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Resources to help get your book written
Where do you begin to learn how to write? Where can you find out what other people think of what you write? Can you learn from other people's mistakes?

Online Courses | Critique Groups | Writing Resources
Book Reviewers | Articles on Writing | Sample Forms

Writing a novel can seem like a huge task, and it is, if done properly, but like all projects and goals, approach it with a sense of organisation and a knowledge of where to find information, and suddenly it's like eating an elephant - easy if you do it in bite-sized chunks!

If you feel nervous about putting pen to paper and could do with a little guidance, why not try online courses?

Maybe you feel confident enough to begin writing on your own, but you'd really like some feedback on what you're doing. I used to be a member of a fanfic group, where people write short stories about their fictional heroes. There were around a thousand people on the list and I posted my first story with much trepidation, having had it 'looked over' by someone who is still a good e-friend to me. The response I got was staggering and really pushed me to write more.

Within this list I found good writers who became mentors and would read my work before I submitted it to the group. They were invaluable in my writing career and I would heartily recommend critique groups to any of you. Do make sure the group has a mediator and that only constructive criticism is allowed. Most groups are set up like this, but it's worth checking.

Other people's experiences and mistakes are great pointers along the way when it comes to writing and we have some fantastic contributors to this website such as Laura Backes, Laraine Ann Barker and Angela Adair-Hoy. Find out how to write outside the box; learn tips for dealing with rejection; learn how to write a synopsis; character POV lists; character biographies and much, much more.

Online Courses

The e-Writer's Place Workshops for Writers
Low cost and free e-mail courses on creative writing and memoir writing. Take DAILY WRITES, its most popular e-mail course... over 2,500 writers worldwide have taken it since its introduction in February 2002.

Tips and Tricks For Writing Success
A free e-mail writing course designed to help people with everday writing tasks including: personal letters, business letters, resumes, cvs, term and research papers, essays, reports and more. Thousands of people from all over the world have taken this course and the rave reviews keep coming in every day.

Creative Writing Course run by Craig Lock offers sixty cheap and convenient online courses.

Barnes and Noble's free University

Free online Digital Writing Workshop

Short Story Writing Course run by Jacqui Bennett

Writers News Home Study, lots of different courses - go take a look

Critique Groups

Short Story Writers Critique Group

Writing Resources

The Authors Almanac

Casa Mysterioso
For those aspiring authors who are having trouble getting publishers The Compulsive Reader
Great site for reviews of books

Faulkner Awards

Freelance Writing by Kim Ripley
Expert advice for all prospective freelancers. Especially encouraging to those starting out a little later in life!

Global Photos
Need photos for that book cover? Steve Frazeur has 5000 of them

History & Lovers
For the romantic in all of us!

The Importance of Book Reviews
Brilliant site for book reviews e.g., where to place them.

National Association of Women Writers Punctuation Made Simple

The Scriptorium

Twilight Times
An award winning digital journal of speculative fiction, poetry and artwork. Twilight Times Books
Publisher of fine speculative fiction; promoting excellence in writing and great literature.

Writing World

Book Reviewers
The reviewer's Bible - find a reviewer for anything here

Articles on Writing

Sample Forms

Character Biographies | Character List
Query Letter | Character Point of View List

Character Biographies

Star Sign:
Musical tastes:
Personality Profile:

Write a few paragraphs on what your character is like, how he/she handles situations, whether he/she is the life and soul of the party, or a recluse. Add other things to the list above when they pop into your head. Try doing one for yourself first.

Character List

Name Age Appearance Profession/Other Relationships
HART, Jim 53 5' 6", grey eyes, balding, glasses, not very fashion conscious. Printer Wife: Joy
Children: Deborah, Samuel

This is a shortened version of the Character Bio and is a requirement of some publishers that you send this along with your sample chapters. Use it as a landscape form.

Query Letter

Your Address


Karen Taylor Richman
Silhouette Books
6th Floor, 300 East 42nd Street
New York, NY 10017, USA

Dear Ms Taylor Richman

DARK SECRETS - 80,000 words - Special Edition imprint

Please find enclosed a synopsis of the above novel for consideration under your Special Edition imprint. If I had to sum up the story in one paragraph, it would be the following:

"All of them have a secret to keep, but none is quite so dark and lonely as Scott's; his jealous wife, forbidding him to share the knowledge of his impending death with Louise, a close friend. When, eventually, he falls into Louise's waiting arms and realises his feelings for her, he has a choice of coping alone, still married to Sara, or making the ultimate sacrifice of his baby daughter to achieve some short-lived happiness."

I believe what sets this novel apart is how the main romance is subtly, yet cleverly woven into a well-paced, interesting plot with characters emotions being explored deeply. The main characters tackle issues of divorce, custody, unrequited love, impending death and death itself, as well as tender, intimate bedroom scenes and sizzling sex. The central thread of the novel is Scott and Louise's deep, intimate friendship and the tightrope of emotions they walk when they realise they want more than that.

The full manuscript is finished and has been critiqued by Jenny Hewitt, editor and published author, her comments being very favourable.

A once-avid reader of Danielle Steele and one-time member of the Mills & Boon Romance Bookclub, my latest author of preference is Diana Gabaldon.

I enclose a self-addressed envelope, together with international reply coupons and very much look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Diana Redman

Character Point of View List

DS 80k Locale What do we learn
Scott/1 Hospital
  • He has a life-threatening illness
  • His wife is unsympathetic
  • He's possibly involved with someone else
Hook: wife going the right way about pushing him into someone else's arms

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GET YOUR BOOK... »Written  »Critiqued  »Proofread  »Copyrighted  »Into Print  »Promoted
Explore... »writer's review  »writer's toolkit  »writer's jungle  »POD survey  »author gallery
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