Tips and Resources for Writers

"If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster."
- Isaac Asimov

Writing Toxic Justice was my Mount Everest.   I had a true story to tell, but I also had to learn the craft of writing, acquire the skills of a promoter, and respect the guidelines of the publishing industry.   Writing a memoir, like Toxic Justice, is particularly challenging because it demanded the skills of a novel writer while employing talent and responsibilities of a journalist.    I am still learning and would like to share my experience and education.

Writing is serious business.  For some of us who expose wrongs, writing can also be dangerous.  Writers most often work in silence, often isolated from others.  Well crafted words have the power to reach out to others, to influence, enlighten, and inspire.  And words have the power to make us laugh. 

 An unemployed writer begs his Congressman for a job.    
"What do you write?"  asks the Congressman.
"Fiction," replied the writer.
"Your hired."

Listed below are helpful and inspiring books and magazines on my bookshelf and websites or blogs that I visit frequently.   If you would like to share your writing tips and resources with others, please use the comment section below.     

Writing Tips

    1. Getting words on the page
  1. Set aside 30 minutes each day before writing to study the craft of writing. 
  2. Set aside a time of day for writing, as free of distractions as possible.
  3. Procrastination is a writer's worst enemy, learn to identify and defy its tug on your time.
  4. Write at least one double spaced page a day without editing.
  5. Before leaving your writing task, start the first sentence of the next section. 
       Getting the word out to others (to be posted)
  1. A Writer's Platform: An Overview
  2. A Writer's Platform: Speaking for Writers
  3. Show me the Money: A Writer's Platform.  Notes from the Mobile Writer's Guild Conference March 13, 2010
   2. Writer's Digest "8 Basic Writing Blunders," May 04, 2010,by  Jerry B. Jenkins.  "These big-picture writing errors might make you cringe with recognition. But shake it off: Bestselling novelist Jerry B. Jenkins will help you fix them."

Books for Writers

Publication and publicity:

  • 2010 Writers' Market: Where & Show to Sell What You Write, (Writer's Digest Books 2009).
  • Guerrilla Marketing for Writers: 100 Weapons for Selling Your Work,  Jay Conrad Levinson, Rick Frishman & Michael Larsen (Writer's Digest Books 2001).
  • Guerrilla Publicity: Hundreds of Sure Fire Tactics to Get Maximum Sales for Minimum Dollars, Jay Conrad, Rick Risheman, and Jill Lublin (Adam's Media 2001).
  • Guide to Query Letters, Wendy Burt-Thomas (Writer's Digest Books 2008).
  • How to write a Book Proposal, Michael Larsen, (Writer's Digest Book, 2003).
  • How to get a literary Agent, Michael Larsen (Source Books 2006).
  • Literary Agents: What they do, How They Do it, and How to Find and Work With the Right one for You,  Michael Larsen ( John Wiley and Sons 1996).
  • Nonfiction Book Proposal: How to Get a Contract and Advance Before Writing you Book, Elizabeth Lyon (Perigee 2000).
  • Publish Your Book: An Insider's Guide to Getting Your Book the Attention It Deserves, Jacqueline Deval (Perigee 2008).
  • Speak up: A Woman's Guide to Presenting Like A Pro,  Cindy Maxey and Kevein E. O'Conner (ST. Martin's Griffin 2008).
  • The Art of the Book Proposal: From Focused Idea to Finished Proposal, Eric Maisel, (Penguin Books, 2003).

Writing skills

  • Beginnings, Middles, & Ends: How to get your stories off to a roaring start, keep them tight and crisp throughout, and end them with a wallop, Nancy Kress ( Writer's Digest Book 1993).
  • Building Better Plots, Robert Kernen (Writer's Digest Books 1999).
  • Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and exercises for crafting dynamic characters and effective viewpoints, Nancy Kress ( Writer's Digest Books 2005).
  • Description & Setting: Techniques and exercises for crafting a believable world of people, places, and events,  Ron Rozelle ( Writer's Digest Books 2005).
  • Dialogue: Techniques and exercises for crafting effective dialogue, Gloria Kempton (Writer's Digest Books 2004).
  • Malicious Intent: a writer's guilde to how murderers, robbers, rapists and other criminals think,  Sean Mactire (Writer's Digest Books 1995).
  • On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction, William Zinsser (Harper Perrenial 1994).
  • Plot and Structure: Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish, James Scott Bell (Writer's Digest Books 2004).
  • Private Eyes: a writer's guide to private investigators, Hal Blythe, Charlie Sweet,& John Landreth (Writer's Digest Books 1993).
  • Revision: A Creative Approach to Writing and Rewriting Fiction, David Michael Kaplan (Story Press 1997).
  • Sin and Syntax: How to craft Wickedly Effective Prose, Constance Hale (Broadway Books 1999).
  • Telling the Story: How To Write and Sell Narrative Nonfiction,  Peter Rubie (Quill 2003).
  • The Art of Compelling Fiction, Christopher T. Leland (Story Press 1998).
  • Writing the Private Eye Novel,  Lawrence Block, Loren D. Estleman, Ed Gorman, Sue Grafton (Writer's Digest Books 1997).
  • Writing the Modern Mystery, Barbara Norville  (Writer's Digest Books 1986)
  • Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies For Every Writer,  Roy Peter Clark (Little Brown and Company 2006).


  • Screenwriting for Dummies, Laura Schellhardt ( Wiley Publishing 2003).
  • The Writer's Guide to Writing Your Screenplay: How to Write Great Screenplays for M0vies and Television,  Cynthia Whitcomb (The Writers Books 2002).

Websites and Blogs for writers

  • Michael Palmer: Writing TipsBest selling author writes, "I’m putting in this column is my way of doing things, and that another "writer’s tips" might well be totally different."
  • Publicity Hound, free tips for publicizing your writing or product
  • Writer' Digest Magazine
  •  Funds for Writers website administrator Hope Clark gave an inspiring and informative presentation at the March 13, 2010 Mobile Alabama Writer Conference.   Hope's website, free newsletters, and subscription newsletter are gold mines for those wanting to make money off their writing products and for writers seeking grants.  
  • Ezine for Writers and Public Speakers.  Subscribe to excellent free online information to improve your writing, screenwriting, and public speaking skills.
  • Great Public Speaking "is the Blog portion of "Great Speaking" Ezine . . . the largest online speaking publication in the world. Great speaking will include on stage tips, speech preparation tips, speaker marketing tips, and much, much more." There is free information as well as publications.

Magazines and Publications for writers

Contests for Writers

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