Thursday, July 12, 2012

Free Online Writing Resources for Newbies

Free Online Writing Resources

My Favorites: 

Critique Circle -
This is the number one resource I would recommend to any writer. Many people have live critique groups, but since I live in Guatemala, it was hard to come by other English-speaking writers. Plus, I am quite shy, so I thought I would try the online route. I signed up in 2005 and have formed great critique friendships and learned a tremendous amount from fellow writers around the world. This site provides valuable feedback from other writers, allows you to critique and learn from others, assists with writing tools like outlining and submission reminders, and has a lively discussion forum on any writing topic. If you haven't checked it out, do so now! My Critique Circle handle is Mimiwriter.

Smart Edit -
A program that scans a piece of creative writing and highlights areas that need improvement. It will show you the following: repeated words, cliches, overused dialogue tags, repeated phrases, and adverbs. I began using this program a few weesk ago, because I did use the free site, but it would only take 300 words at a time (the free version). So, I checked around and foudn this program instead. It requires a simple download and conversion of your document into RTF file. I'm stil messing around with it and I'm not sure if it is truly helpful until I get to the major editing stage, again.

AutoCrit -
I really like this online program. It is efficient and easy to use. The only problem was that cheapo me does not want to buy the  Monthly Service (between $47 - $117 a month). It will instantly edit your work for overused words, cliches, sentence variation, and repeated words and phrases. For the extra cost, it will check pacing, dialogue, initial pronouns, readability, and homonyms.

Romance University -
One of my favorite online websites dedicated to romance writers. Each week there are special authors/editors/publishers/ guests who write any kind of article that is helpful to romance writers. I have found a wealth of information and it's FREE! Additionally, occasionally they have pitches or giveaways.

Duotrope -
This may be a "well duh" link, but all writers start somewhere. Once upon a time, I had no idea. Duotrope is a searchable database of publishers. You can search by genre, subgenre, length, subject, pay, royalities, etc. You may also find vital information about the publisher such as response times, acceptance-rejection ratios, and payment. I also like the feature that allows you to keep track of your submissions.

The Bookshelf Muse -
This blog has been bookmarked on my computer for at least a year. It has a wealth of descriptive writing suggestions for those writer's who get lost in their own words. The owners recently published a book titled The Emotion Thesaurus and I highly recommend it, now that it is not online. Other descriptions available are: Character traits, weather/earhly phenomena, setting thesaurus, colors/textures, and symbolism.

Random Writing Resources: 

Writing Realistic Injuries -
Okay, I know this one is funny! But, in my recent WIP, the MC has several broken bones and injuries. Since I have been lucky enough not to have major injuries in my life, I needed some reference. So here it is!

Synonyms for Commonly Used Words -
A fast list of synonyms when you just can't think of something else.

Serendipity Random Generators -
Randomly name places, cities, towns, countries, fantasy names. I just thought it was fun.

Hope you found this usefull. Please let me know! I love comments from viewers.



  1. Great post Mel! As a PROUD member of Critique Circle (since 2004) I agree that CC is a great resource for any writer. I just met up with a writer from CC two days ago.

    My handle is Chevyvibe

  2. Hi Melinda, I am not sure how I found you, but I am so glad I did. I have been searching Google for so long trying to find sites that cater to new writers'. What I have noticed is the additude that new writers are young, and that is not me. I lost my job and have decided I am going to write everyday. I realized I needed some focus to get better, like grammar+. You are so refreshing and hopeful. I am really glad I found you. You are now bookmarked. ;-) Bless you