Monday 8 November 2010


(Edited to add: I have recently - April 2018 - removed some links, as this was written in 2010 and I have no time to go and check them all for you. I'm sure there are loads of newer resources but this blog is now preserved in aspic so I have no obligation to go hunting for you any more!)

I've been making my list of resources for you. Many of these are in my book, Write to be Published. This list is by no means exhaustive, though it was exhausting to put together. Nor do I believe you should read all of these, or even a tenth – there’s a danger in reading too many how-to books and blogs instead of simply getting on with the writing. Don’t overload yourself and don’t feel you have to read a certain amount before you start writing. The time you’ll learn most is when you’re actually writing.

Take what works for you. Be magpie-like, selfish, experimental, self-challenging, but do not tie yourself in knots wondering why something doesn’t make sense. If it doesn’t make sense to you, it’s not for you.

There are both books and on-line materials. I haven’t read all the books, but if I haven’t read them I’ve heard about them from people I trust. I have looked at all the blogs and websites and chosen them for what I found there, but on-line resources do change so I make no promises! It will also depend on what you’re looking for.

I make no apologies for those I’ve left out. It simply would have been impossible to include all the good stuff out there. Go find.
* indicates that the resource is US based, but I would not include it here if I didn’t think it was just as useful to all writers.

YR indicates that the resource focuses on the markets for young readers.

From Pitch to Publication by Carole Blake 
The New Writer - – subscription magazine
The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook
The W&A Yearbook Guide to Getting Published by Harry Bingham
The Writer’s Essential Tackle Box by Lynn Price (US but with UK edition pubbed by Snowbooks) *
Writers’ Forum - - subscription magazine
Writers’ Guide to Copyright and Law by Helen Shay
The Writer’s Handbook
Writers’ Market – UK & Ireland

(Many of these are by American writers. The writing craft doesn't change as you cross an ocean so everything applies equally. It's the publishing process and markets that may differ.)
The Aesthetic Validity of Marriage by Kierkegaard - highbrow!
The Art and Craft of Writing and Getting Published by Michael Seidman *
The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
The Art of Fiction by David Lodge – more basic than Gardner's one 
Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande – though published in 1934, this is still relevant because it’s about writing habit and method *
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lammot *
The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers by Betsy Lerner – wide-ranging and thought-provoking *
Booklife by Jeff Vandermeer - guides us through emotional and practical aspects of writing*
How Not To Write a Novel – Howard Mittelmark – basic *
No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty – all about NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month but full of useful tips about writing processes *
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – much more than a memoir *
Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell – techniques and exercises in plotting *
Poetics by Aristotle - amazing what that guy knew about structure and meaning
Solutions for Writers: Practical Craft Techniques for Fiction & Non-Fiction by Sol Stein *
Your Writing Coach by Jurgen Woolf – very detailed *
Wannabe a Writer by Jane Wenham Jones – as the title suggests, light-hearted but with serious usefulness
Write Away by Elizabeth George *
Writing a Novel by Nigel Watts – starts at the beginning

First, resources from industry professionals. Some of these are also writers, but they are primarily agents, editors or other professionals.

Creative Penn - – Joanna Penn, Australian writer with good advice for writers
Duotrope - - source of resources on all genres, incl poetry
The Forest for the Trees -  - writer and editor *
How Publishing Really Works - – Jane Smith, editor with wide knowledge of industry) [No longer in operation but still worth its weight in gold]
Kidlit - – Mary Kole, children’s authors’ agent, with sensible advice of interest to all * YR
Nathan Bransford - – agent and author with much advice *
Pubrants - – another agent has a rant, but gently
Reedsy - Useful overview of avoiding scams:
Query Shark - – agent analyses and dissects queries *
Rachelle Gardner - – another agent with generous advice *
The State of Independents - - a blog by independent booksellers
Victoria Mixon - - editor and writer with no-nonsense advice *
Vulpes Libris - – a collaboration of literary readers writing about books
Writer Beware  - – essential for avoiding scams *

Whatever your genre, as part of your first step to find information, see if the writers you admire have blogs or websites. Many are generous with advice.

Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction by Patricia Highsmith 
Writing Crime Fiction by HRF Keating 
Writing Crime Fiction: Making Crime Pay by Janet Laurence 
Writing Mysteries, ed. Sue Grafton.

Crimespot - – a collection of crime fiction blogs
CrimeSpace - 
Crimefest - 
Mystery Writing is Murder - 
Noir - Allan Guthrie, crime writer and agent, has a useful links 
SinC Guppies, Sisters in Crime - 
Theakston’s Crime Festival in Harrogate -

Romantic Novelists’ Association - -  very welcoming; has a New Writers’ Scheme.

Loves Me, Loves Me Not – ed. Katie Fforde

A brief internet search will bring up a wealth of sites, groups and forums – take your pick! An especially recommended site is


Georgian London - - writer Lucy Inglis
The Historical Novel Society - – has many links and ideas from those who know. Also see its magazine, the Historical Novels Review, which “aims to review every new work of adult historical fiction released in the USA or the UK” as well as a selection of titles for children and teenagers. It also publishes Solander, –  with interviews, articles, short fiction and comment
The Virtual Victorian - - writer Essie Fox
Emma Darwin and Sally Zigmond’s blogs – see above

Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, SCBWI - and the UK one
The Scattered Authors Society - - wonderful support network and includes many friendly writers at all stages of their career.

Children’s Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, published by A&C Black
Writing for Children by Linda Strachan
Write to be Published by Nicola Morgan


How To Write Science Fiction And Fantasy by Orson Scott Card

Forums and blogs for and by fantasy and sci-fi writers abound on the internet. The writers are often supremely teckie and there’s a world of writing out there on a quick search.
Note especially:
Jeffrey A. Carver - - includes comprehensive free online course for fantasy and sci-fi writers
Katherine Langrish’s Seven Miles of Steel Thistles -  - for children’s fantasy writing
On-line writing workshop - – for fantasy, sci-fi and horror

Short Circuit: A Guide to the Art of the Short Story ed. Vanessa Gebbie
How to Write and Sell Short Stories by Della Galton
Creating Short Fiction by Damon Knight - literary market

ON-LINE (see also the writers who blog section, and Duotrope, The New Writer and Writers’ Forum, already mentioned):
Biscuit Publishing -
The Short Review -
The Short Story, including the BBC National Short Story Award -
Tindal Street - – this publisher has story writing tips
Womagwriter - – invaluable, by a successful women’s magazine writer

Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz and


Rebecca Brown said...

What an incredibly helpful list, thank you! Not only to gave so many resources listed but also the way you've grouped them so I can easily find the ones relevant to me.

Many of these I've already known about which us great as it helps to think I've been getting good advice, but there are many new sources I'll be checking out asap. Er, when I'm not writing, I mean :/

Thanks again!

Keren David said...

Great list - can I just mention a new blog that's starting very soon? Crime Central at has been set up by a group of authors who write crime novels for teens - it will feature anything and everything to do with crime writing, from a wide range of writers, with giveaways and competitions too. It's primarily for readers, but I hope that writers will find it useful and interesting as well.

Rebecca Brown said...

What an incredibly helpful list, thank you! Not only to gave so many resources listed but also the way you've grouped them so I can easily find the ones relevant to me.

Many of these I've already known about which us great as it helps to think I've been getting good advice, but there are many new sources I'll be checking out asap. Er, when I'm not writing, I mean :/

Thanks again!

catdownunder said...

Oh - am exhausted just reading this...glad to see you included ABBA - one of my favourite blogs.

With respect to non-fiction there is one thing you cannot specify but can state - blogs/discussion groups in the author's area of non-fiction. e.g. Knitters have something called Ravelry which is a very large and complex site full of information, groups and all manner of useful information and sources of feedback. I know there are other perhaps smaller equivalents in other areas and not just for hobbies but every occupation. The tricky thing is to make them work for you and not you work for them!

Unknown said...

You've exceeded yourself in helping us all get published. Excellent list, I know some of these already and will look into a few I don't but look interesting. Xx

Anonymous said...

An amazing list - thank you! I would include the Plot Whisperer ( in your exhausting list - she is an expert on the universal story form and I found her assistance invaluable in plotting my novel.

Can't wait to comb through your list and discover the ones I don't know.

Elen C said...

Great List, Nicola
If Editorial Anonymous hadn't apparently given up I'd have included her.
And I'm not sure how useful Nathan will be now he's not an agent. It may turn into a blog about US tv shows.
I also like Litopia as an online forum. Others like Absolutely Write, but I find it a bit too sprawling.
And Congrats on the Carnegie nomination!!

Dan Holloway said...

Good heavens, I want to give you the hugest hug. much of my Masters dissrtation was based on Kierkegaard's Aesthetic Validity of Marriage. It's the very best account of internal conflict (ina writerly sense) you'll ever see - the aesthetic as conflict against time. Might I suggest that if you include this, you also nod to its companion piece within Either/Or (I'm not sure you can get hold of AVM outside of it anyway), The Immediate Erotic Stages - which on the surface is about music as opposed to writing, but still has a lot to say about the portrayal of conflict.

catdownunder said...

Ummm...for Downunder "Australian Writer's Marketplace" - comes out annually and includes NZ - would you consider that important enough to include?

Dan Holloway said...

You may have mentioned why you haven't included them, but Publishers Weekly and The Bookseller are invaluable for any writer who wants to keep abreast of the industry

David John Griffin said...

An excellent list of resources, thank you Nicola. :-)

Tw years ago, while on holiday in the Isle of Wight, I went to a church fete. Rummaging through the books on the bookstall, I found a copy of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and bought it for the princely sum of 25p. I was chuffed all day!


Emma Darwin said...

Absolutely brilliant list, Nicola - thank you.

A terrific book about voice in non-fiction - just a crucial as for fiction - and how to find yours, is Ben Yagoda's The Sound on the Page.

Lots of the practical suggestions of how to work on your voice are also applicable for fiction, too, not to mention any non-fiction we find ourselves writing...

Emma Darwin said...

Oh, and many thanks for mentioning This Itch of Writing - I'm honoured!

Unknown said...

I don't disagree with any of your choices and I'm going to save this list for future reference. Thank you.


Jane Smith said...

Nicola, I've always found the forums at very helpful; then there's Stphen King's book On Writing, and Dorothea Brande's Becoming a Writer, and Susan Sellers' Taking Reality By Surprise. All excellent, inspiring books.

Fab list, by the way.

Katherine Langrish said...

Magnificent list, Nicola, and thanks for including Steel Thistles. There are certainly some here I shall want to check out.

blondezvous said...

An excellent list. I absolutely *love* How Not To Write a Novel, it's such a hoot (even though it's not the most helpful resource, in terms of the fact that if you need a lot of the advice in there, you should probably be thinking about other ways to spend your time... ). I'd recommend some more of the resources in my bookmarks folder but I'm pretty sure a lot of them came from this site in the first place!

Carolb said...

Great list- something for everyone. I'll certainly be investigating a number of the suggestions. Thanks.

JaneF said...

Wow - I'm going to be busy for a while with these! Thank you.

I would also recommend 'Solutions for Novelists' by Sol Stein. (I like the way he uses examples to illustrate his points.)

Nadia Damon said...

Thanks for taking the time and trouble to compile this - it's much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

The follow-up to Wannabe a Writer? by Jane Wenham-Jones is now available. It's called Wannabe a Writer We've Heard Of? See our shiny new web site for details.

Carol E Wyer said...

Many thanks for your list. You are so helpful.

Conda Douglas said...

Great, wonderful list, thank you!

Kath McGurl said...

Weeeee! You've recommended me! Am in an advanced state of chuffedness.

Good non-fiction online resource here

Tess Niland Kimber said...

Thanks Nicola - you've done a fantastic job here. Just what we all need. And thank you for including me.
This is just a taste to show us how brilliant your book will be.

Nicola Morgan said...

Thanks so much for all your recommendations, folks. Am working on them all!

Teresa Ashby said...

What a fantastic list - and I couldn't believe it when I saw you'd put me on there. I feel so chuffed - thank you.

Alison Runham said...

Please miss, putting this on here because you said to, beggin' your pardon (tugs forelock).

online home of Writing Magazine/Writers' News