Monday, February 22, 2010

The wide world around us

I'm taking a slightly different tack today, and I'm not talking about the actual process of writing at all (despite the fact that I'm positively *quivering* with new plot ideas as each brick falls neatly into place in my new draft!).

Today I'm going to start a long-overdue trend and tell you a little about other sites that I like to visit. Some are great resources for writing and researching, some are inspiring authors and interesting agents, some are writing buddies, and some are just plain entertaining. These links will be going in our sidebar, and the others will be adding their own haunts to the list.

If you're not on the list, feel free to leave us a comment or drop us an email and let us know what we should be reading! We're always on the hunt for great sites, and we're excited to share our favourites with you.

So, without further ado, here are some of the places I hang out (by no means a complete list). And in the interests of clarity, I should say that sadly, not one single individual or group here has handed over the moolah for my ringing endorsement, nor has even asked to appear here. Most of them probably don't even know I exist *sob*. Ahem. Anyway!

Authors and agents

First up, I should point you in the direction of Best Author Blogs at the Internet Writing Journal, a site which lists the blogs of many published writers, plus a whole lot of other resources. The website that houses the list has many interesting articles.

Now, onto the select individuals whose blogs I actually read on a regular basis.

My first stop every day is Maureen Johnson's Twitter feed. She's a YA author who I discovered via our own Jen, and she cracks me up. She's hilarious. And her site also includes a blog in which she gives good writing advice. Love her.

For something completely different, another author I love is better known for his television work- super-chef and super-snark Anthony Bourdain. He blogs about travel, food and writing- three of my biggest passions- and he's articulate and fascinating, just like he is on TV. Go here and see what I mean.

For brilliant writing advice, it's impossible to go past Joanna Bourne, author of Regency romance novels The Spymaster's Lady and My Lord and Spymaster.

The original blogging author Neil Gaiman frequently makes excellent points and is entertaining at the same time.

Diana Gabaldon, who has sold well over 100 million books in her Outlander series, muses on writing and life at her blog and website. If you like her writing, you'll enjoy her blogging. And if you haven't read her books yet, then go get your hands on the first one and you'll never look back.

The first agent I'll mention is Miss Snark, the anonymous blogger who, for a couple of fabulous years, both terrorised and thrilled writers everywhere with her direct and deadly advice on the process of querying and publication. There are many guesses as to the real identity of Miss Snark, some now more accepted than others, but she gave up the blog a couple of years back. Thank goodness it's all still there (for now), because... well, read it and see. I defy you to get through a week of posts without laughing out loud at least three times.

A current favourite agent blogger is the lovely Nathan Bransford, who on top of giving great advice is also kind of hot, plus he runs frequent contests which are insanely popular. What's not to love?

Another of those excellent blogging agents is Kristin Nelson, who in addition to having two authors on the NY Times bestseller list right this second just happens to represent our very own Kristen.

Writing and publishing resources

The first thing in my mind when I consider fantastic resources for writers is the CompuServe Books and Writers Forum. Besides being the place where the four of us originally met, it's a haven for writers and readers alike, and a place where you can go to ask any imaginable research question, participate in insightful and interesting exercises (*cough* which Jen and I run), debate politics, discuss favourite books, or just plain hang out with kindred spirits.

Another great resource for writers- a rather indispensable one, actually- is the Preditors and Editors site. This one provides all kinds of amazing resources, for example sample query letters, but is best known for listing dodgy agents and operators who play on fledgling writers' insecurities and naivete to make a buck. Check here first before you send out your work.

Speaking of sending out your work, when you get to that stage, one of the best known resources is the Writers Market website and book. This is a fee-based service- as in, you have to either buy the book or join up as a member- but it has the details of pretty much every agent out there, and provides an easy submission process for many. I haven't used the site personally, but I do have an ancient copy of Writers Market, circa 1998, and the information in it is gold.

There are any number of Facebook groups out there which you can join to commune with other writers- but I'm not going to list any here since I don't participate in those.

Lastly a slightly amusing one- the Lulu Titlescorer, which is based on analysis of the titles of fifty years' worth of bestselling novels and gives you a rating for the probable success of your novel's title. For your entertainment, here's how we rate at the moment:

Between the Lines- 44.2% (phooey!)
Faking It- 20.1% (double phooey!)
West of the Moon- 22.9% (triple phooey!!)
Blood of the Heart- 10.2% (well, I do NOT know about all this!)

Will Lulu be right, or wrong?? Stay tuned to find out :) (hey, we ALL know the answer to that one already)

I think that's probably enough for now, though it doesn't nearly encompass everything I intended to put in this post. Besides, writing this post is taking up time in which I wish to be writing approximately 25,000 new words (I'm so, so excited about a few new plot twists I've discovered that for the first time in a while I just want to write ALL NIGHT). So, coming up sometime soon I shall continue with:

Friends who write
Research sources
And probably much more...

I'll add these links to the sidebar in the coming week, and the others will blog about their favourite places to visit sometime soon, too.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've gotta get back to work.


  1. Great summary Claire! I haven't visited Maureen Johnson's site in a while, so I'd better hop on over.

  2. My WIP isn't named yet, but I went to Lulu Titlescorer and typed in one of the titles I'm considering. It scored 69%. Hooray! I'm so relieved because with a title like that how can I not succeed?