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Fiction Authors' Tools

Updated: Oct 9, 2020

Every professional needs the best tools for the job and writers are no exception.

My advice to you is:

  • Get a good dictionary. You're going to want to make sure that you have a good, varied vocabulary and that the thesaurus has recommended the right alternative word.

  • If you are easily frustrated or liable to become flustered when you can't think of the word you want to use (like me), get a Reverse Dictionary -- these work by listing words associated with one searchable word; it's rather like a cross between a dictionary and thesaurus.

  • Look out for resource books on any subjects you want to include. If you don't have a library card, now is a good time to sign up for one, because a much less expensive alternative is a notebook, pen and information binge at your local library.

  • Consider purchasing an eReader -- eBooks tend to be less expensive than printed resource books and one eReader is much lighter and easier to carry around than multiple books.

The books I have found the most useful are...

  • The Compass Of Character by David Corbett: What makes a character good or evil? Why do they do what they do? This book will help you to make all characters much more realistic and believable; it also helps you to avoid unintentional stereotyping of a character.

  • The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman: This book is so called because most readers -- and agents/publishers -- make their minds up about a book while reading those first five pages, which makes those pages crucial. Those first five pages need to be like the pilot episode of a new series on TV -- strong; giving a good impression and a promise of what is to come. Make it exciting or get the reader to fall in love with your world and main character -- above all, make it count. That is what reading this book will help you to do.

  • She Sat He Stood: What Do Your Characters Do While They Talk? by Ginger Hanson: A very helpful book if you are good at dialogue, but lose track of what the characters are doing while they speak.

  • Writing Into The Dark by Dean Wesley Smith: I think this book has helped me the most. If you find it hard to write; if you find that plotting ahead makes it harder to continue writing and your stories falter and die; read this book. Plotting isn't for everyone and this book will give you the confidence to work without it.

Other Resources:

  • YouTube:

  • Author Level Up - Michael La Ronn has a wealth of knowledge and experience to impart on his YouTube channel. Click the link and see for yourself!

  • Fiction Technician - Jane Kalmes gives useful information on writing. Genres, sub-genres, plotting, utilising writing tools, etc.

  • Online courses supplied by other writers. I have signed up for a few and would recommend trying to find out what is being said about them first.

  • Joseph Michael has a lot on offer on his website; this is a good place to start looking.

What resources do you the most good? What would you recommend to a budding new writer, if you were asked?

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