Resources for Writers

Over the past few years I've come across a handful of resources for new writers who are interested in bettering their craft. Not everyone has the time or money for creative writing classes, and thanks to the wealth of information on the internet you can find other ways to better your craft.

This list is a work in progress that I hope to update over time. I'm always on the look out for more resources. Please feel free to leave sites that you love in the comments below.

Lessons and Podcast

These are sites I've found that focus on the on the in's and out's of actual writing. A great resource if you're just starting out, and a nice refresher for those who have been at it for a while.

Write About Dragons -

Write About Dragons is a new site started by Scott Ashton with the purpose of creating a place for new writers to learn about writing. The biggest draw to this site is the 2012 lecture series he recorded of Brandon Sanderson, a well known fantasy author. In the lecture series Sanderson makes a lot of good points that newcomers and veterans alike would benefit from.

With plans to interview other authors in his area and further efforts to expand the site, this is defiantly one to keep an eye on for any new writer.

Writing Excuses -

Writing Excuses is a podcast run by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells and Mary Robinette Kowal. A weekly fifteen minute podcast focusing on all aspects of writing. From craft and genre to interviews and publishing, this podcast at least touches on whatever you're interested in at some point.

I highly recommend starting this podcast from it's beginning. Their archive is on their site for free, and the wealth of subjects covered combined with the bite sized format makes it well worth your time. The only problem I have with this podcast is also one of it's greatest strengths, the fifteen minute format. While in most episodes it leads to a lean, straight to the point podcast, in others it left me wanting more. The podcast is constantly experimenting with subjects and formats and I find myself wishing from time to time that they would sprinkle in longer, in depth, episodes.

Still a wonderful resource I have been using for a very long time that I highly recommend you check out.

Critics and Analyzes

Critics might seem like a strange resource for writers. Critics specialize in breaking down and analyzing what writers create. By seeing others analyze what works and what doesn't in someone's  work can give you insights into your own. In addition, reviews of a movie or book allows you to hear the concepts and ideas in a work without actually having to log the countless hours involved in keeping up with the constant stream of content being put into the world. While not as good as actually experiencing the work for yourself, it can help you gain information you otherwise would have passed by.

Sword and Laser -

Sword and Laser is a science fiction and fantasy podcast/book club that reviews books and interviews authors. While focusing on sci-fi and fantasy, their reviews and interviews offer insights I feel are useful to any writer. Hosts Tom Merritt, who contrary to popular belief is not related the ninth doctor, and Veronica Belmont discuss and review a new book each month. One of the reasons I feel this podcast is useful is the bi-monthly format. The first podcast of each month introduces the book with the second reviewing it, discussing plot threads, characters and the overall story. Each host brings their own taste and experiences to the table, with the community providing a well rounded group of opinions on each book.

For writers like myself who find it difficult to keep up with all the books coming out these days, this is a great resource for getting the ideas and concepts of a story. In addition if the audio podcast is too slow for your taste they have a video version on the YouTube channel Geek and Sundry. (

Nostalgia Chick -

Nostalgia Chick began as a spin off from Nostalgia Critic. What began as simple gag of being the female counterpart to N Critic, soon grew into her own right as a smart and insightful critic that I think surpasses the original. While focusing on things from the nineties and a borderline obsession with Disney, Nostalgia Chick breaks down movies and TV shows in a light heart-ed and comedic manner. I tore through her entire Archive in a week or two, and I recommend to it anyone who is interested in writing. Seeing someone pull apart the plot holes and ridicules circumstances of others work while analyzing the classics we all grew up with helps a writer to look at their own work with a critical eye and avoid cliche.

Extra Credits -

I love this series. I loved this series when it was bouncing randomly around the internet. I loved this series when it was on the escapist, I love this series now that's on Penny Arcade TV. Extra credits is a weekly series that focuses on breaking down and analyzing the trends and themes in video games. From mechanics, to the psychology of gaming, to story telling in an interactive medium, this animated, funny and all around delightful series breaks down the newest and fastest growing medium of our time.

While some writers may shy away from something that focuses on video games, I would ask you look past that and give this series a shot. The way these three break down story and the role of the viewer/reader/player each week is well worth the time to any writer or creator.

Totally Rad Show -

The Totally Rad Show, in spite of having a ridicules name, is a still a great resource for writers, especially movie writers. This daily series hosted by Alex Albrecht, Dan Trachtenberg and Jeff Cannata (with camera man Mike) break down movies, TV shows, and video games. While a fairly standard review show, it benefits from having a few years under it's belt and host that play off each others weaknesses. Coming from different backgrounds and having different taste allows the viewer to get varying opinions on the TV shows and movies of the day.

If you don't have the time or money to see every movie that comes out or watch every show, I recommend a site like this that will allow you to learn about what works and what doesn't in a work you would have missed.

Shut Up & Sit Down-

I'm a a relative new comer to this series. I had seen this show drifting around on the web and liked it a lot. Thankfully it's now on Penny Arcade and updates twice a month. The series is run by two Englishmen, Paul and Quin, who review table top boardgames.

The reason why I put this on the list is because they often delve deeper than whether or not the game is fun. They analyze it's aesthetic and mechanics in relation to it's wider presentation. They discuss things in a way to ask if the game has a coherent narrative and the types of stories the games will tell. Most importantly by breaking down the parts of an item into bits and pieces it gives us insights into building a coherent world. I'd recommend it to anyone interested in game design or world building.

Databases, Wiki's and Inspiration 


SCP Foundation -

If you've never checked out that site, do it now. It's brilliant. . Each link on the site is a file from a fictional organization that deals with the paranormal, and each is written by a different author. They all deal with amazing and inventive concepts and creative ways around the structure demanded by the site. They've gone through a few redesigns, but when I first saw the site there was over a thousand SCPs, and I read nearly every one of them, a few a day until I had worked through the entire site.

TV Tropes -

I almost put this site in a category of it's own. This is one of the best sights for a new writer. While it is a dangerous rabbit hole that can take weeks to claw your way out of, the simple amount of information on this sight makes it a worthy addition to anyone's list of bookmarks.

Every genre, every character, every plot is covered in depth. Those digging deeper will find a healthy community and a database of fiction related quotes that rivals any found on the web.

I warn you, explore this sight in moderation. I promise you it will be well worth it.

 Wiki Sci-Fi -

This is one of the many useful wiki's on Whatever genre you're in to, you can find a wiki for it on Wikia. Because I spend a lot of my time in Sci-Fi circles, this is the one I use the most. A great source for story ideas, creatures and spotting cliches.

FicSpecies -

Another Wikia that focuses on fictional species. Whether you prefer fantasy or sci-fi you can find something here to get the creative juices flowing.

Superpower Wiki -

Yep, another Wikia. While you may not be a comic book writer, super powers are a great resource for ideas for magic systems and sci-fi species. Well worth a look.

Monstropedia -

Similar to FicSpecies this sight focuses on monsters from movies, myths and legends. A great resource for fantasy and sci-fi writers.

Time Ref -

I haven't had a lot of time with this website, but I'm going to throw it on the list anyway. This sight is a resource aimed at kids and adults that breaks down the life style of those in the middle ages. A great resource for fantasy writers or sci-fi writers wanting to depict a primitive culture.

Concept Art


-                 -


Both of these sites are great sources of inspiration for writers of any genre. I have an entire folder on my computer of images that I flip through any time I need inspiration. I think that writer's should fill their brains with images of creatures and scenery and architecture. When you write you brain is breaking apart pieces of information and rebuilding them into something new. While you may be looking at a painting of a Gothic church today, tomorrow your brain may re-purpose that as the interior of a space ship. Great websites to generate ideas.


That's the list so far. I hope you found something to help you in your writing endeavors. If I've missed a sight you love let me know in the comments. I'm always on the lookout for a new resource, so don't be selfish. Share the sites that have helped you.


No comments:

Post a Comment