Writers Writing Resources

Discussion in 'Writing' started by Radthorne, Dec 20, 2002.

  1. Radthorne

    Radthorne Keeper of the Hikari

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    I'd like to start a thread of resources for writers, and if the powers that be deem it worthy, perhaps even make it a sticky thread.

    Please try to keep this list focused on things that assist in the craft of writing, rather than other things like getting published, etc. The resources can be books or websites, preferably ones that you have personally used and have helped you in your writing.

    Here's my first contribution: Kate Monk's Onomastikon. This is a very detailed compilation of actual names from around the world from many cultures, nicely indexed, with some background on how each of these cultures' names developed. It is a great source for either actual character names to use, or even better for figuring out how to make fictitious names that follow the same pattern of a culture you may be emulating.

    The Onomastikon has traveled around a bit on the web since it was created in 1997. It's current location is on a role-playing game site; you can find it here.
     
  2. I Brian

    I Brian SFF Chronicles

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    Last edited: Oct 19, 2004
  3. Arc

    Arc Registered User

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    I've seen more than one person point to "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk as an excellent guide.
     
  4. Aik Haw

    Aik Haw Mystic Cyborg

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    All I know about writing...............John Marsden
    Conflict, Action and Suspense......William Noble
     
  5. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    Re: Writer's Writing Resources

    Worthy enough it is, and duly stuck! :)
     
  6. Tanith

    Tanith Cultivate Individuality

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    Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. Not a book on the mechanics of writing (there are tons of those), but one focusing on the fire of enthusiasm that keeps this genre veteran writing after half a century. It's the most inspirational writing book I've ever run across.

    Tanith :)
     
  7. Kirby

    Kirby Hlœgiligr!

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    On Writing by Stephen King - more autobiographical, but it's also inspiring too. He does talk about his personal views on writing, some of it makes pretty good sense.
    :)
     
  8. Hereford Eye

    Hereford Eye Just Another Philistine

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    An oldie but goodie: The Craft of Science Fiction edited by Reginald Bretnor with input from Pournelle, Niven, Anderson, Pohl, Herbert, Nourse, Spinrad, Brunner, Clement, Williamson, MacLean, Ellison, and Sturgeon. Barnes and Noble 1977
     
  9. Patois

    Patois New Member

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    Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block (If anything blasts away writer's block, this is it!)

    All the rest in my library are specialized--from professional disease books to name books to mythology books.
     
  10. I Brian

    I Brian SFF Chronicles

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    "From pitch to publication" - Carole Blake (respectable London literary agent)

    Important points on how to submit, and the process of acceptance and publication.
     
  11. Miriamele

    Miriamele Witch of the Woods

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    I own a number of books on the craft of writing:

    Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy by Crawford Kilian--covers the basics, this book is probably for beginners.

    On Writing by Stephen King--a highly inspirational book.

    The Elements of Style by Strunk and White--no writer should be without this handy book!

    Steering the Craft by Ursula LeGuin--this book is concerned with the basic elements of narrative, and is laid out as a series of writing exercises. Good to get the creative juices flowing.

    Finding Your Writer's Voice by Thaisa Frank & Dorothy Wall--this book's content is very general and abstract and although some mind find it helpful I don't believe I finished reading it.

    The Writer's Complete Fantasy Reference by Writer's Digest Books. Each chapter in this book is written by a different author, and there's lots of useful information in here! Everything from the anatomy of a castle and parts of armour, to an overview of world cultures and mythologies. Very useful!
     
  12. Sci Fantasia

    Sci Fantasia New Member

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    Most of my sources are online.

    I have Generators to help me come up with names of people, places, etc and a very useful Mythology site for background information on myths and legends.

    And of course SFF World has loads of articles :D

    Fanta
     
  13. Hereford Eye

    Hereford Eye Just Another Philistine

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    If realism is important to you, then I recommend you add these to your library:
    On Killing by Dave Grossman. The sociology and psychology of the act with ideas and studies that may surprise you but will definitely educate you.
    Woman - An Intimate Geography because I always want my female characters to be real, not my juvenile fantasy of what it means to be female.
    Survival of the Prettiest - The Science of Beauty by Nancy Etcoff for the same reason.
     
  14. Ken Korczak

    Ken Korczak New Member

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    One of the best for aspiring SF writers is Ben Bova's "Notes to a Science Fiction Writer." Bova is former editor of Analog and Omni, and also has published about a gazillion SF books. Anyway, his book uses his own short stories for analysis and tips. He talks about the basics -- plot, character, background, etc.

    A warning to all: Make sure you spend more time actually writing than reading any of these kinds of books. Because that's what it eventually gets down to -- doing the writing. You can read a millions "how to" books and still not become a writer, just as you can read a million "how to lose weight" books, and not lose a single pound -- unless you practice what the books teach you!

    But the key word is "Practice!" -- That means, "Writing!"

    Sorry if this sounds preachy.
     
  15. Miriamele

    Miriamele Witch of the Woods

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    You don't sound preachy, Ken--you have a good point. I'm a good example of the problem you're speaking of--I've read lots of books on writing (see above) but I haven't actually written that much! Mostly it's because I don't have the time--I'm in school, I'm a mother and I work--but part of it is just laziness.

    It's true, practice is the best teacher. If you practice and read all those books, then you'll be laughing. :)
     
  16. trailhound

    trailhound New Member

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    Hi

    Any thoughts on how to seek The Muses' Favor?

    There are days when The Cup of Their Love, It Brimmeth over.

    And days when I feel like slinking into the nearest wormhole and work on un-existifying myself

    I'd like to pare down the latter.
     
  17. Ken Korczak

    Ken Korczak New Member

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    Hey Trailhound:

    When the Muse abandons me, I force something. How? I just start writing, even if I don't have any idea, or maybe just the tiniest scrap of an idea. I keep my fingers in motion, forcing my brain to kick into gear -- I think the creative mind will eventually follow the physical body if you start forcing your body through the mere motions of writing.

    It's amazing how I start out writing just random sentences, when suddenly, the Muse jumps on, the brain kicks in, and before you know it, you're off on a piece of writing that seems to be going somewhere. They key is not to worry if you're only writing nonsense and dribble at first -- just keep the process going until it works, or you pass out, which ever comes first.

    Have you ever "push started" a car with a dead battery? When you get rolling, you pop the clutch, and the darned things starts for some reason of brutal mechanical physics. I really believe the creative process works in much the same way. It can be "push started."

    Here's another idea which I read that the SF great James Blish often used -- he plagarized from himself! When Blish was stuck for something to write, he went back over his completed work and started writing a knock-off of that previous piece of work -- and eventually it turned original. As an added bonus, you can't get arrested for plagarizing yourself!

    One more interesting anecdote: I read that Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards often uses an interesting method of coming up with a new song -- he plays 25 of his favorite songs written by someone else, and then, and in his words, "hopes something good falls of the end of my guitar."

    Now -- get thee to the keyboard!!!!!!!
     
  18. Duarh

    Duarh New Member

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    I can confirm the recommendations for

    Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block

    Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury

    :) arrived from amazon yesterday. Very nice, inspirational books. Thanks to the recommenders in this thread!
     
  19. I Brian

    I Brian SFF Chronicles

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    Well, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of aaallll ages...

    ...I'm now in the process of building up an extensive list of internet writing resources, by category where I can.

    Click on this link and look out the "For Writers" board.

    It's still an ongoing project - I've only had a little time this afternoon to start - but hopefully it'll become very comprehensive.

    There should be something useful there for any writer - but if you have any requests, make it there and I'll do some serious surfing to find some decent links.

    Anyway, have fun,

    Brian
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2003
  20. trailhound

    trailhound New Member

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    Thanks, Ken.

    Forcing it thru works, yeah. Sometimes need to kick the chassis a bit, though
    I plagiarize from self too, actually! Recycled stuff, turns out to be interesting once in a way.
    I find your rock'n'roll references most apposite. 'm a drummer/lyrikist. We used to do cover versions of some Stones stuff ( did more of The Who though)