Last week, our local group of SCBWI members (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) got together for our monthly meet up with a very particular theme in mind: to share our favorite craft tools. Books about writing, websites, podcasts… There are so many resources available nowadays — both free and paid — that sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. Hopefully, the list we compiled will help!
Disclaimer: I’m only familiar with a few of these resources. These are not personal recommendations, but a group effort that I’m sharing because it may be of interest to other writers.
Writing Children’s Books for Dummies – Lisa Rojani Buccieri
The Anatomy of Story – John Truby
Take off your Pants – Libbie Hawker (a short CliffsNotes-style book on outlining)
Second Sight – Cheryl B. Klein
Story Engineering – Larry Brooks
Story Genius – Lisa Cron
Rules for the Dance/ A Poetry Handbook – Mary Oliver (on writing poetry)
The Ode Less Travelled – Stephen Fry (on writing poetry)
The Practice of Poetry – Robin Behn and Chase Twichell
The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron (on creativity)
Writing Down the Bones – Natalie Goldberg (on creativity)
Also, one member recommends learning lessons directly from published books – if you want advice on characters, for instance, or chapter openings, pick up a pile of books and flip through them to see how the authors did it.
Podcasts: (many of these websites also have blog posts on writing)
Nina LaCour https://www.ninalacour.com/podcast
88 Cups of Tea https://88cupsoftea.com
Literaticast (by agent Jennifer Laughran) https://www.jenniferlaughran.com/literaticast
Writing Excuses https://writingexcuses.com
Helping Writers Become Authors https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/podcasts/
First Draft https://www.firstdraftpod.com/sarahenni
Secret Library https://www.secretlibrarypodcast.com
The Narrative Breakdown (site was down when I was writing this post but you can find direct links to episodes online)
Debbie Ohi http://debbieohi.com (picture book resources)
Josh Funk https://www.joshfunkbooks.com (picture book resources)
Tara Lazar https://taralazar.com (picture book resources)
Writer’s Digest https://www.writersdigest.com (articles on all sorts of subjects)
Jim Butcher https://jimbutcher.livejournal.com (posts on writing – start with the oldest post at the bottom)
One Stop For Writers https://onestopforwriters.com (paid and free resources)
Janet Reid’s Queryshark https://queryshark.blogspot.com (query letters)
Mary Robinette Kowal http://maryrobinettekowal.com (debut author info and reading out loud lessons)
Publisher’s Marketplace https://www.publishersmarketplace.com (a bit pricey but good up-to-date market info on publishing deals and agents)
Reedsyhttps://reedsy.com (self-publishing tools)
Book Baby https://www.bookbaby.com (self-publishing packaging)
The Book Designer https://www.thebookdesigner.com (self-publishing)
CAPA https://www.aboutcapa.com (CT Author’s and Publishers)
Additionally, one member recommends YouTube for tutorials on self-publishing.
Most of the group recommends attending writing events for networking and inspiration. There are events of all sizes and for all prices — find one that fits your personality and bank account. Large conventions and conferences are wonderful, but can be overwhelming. But there are smaller events, like retreats, or places such as the Highlight’s Foundation which offer space to just hide out from the world and write. Alternately, many organizations such as the SCBWI often hold webinars. Webinars can be a low-cost and low-key manner to get involved.