Resources for Writers

So, you write too, eh?

Books About Writing

  • Monkeys with Typewriters, Scarlett Thomas // A great general fiction-writing guide which strikes a good balance between the academic and the practical, with examples stretching from Plato’s Allegory of the Cave to The Matrix (and why they’re not so dissimilar).
  • The Art of Fiction, David Lodge // A collection of small articles on literary techniques and modes, with many examples from the classics. Ideal for dipping into, or as a kind of reference manual.
  • Character and Viewpoint, Orson Scott Card // Lots of practical advice on characterisation, with some interesting ideas I haven’t seen elsewhere. For example: the two most interesting characters are often the one in pain, and the one causing the pain.
  • Several short sentences about writing, Verlyn Klinkenborg // A strange book, this. I don’t agree with everything Klinkenborg says, and the initial effect of reading it is paralysis. Nothing seems good enough any more. And then the benefits become apparent: your sentences improve, your writing improves, the way you think about language changes forever.

Places

  • Arvon offer a huge range of courses, in beautiful parts of the country, tutored by professional writers.

Software

I’m neither a Windows nor a Mac man. I use, and recommend, LibreOffice on Ubuntu Linux. They’re mature, stable and free, with free updates for life. You probably have your own software preferences, though, and unless they’re causing frustration, you should probably stick with them.

The one piece of software I would recommend to Linux and Windows users (no Mac version, I’m afraid) is Artha, a pop-up dictionary and thesaurus that gives you definitions based on the text highlighted in any other program. It’s fabulously useful.

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