RESOURCES ON THE CRAFT OF WRITING

I get asked questions all the time about various aspects of the craft of writing—these are some of the articles I most often recommend. Note that I'll continue to add to these over time to continue building this library of resources.

 

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ARTICLES ABOUT THE CRAFT OF WRITING

 

On Adverbs and Adjectives

Why I Am Proudly, Strongly, and Happily in Favor of Adverbs, by Lily Rothman, The Atlantic

In Defense of Purple Prose, by Anne E.G. Nydum

 

On Commas – One Common Error

Commas with Essential and Nonessential Clauses, from Waylink English

 

On Description

Writing Powerful Descriptionsby Jon Gingerich

Descriptionby Abby Geni

 

On First Sentences

Why Stephen King Spends ‘Months and Even Years’ Writing Opening Sentences, by Joe Fassler, The Atlantic

 

On Flashbacks in Fiction

Using Flashbacks in Fiction, by Pearl Luke

Three Tips for Writing Successful Flashbacks, by Nancy Kress

How to Write a Flashback Scene: 7 Key Steps, from Now Novel

 

On Past and Present Tense

Past and Present tense: which, why, when and how, by Emma Darwin

 

On Point of View

Point of Viewfrom Literary Devices

What Every Writer Ought to Know About the Omniscient Point of Viewby KM Weiland

Head-Hopping Gives Readers Whiplashby Beth Hill

 

On Prologues in Fiction

Pros and Cons of PrologueBeth Hill

 

On Repetition

Sentence-level Repetition: When It Works, When It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, from the Center for Writing and Speaking at Whitman College

The Power of RepetitionBeth Hill

 

On Showing and Telling

On Showing and Telling: The Basics, by Emma Darwin, at This Itch of Writing

 

On Theme

Theme, from Literary Devices

 

On Voice

What is Writer’s Voiceby Rachelle Gardner

Ten Steps to Finding Your Writer’s Voice, by Jeff Goins

GRAMMAR AND WRITING ASSISTANCE

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing – I absolutely adore Grammar Girl, who’s also known as Mignon Fogarty. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t refer someone to a specific page of her incredibly helpful grammar tips, or look something up myself. She makes me look good because if I’m in doubt when responding to a query, she’s not! Have a question about grammar? Grammar Girl has an answer that will be easy to absorb thanks to her fun, example-laden and plain English explanations.

The Purdue Online Writing Lab – This site is chock full of great information about writing. Like Grammar Girl, the OWL has a lot of great information about grammar, but also goes well beyond grammar to look at the writing process, mechanics, punctuation, research, ESL and a whole host of topics related to academic writing. Each section provides numerous helpful examples, which make learning easy.

Guide to Grammar and Writing – Another great resource, from Lucy Benton at ProWritingPartner. Grammar myths, usage guides, style guides, thesauruses and dictionaries, English for non-native English speakers.

Great List of Grammar Guides – A long list of different grammar guides: quick guides, usage guides, thesauruses (thesauri) & dictionaries, “rules” that aren’t, classic style guide, science and technical writing guides and ESL.

State of Writing – A comprehensive list of links to dictionaries and thesauruses, style guides, grammar and punctuation, etymology, quotations, and an extensive list of foreign language resources.