Top 10 Website Picks

by Rebecca Ann Jordan
published in Writing

It’s true. When we’re procrastinating, chances are we are spending most of our time on the web. The good news is that some of the best writers’ resources can be found online, so even when you’re procrastinating no need to worry about wasting time! Next time you have a few minutes in between flurried writing on your current masterpiece, check out these DIY MFA Top Website Picks:

[thumb][/thumb]Duotrope: A great search engine for all manner of literary magazines. The search engine is subdivided by genres, style, length, subject, payment, publishing type, and a few other options so you can thoroughly narrow your search results. If you were wondering where that feminist poem is going to fit, or where you’ll publish your aliens-and-spaceships short story, this is the place to look!

[thumb][/thumb]Query Shark: Janet Reid’s humorous blog that critiques query letters. What’s so helpful about it is that she comments on real queries (names redacted of course) and points out common mistakes that she sees as a literary agent. You’ll learn a great deal just from seeing her critique of other people’s queries, and you will come to laugh with her at the often hilariously foolish queries that some send in. If you’re brave enough, you might even test the shark-ridden waters with your own!

[thumb][/thumb]AgentQuery and QueryTracker: Two Picks for the price of one! Both of these sites are search engines for literary agents. They do for novel queries what Duotrope above does for short fiction and poetry. You can search for agents by location and genre, as well as get some detailed help with how to query. On AgentQuery, you can even submit queries to forums and receive helpful feedback from authors in similar boats. At QueryTracker, you can keep track of query submissions to various agents and the dates of their replies.

[thumb][/thumb]Rachelle Gardner: Rachelle is a literary agent with a good deal of advice from the “inside” view of publishing. She posts articles such as “Is There Room for Originality?” and “9 Ways to Outwit Writer’s Block.” Her posts are definitely worth checking out!

[thumb][/thumb]We Grow Media: Dan Blank’s site is dedicated to “Helping Writers & Publishers Make an Impact and Build Their Legacies.” His lessons and courses focus around writer platforms and how writers can best use social media. The newsletter is especially worth your while, as it features the best articles that will help authors get the most out of their tweets or grow their platforms.

[thumb][/thumb]InkyGirl: A children’s author/illustrator and young persons’ novelist, Debbie has a lot of great blog articles on her writing process. She has sections called “Writer’s Guide to Twitter” and “250, 500, 1000 Words/Day Writing Challenge,” which encourages readers to select one of those goals and then consistently write so many words a day. Being an illustrator, she also includes hilarious comics on the site which are sure to tickle any writer’s funny bone.

[thumb][/thumb]Jane Friedman: As a professor of e-media, soon-to-be online editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review, and a former publisher of Writer’s Digest, Jane has quite a few things to say about social media, writing, networking, e-books, trends online and how they all interconnect. Her knowledge is invaluable. We also love Porter Anderson’s guest column, Writing On the Ether, for his news, humor and sheer vocabulary.

[thumb][/thumb]ChaoticShiny: A personal favorite for years. Though the countless writing-inspired generators (such as “Pantheon,” “Medieval Army,” and “Apocalypse”) might initially seem suited for sci-fi and fantasy writing, there are also quite a few resources for writers of other genres as well, such as the character generators and story/plot generators. You might use them in times of resolute writer’s block to kick-start your writing, or pick and choose different tools to use in your stories.

[thumb][/thumb]Write On Con: A hidden internet gem! Write On Con is an online, free writing conference. Though it happens only once a year (this year’s dates are August 14 and 15), the site is active with contests and news mostly year-round. Like ‘real-life’ conferences, Write On Con roster features tons of authors, agents and editors.

[thumb][/thumb]NaNoWriMo and Story A Day: Last but not certainly not least, some of the best resources out there for novelists and short story writers. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is active in November. It’s a worldwide endeavor which challenges you to write a 50,000 word novel, start to finish in one month. From personal experience, it’s the only time I’ve ever actually finished a novel. They’ve got all manner of forums and you can even sign up by region and meet other writers in person (gasp!) near you. Other programs include Camp Nano (during July and August) and Script Frenzy (in April). Story A Day is similar to NaNo, except you are challenged to write one short story every day in May!

So there you have it – our Top 10 (twelve, actually) Picks for writerly websites! Stay tuned – tomorrow we’ll have our list of Top Twitter Picks and on Thursday we’ve got Top Book Picks. And don’t forget about the Blog Party this weekend! Be thinking about what favorite resource you’ll share!

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