Writer Tools

Some basic writing tools and help aids collected along the way. Tell me how you stay on track when you get a chance, and please feel free to add to the below list. Thanks for stopping by!

Essential Books 

--The Goof-Proofer by Stephen J. Manhard
--The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White
--A Manual for Writers by Kate L. Turabian

Helpful Books

--Children's Writer's Word Book by Alijandra Mogilner
--The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
--Every Cliche in the Book by Peggy Rosenthal and George Dardess

--Second Sight: An Editor's Talks on Writing, Revising & Publishing by Cheryl B. Klein
--The People's Chronology by James Trager

--The Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide to Publishing and Beyond by Alex J. Cavanaugh, J.L. Campbell, et al. 

Helpful Websites; Links to Articles

Agent Query (agent database and helpful information) 
Book Marketing: Five Tips for Staying Organized (Article)
Insecure Writers Support Group (Find online author support and tools of the trade)
Kids Books Central (Find reviews of current children's books)
Literary Rambles (information on *Children/YA book agents and publishing; agent and author interviews; *Agent Spotlight every Thursday)
1000 Literary Agents  (for tracking and finding an agent; similar to Query Tracker)
Plot Whisperer for Writers and Readers (awesome site on plotting and more)
Preditors and Editors  (information for authors, composers, game designers, and artists; publishing scams to avoid and warnings)
Query Shark (learn how to write a query letter)
QueryTracker (search for agents and publishers; and track your query letters)
SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators; writers' conference discounts with membership; learning tools and more; a great resource for children's and young adult writers)
Story Fix - Larry Brooks  - Learn about story structure here and how to craft a story; find links to his books.
The Ultimate Freelance Writing CareerGuide - A great resource for all writers, including good research sites 
Word count tools - a word and character count tool, including readability of text
Writer Beware
 (*Check here first. Warnings and alerts for writers on Editors, Publishers, Small presses, Literary agencies, Contests and Awards, Writing services, and more; created by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America).
Young Adult Books Central Find reviews of current YA books, including reviews by teens.

Mystery/Crime Writers:

Working with the FBI - A guide for authors, writers, producers
Working with weapons - a guide for writers
Homicide checklist for writers - what happens at investigations
Crime scene forensics - good information for writer detectives
Crimes & Clues - research burglary investigations

Words, Words, Words....
Teen Slang and Phrases (for parents and clueless teens)
Texting Slang (for parents and clueless teens)
Random Word Generator (when you can't find right word)
 75+ Funny Words

--Author's Library presentation for teens (July, 2009):
"Setting, the Bones of Your Story"
--Story Starters: http://thestorystarter.com/
--Writer Prompts: http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-prompts

PESKY ACRONYMS - Ever wonder what these mean?
AH - Alternate History (author alters history at POD)
ARC - Advance Reader Copy
CB - Chapter Book
ER - Easy Reader
HEA - Happily Ever After
IM - Internal Monologue

IMO - In My Opinion
LGBTQIA: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender
LI - Love Interest
MC - Main Character
MG - Middle Grade
MS - Manuscript
NA - New Adult
NanoWriMo - National November Writing Month
NF - Nonfiction
OMNI - Omniscient
OTT - Over the Top (Melodramatic)
PB - Picture Book

POD - Point of Divergence (point at which 2 outcomes exist)
POD - Print on Demand
POV - Point of View
PW - Publisher's Weekly

ROI - Return on Investment
RUE - Resist the Urge To Explain
RWA - Romance Writers of America
SCBWI - Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators
SF/F - Science Fiction / Fantasy

SFR - Science Fiction Romance
SNI - Shiny New Idea
TBR - To Be Read (Pile of Books)
WIP - Work In Progress
YA - Young Adult
A note from the trenches . . .

In November 2010 I came to the realization that whatever time I was spending on my writing (for publication) and physical exercise (for health), two activities I personally feel are important--not much was happening. Or to be more precise, I had no idea how much time I was spending on these activities. I decided to record my writing and exercise output . . . and so far, I have been faithful in tracking my progress, right down to the minute (because, if you are like me, every minute counts). The goal is to complete my young adult novel, establish a blog, start another book . . . and stay healthy in the process.

The effect has been energizing, but by energizing, I do not mean the 'burst out of the race gate' type of energy. I have a tortoise approach to life, slow and methodical, but I'm okay with that. It helps when I need to research something in great detail. Progress is progress, but I didn't feel good about that in the beginning. I had to accept that each step forward, however small, was something I could be proud of and claim as my own. This is why I record every minute. And seeing the numbers on paper was the proof I needed that dreams and goals are attainable. To my surprise, my output has started to increase, and in part, I can credit this blog, which has helped me organize my thoughts and interests . . . and record my progress. I keep a daily log on my computer, but report my weekly totals in the left hand column of this blog ("Daily Update"). Check it out . . .[Update Dec 21, 2014. Stopped "Daily Update" log. I'm exercising regularly now and the blog has really grown. Not happy though with
my writing output elsewhere (mainly my books). Currently reassessing my writing goals and seeking wisdom from above, where my ultimate accountability lies. I urge you to try a daily log though in achieving your goals. My experiment was far from a failure!]

I also have started a list of labels for decade research (see bottom of screen). I have an American Studies degree and recently noticed that some of my posts have decade-related information. Clicking Stereoviews A-Z, you'll find a goldmine of information with photos from the 1890s and 1900s. If you are researching a decade for a story or other work you are writing, you might want to stop there. Yummy Fruits A-Z has the history of various fruits, including some fun, entertaining facts. Inventions by Women A-Z gives the history of some surprising inventions and their inventors.


  1. I am SOOO impressed with what you're doing here, Sharon!

  2. Very helpful. Can't wait til you get something published. Keep me in mind for helping with promotion. I really like the summary of Shells of Mersing. I will be looking forward to reading it. You have a fan waiting to read. :)

  3. Great job with this, Sharon. It's really important to set goals and adjust them when necessary. Best wishes for continued success.

  4. I admire your approach to writing and health, Sharon. You've inspired me. :-)

    Also, on your list of pesky acronyms, I might include SFR--Science Fiction Romance. It's seems to be a growing genre; I see the acronym more and more often. But I'm not sure if there is an authority (somewhere) that determines acronyms that are officially recognized among publishers, writers, agents,editors, and readers. :-) If there is, maybe they don't include SFR.

    The more I know, the less I know. ;-)

    I really like your website. I just added to it my sidebar under "Writers' Resources".

  5. Thank you everyone for your encouraging comments!! Teresa, I have added the acronym SFR. Thanks! I keep finding these 'mysterious' acronyms everywhere, and I'm tired of being in the dark, knowledge-wise. This is my way of tackling an irritating problem.


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You could call me an eternal optimist, but I'm really just a dreamer. l believe in dream fulfillment, because 'sometimes' dreams come true. This is a blog about my journey as a writer and things that inspire and motivate me.