I’m an avid reader of fiction writing sites such as Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America or any of the blogs on my blog roll. I can’t get enough of learning how other people write, what elements make for good fiction, character development, etc. The more I read this stuff, though, the more it occurs to me that anyone can have the formula for writing, but they still need to the ability to write (or at least cultivate it) to make the story fly.
I was thinking specifically of the concepts of beginning chapters with hooks and ending with cliffhangers that I came across at Fiction Writer’s Connection tip sheet on revising your manuscript. Does blindly following these techniques result in homogeneous writing, i.e., if you put all writing done according to these guidelines in a bin and pull one out, can you distinguish one author from another? I suspect the answer will be sometimes. Ultimately, it will be our ability to write well and develop a compelling story that will set us apart.
As competitive writing (commercial writing?) is a new concept to me, I’m trying to sort through all this stuff without worrying too much about it. It’s easy to slip down that rabbit hole and never find my way to completing my current project.
My five favorite sites for writing resources are:
- Wikipedia – Quick and easy reference for just about anything on earth. I find it a nice way to get an overview on a subject or delve into the particulars. Lots of links to other related sites within the side. Loads of outside links as well.
- Dictionary.com – Part of the larger Reference.com – Fairly self-explanatory.
- Google Alerts – I subscribe to alerts related to writing fiction. That’s the coolest – you can subscribe to any search terms relevant to your interests – just type in your keywords. I recommend the digest format to keep your alerts to a minimum. It’s a nice way to find things that you don’t see in your regular blog feeds. If you don’t subscribe, I highly recommend it.
- Any number of Agent Blogs (or all of them), especially those in your area of interest. These blogs are incestuous, but in a good way – Et In Arcaedia, Ego., Nathan Bransford, BookEnds, LLC, and Janet Reid.
- SpecFicWorld.com – a nice clearing house for all things speculative fiction.