage of the name - especially useful if you write historical fiction - you don't want to call a 15thC character Wendy when Barrie created the name! It might also prevent you using a name which is unsuitable for cultural reasons - or because it is only ever given to a male or a female.
And dictionaries of all sorts but especially anything that relates to the genre the writer is working in - as you know dictionaries come in all shapes and sizes, topics and languages! A 'visual' dictionary can be useful if you need to describe something and need a picture to be sure of something or how something should be. A dictionary of foreign words and phrases can help and an etymological dictionary can be invaluable.
Oh dear, you are probably dealing with all that elsewhere and I suspect it is too general but having an historical dictionary on hand if you are writing history seems sensible, as does a music dictionary if your character is musical or works in an orchestra etc.
Sorry, will stop spreading the cat hairs. Cat

Mary Hoffman said...

Oooh, I think I can help with some historical and world-building resources but I am now off to Charney till Thursday and it will have to wait a bit.

Can't wait for your book!

Ann Godridge said...

For crime writers I must recommend the Guppy chapter of Sisters in Crime. Guppy stands for the Great Unpublished. I've found it a very supportive online group - we discuss mysteries and crime fiction of all kinds, and it's a great place to find critique partners.

It's also a good group to ask the kind of questions that make most people look at you funny ;)

Sally Zigmond said...

Although I am not a crime writer, the following annual event is a great event for all aspiring writers of whatever genre--and a must for all crime writers. Mainly consisting of author talks, all the top literary agents and editors are there and Creative Thursday, an all-day writing workshop is well worth booking!

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

For science fiction/fantasy, I recommend the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. Writers at all levels can submit work for critique and crit others' work. They list other resources and have a mailing list where members can discuss writing topics. The website is at

Dan Holloway said...

Once Upon a Time I was a struggling writer of thrillers. I'm sure you already have it, but the book that helped me from where do I start to rubbish but at least finished was

Writing Mysteries, ed. Sue Grafton. Marvellous compendium of pieces

Harry Markov said...

I am more of a fantasy writer, so what I can supply is this:

Band of genre writers supply their own essays on the elements of fantasy along with essays on publishing in general and how they deal with certain aspects of the industry. It's the best for fantasy.

Colette Martin said...

Nicola, for non-fiction you might consider Christina Katz - the Prosperous Writer

Her blog:

Her book is Get Known Before the Book Deal

K M Kelly said...

For Science Fictio/Fantasy (as well as horror) I find the market listing sites and very useful.

Ebony McKenna. said...

Romance - Margie Lawson is a font of knowledge for writing - and it can apply to any genre. A good story is a good story.

She has a range of great online workshops that lots of my writer friends have raved about. (Haven't done them myself so don't know).

I think whatever genre you're writing in, you should join a local chapter or writers group. That's a great way to get information and learn about upcoming workshops and events.

That Guy! said...

SFWA for science fiction/fantasy

Janet o'Kane said...

There are three books by established crime writers that I would recommend:
'Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction' by Patricia Highsmith.
'Writing Crime Fiction' by HRF Keating.
'Write Away' by Elizabeth George.
All three are pretty idiosyncratic but contain some informative gems. I've found some of George's practices (though by no means all) to be extremely helpful in my own writing.
There's also 'Writing Crime Fiction' by Janet Laurence, which is more didactic.
And I'll echo Sally's recommendation of the Harrogate Crime Festival. Attending that is a bigger encouragement to get writing than any book can be (though, on reflection, that's probably not what you want to hear!).

Ann Godridge said...

The Samuel Delany book - About Writingt - Seven Essays, Four Letters - is one of the best I've ever read about writing. It's not just for science fiction writers. Some of the theory went a bit over my head, but I've never seen better on the actual process of making your writing better.

Queenie said...

Very useful sci-fi/fantasy how-to book: How To Write Science Fiction And Fantasy by Orson Scott Card (a doyen of the genre, and if he can lump them together, so can anyone).

Anonymous said...

I don't know if this site will be useful but I absolutely adore it and I think it's a useful place to hone query-writing skills. It's the query shark blog. It's at:

Also, Nathan Bransford is an agent who blogs very regularly and provides a lot of links to articles that are relevant to the book industry in some way or other.

Nicola Morgan said...

Cat - did JMB create the name Wendy? I didn't know that. That's interesting!

Mary, I'm very jealous about you going to Charney!

Thanks, all for your ideas. Relaly helpful. I'll create a single blog post or maybe blog page for them quite soon.

catdownunder said...

He used it - turned the term "fwendy", which Margaret Henley (daughter of WE Henley) used to call him, into "Wendy"...there, more than you needed to know but it shows why books like that are useful to have on the shelves!