Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday 5: Writing Tools

I spent last Sunday indulging in my most favorite shopping treat ever: Barnes and Noble. I had one of those days where I gave myself permission to buy whatever I wanted at B&N.

"I'm supporting the publishing industry," I told the husband. He said not a word, and instead kindly distracted the whippersnapper while I browsed. The whippersnapper is also a fan of B&N. He loves the Thomas play area, but also, he always gets a few new books out of the deal.

This is all a long-winded way of saying that I was looking at writing books and magazines (in addition to the fiction). I was thinking about those items that I regularly read or consult to help grow my knowledge of the craft and the industry. Here are five:

1. Writer's Digest Magazine
I've had a subscription to this for a while, and I love it. It always has something new for me to learn, and its online arm is really quite superb.

2. The Writer Magazine
I like this one, too. Its content mirrors Writer's Digest, but is different enough to be good. I also have a subscription to this.

3. Wikipedia
Well, come on. This is my all-time favorite research tool. I love playing "Wiki follow" -- a game I made up whereupon I look up something and then get distracted by the related links in the article, and then follow them and follow them and follow them. Pretty soon you're reading about how cheese was invented, when you'd started by looking up the name of the actor who plays the Emperor in Star Wars (Ian McDiarmid). Star Wars to cheese. Sweet!

4. Google Earth
Download it, because it's just fantastic. And it helped a lot when I was refreshing myself on the basics of Santorini, Greece for my novel set there. It goes deeper than Google maps, which is still good too.

5. Jane Friedman's There are No Rules Best Tweets post
Now, this is not to say there aren't other useful blogs out there -- because there are. But Jane Friedman at Writer's Digest does this one in particular every Sunday (thereabouts), and it's nearly as good as my Friday Google Reader Roundup. Jane covers things I don't have the bandwidth for, and I always learn something about the craft from the list.

Have any to add to the list?


Simon C. Larter said...

I will not help you by adding to the list. It'd be un-nemesis-y. (But if you've a few days on your hands to kill, you could always read Anne Mini's Author, Author! blog. Comprehensive? You might say that.)

Jane Friedman said...

Really appreciate the mention of Best Tweets. Sounds like I need to become a follower of your Google Reader Roundup! :)

Cynthia Reese said...

Essential writing blogs: Miss Snark and Query Shark. They show newbies what NOT to do.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Great list -- here's another one: is pretty much awesome.

Sierra Godfrey said...

I was on a plane today and unable to respond....but uh oh, Jane, you know I was being facetious when I said your Best Tweets is almost as good as my roundup, yes? Jane? Right?

Cynthia and Amber -- I agree those three are great. I regularly check querytracker and Queryshark, in fact.

The above 5 resources are my top 5 though.

Meghan Ward said...

I want to know what books you bought at Barnes & Noble! I know you didn't buy Wikipedia :) And my munchkin loves the Thomas area, too.

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