Monday, July 12, 2010

resources for a new (ish) fiction writer

I had the pleasure, recently, of talking about writing with a younger-than-me friend of mine who's at the fun scribbling-pages-and-pages stage of writing. She's sharp as a tack and is seriously considering writing professionally someday. 

I'm not that far ahead of her, but I'm far enough ahead that I've done more research than she has about the professional side of the writing life, and so I wrote her a letter highlighting my favorite resources out there for writers of fiction. After I sent it, it occurred to me that it might be helpful to other folks, so I thought I'd put it on the blog.  

Like I said, I'm not that far along the path, but I'm far enough along that I've had the pleasure of reading words from people who are not just far along the path, but have gone all the way to the end and come back to help others. The following excerpt from my letter is an account of some of those brilliant and generous folks:

To start you off, here are two books I've found really helpful:

Writing the Breakout Novel – Maass, Donald
Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need – Snyder, Blake

Maass' book is full of great stuff, meant for novelists. Snyder's book is full of great stuff, meant for screenwriters. However, you'll find them both worth your while.

Online, there are tons of great resources, especially blogs by authors and literary agents. For what it's worth, I tend to find the ones by literary agents a little more helpful. Authors are always (rightly) trying to sell their stuff, whereas the agents who start blogs seem mostly to be trying to 1) improve the quality of the material offered to them and 2) attract great new talent.

Here are a few of my favorite agent blogs; you can find more by following the links on the blogs themselves:

1) Chip MacGregor. He's my favorite. There's a lot of publishing business stuff on there that you don't have to worry about quite yet, but if you read his archives, you'll find real gold. Plus, he's Scottish, Christian and has a great sense of humor.

2) Rachelle Gardner. Again, lots of great stuff if you read through the archives.

3) Janet Reid. She's a literary agent who runs the infamous Query Shark blog, but her personal blog has more good stuff for when you're starting out.

4) Finally, BookEnds. Look for their "must-read" post list in the sidebar.

Next, we have the Snowflake Method website. Randy Ingermanson's a genius, and he offers a great, free e-newsletter you can sign up for.

Last of all, I'd be remiss not to mention the American Christian Fiction Writers. Great group. It does cost to join, and you might want to wait till you're a little closer to querying, but if you poke around on their website, there's some cool stuff.

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

No comments: