A while back I decided that, hey I also want to write a novel. Only problem is that I had no idea how to begin. Of course going to writing classes would be an option, but they take time and money. Luckily I love doing research, so I delved into the web in search of guidance. Preferable cheap or free guidance.
I waded through the murky descriptions on how to find your muse or some such. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott is an excellent book if you want to explore your artistic nature. I grew up around artists. Finding my muse wasn’t the problem. I wanted the technical side explained to me. The nitty-gritty about plot and structure.
What follows is the resources I found to be the most useful for a complete beginner.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – Stephen King – book
It half memoir, half sensible writing advise. It’s a fascinating book. He describes his childhood, career and the accident that he was in.
This is the only Stephen King book that I have been able to finish so far. (I started Dark Tower twice at very different times of my life and just could not get into it.)
Writing Excuses – podcast
Writing Excuses is a podcast about fifteen minute long hosted by authors Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells and Howard Tayler. They refer you to start at season 10, but if you’re like me, a complete noob, then I recommend starting from the beginning. The podcasts are filled with information, advice and interviews. I definitely learned to most from these podcasts.
Brandon Sanderson lectures – youtube
Yes, Mister Sanderson again. He is quite the educator. Considering what master classes his novels are, it’s good to sit up and pay attention. Some of his lectures have been recorded and put on youtube. They are easy to find and contain a wealth of information.
Writing About Writing – blog
Chris Brecheen’s blog is about writing. Pure and simple. Clever and funny posts about a range of topics on writing and with some awesome guest bloggers.
The Creative Writer’s Toolbelt – podcast
Andrew J Chamberlain hosts a podcast that gives advice on writing and interviews with writers and artists.
Grammer girl – podcast
Probably the one I need the most. I have trouble staying awake while reading grammar books. Mignon Fogarty teaches grammar with her entertaining podcast.
Pullum on Passives – youtube
While learning about writing, I’ve been told to avoid passive voice as much as possible. Unfortunately it has never been clear to me what passive voice is. Not until I found this series of videos by Prof Geoffrey K. Pullum. He explains in a way that makes sense to me and debunks some misconceptions about Passive voice.
My book is nowhere near done, but I wouldn’t have been able to start without these wonderful people sharing information. Now if only I can figure out how to finish it.
Not to worry. I haven’t forgotten about Strunk and White.