While there are some excellent books on writing a novel, the web is also filled with terrific story writing websites. Here are 151 of the very best writing websites, and they’re organised for you by subject and genre. They’ll help you when you start using the Now Novel process to fine-tune your novel idea and create a helpful blueprint for your story:
Structure and Plot
- Screenwriting Tips for Authors is the blog of screenwriter and novelist Alexandra Sokoloff, and she comprehensively breaks down the three-act structure for writers.
- The Plot Whisperer blog is all about plotting.
- Storytech Literary Consulting is a site by the author of The Writer’s Journey. This is a book for writers based on Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and the site offers a number of resources related to structure.
- Plot Generator can be a fun way to jumpstart your plot.
- Scapple is a mindmapping software from the same company that developed Scrivener.
- Storymind is a site that sells software related to story creation, but their blog is free and includes excellent articles about narrative, structure and more.
- Free Writing Class from Steven Barnes is based on the screenplay course Barnes has taught for years, but as he points out in his introduction, writing is writing, and this is an excellent way for a writer in any medium to learn structure.
- FYCD is a blog that focuses on all aspects of character development and answers questions as well.
- Baby Name Center will help you get the crucial right name for your character. You can search for names by origin, meaning, number of syllables and more.
- Character Therapist takes a psychological approach to readers’ questions about character development.
- Motive Generator offers prompts to give your characters purpose.
Researching Agents and Writing Queries and Synopses
- Query Shark offers contributors the opportunity to have their novel queries critiqued and read critiques of others’ queries.
- Evil Editor breaks down synopses and explains pitfalls writers should avoid.
- Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents is a blog that mostly covers agents and what they are looking for but sometimes touches on other aspects of writing and the publishing business as well.
- Agent Query is a free searchable database of literary agents that not only allows you to search by genre but includes information such as agent interests and whether they are currently accepting new clients. The site also includes a social networking aspect.
- Janet Reid, Literary Agent writes another excellent blog. Crime fiction is her specialty, but many of her posts concern all types of fiction.
Publishing and Business
- Publishers Weekly is the bible of the publishing world with a lot of free material on its site and free e-newsletters.
- Writer Beware compiles information about scam agents and publishers across genres for writers in any country.
- Publishers Marketplace keeps track of publishing deals.
- Galley Cat is a blog about the publishing industry.
- The Book Deal is written by a consulting editor who looks at the industry and the many changes happening there.
- Jane Friedman focuses on digital changes in publishing and how authors can navigate them.
- The Creative Penn is a blog that approaches writing as an entrepreneurial venture.
- Publishing Perspectives takes on the global publishing world.
- Bestseller Labs offers tips from bestselling writer Jonathan Gunson on how to get published and how to get more readers.
- Writers and Authors offers tips on building an audience and provides a space for writers to network.
- Preditors & Editors is an old and trusted site that contains resources about publishers, agents, scams, workshops and more.
- The Burry Man Writers Center has a focus on Scotland but is a global site with many resources on the business of writing as well as other aspects.
- The Freelancer’s Survival Guide is an entire free book online about how to survive as a freelancer.
Editor and Agent Blogs
- Nathan Bransford is an author and former literary agents who has one of the best sites on the web about writing and publishing.
- Rachelle Gardner is a literary agent who maintains a terrific site with advice on writing and publishing.
- Agent in the Middle is a blog by agent Lori Perkins.
- Bent on Books includes posts from all agents at the Jenny Bent Agency.
- Pub Rants is agent Kristen Nelson’s blog with excellent advise on the business side of publishing.
- A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing is the blog of writer J.A. Konrath; he is considered one of the leading voices in self-publishing.
- The Book Designer has had a long career in book design, printing and typesetting, and he turns that into excellent advice for the self-publisher.
- The Independent Publisher Magazine takes a global perspective on self-publishing.
- Publetariat is a news hub and online community for self-publishers.
Creativity, Inspiration and Writing Prompts
- The Write Practice focuses on daily practices to build skill and creativity.
- Writing Prompts are the prompts that a teacher uses in class, and here, he shares them with readers.
- Procrastinating Writers is for writers who struggle with blocks and motivation.
- Courage to Create details one man’s struggle to finish his first novel.
- Dani Shapiro is an author who muses on her blog about the challenges and epiphanies of the writing life.
- Great Writers Inspire is primarily designed as a resource for students and teachers, but may also be of interest to novelists wishing to ground themselves in some of the great works of literature.
- Theodora Goss is a fantasy writer who blogs about her inspirations and how to balance writing with the other demands of life.
- It Starts With uses psychology to inspire and motivate writers.
- Positive Writer focuses on self-doubt and confidence-building for writers.
- Inspired by Life and Fiction brings together ten novelists who write about the things that stir their imaginations.
- The Writers Alley features writers from around the world offering inspiration with a Christian slant.
- The Procrastiwriter gives advice on how to avoid procrastination and fit writing into a busy life.
- Advice to Writers inspires via a quote of the day from famous writers.
- Encyclopedia Mythica is an online encyclopedia of myth, folklore and religion that can be a wonderful resource for story ideas in all genres.
- Writers Plot Idea Generator also has exercise prompts, character profile generators, plot twist generators, first lines and more.
- 750 Words is a site inspired by the book The Artist’s Way that gives writers the opportunity to do the morning pages exercise privately and online with a progress tracker.
Workshops and Forums
- Critters Workshop began as a free workshop for science fiction, fantasy and horror writers, but now it covers all genres.
- Absolute Write forums cover novels as well as other forms of writing, and are an invaluable source of information from other professionals and aspiring writers about the publishing business, the craft of writing and more.
- Association of Writers & Writing Programs has a database of hundred of programmes and conferences for writers plus news, contests, articles and more.
Story writing websites offering general advice
- Now Novel (that’s us!) is not only an online novel-writing process, it also provides handy writing advice and great resource roundups like this one.
- Writer’s Digest is one of the best and oldest resources for writers.
- Absolute Write Blog is related to the forum of the same name and offers a similar scope of information in the form of longer-form posts.
- NaNoWriMo challenges writers to complete a 50,000 word first draft in a month during November.
- Booklife Now is a general guide to both the craft of writing and the publishing industry across genres.
- Terrible Minds is the popular blog of writer Chuck Wendig who shares his observations on publishing and writing technique.
- Advanced Fiction Writing Blog is where Randy Ingermanson, inventor of the snowflake method of writing, blogs about technique and the business of writing.
- Litreactor offers online classes, essays on craft and more.
- Novel Rocket is a site that teaches visitors how to write a novel through guest posts and author interviews.
- Writers in the Storm features professional writers across a variety of genres blogging about their craft and specialties.
- First Novels Club is a blog with a particular focus on children’s and YA writing, but it looks at other types of fiction as well.
- She Writes offers women writers a social network, community blog and more.
- Writing Forward covers grammar, creativity and more.
- The Writer’s Toolbox is written by a best-selling suspense novelist who offers articles on the writing process.
- Fiction University features experienced writers as guest bloggers.
- Kristen Lamb’s Blog covers everything from dialogue to social media for writers and more.
- Backspace has many resources including a subscription-only forum for writers.
- Reference for Writers looks at all aspects and genres of writing as well as having an enormous variety of resources for researching everything from dragons to EMS workers to American life in the 1990s and more.
- Creative Writing with the Crimson League offers writing advice from fantasy author Victoria Grefer.
- The Blood-Red Pencil has a large blogging team of editors and writers providing writing advice.
- Draft is a writing blog hosted by The New York Times and written by a multidisciplinary group of editors, linguists, historians and more.
- Fiction Factor is a massive writing resource covering many topics.
- Write to Done looks at techniques for fiction among other types of writing.
- Writers Helping Writers takes topic suggestions as well as publishing guest posts from many different types of writers.
- Writer Unboxed features many different writers discussing techniques in fiction writing as well as the business side.
- Helping Writers Become Authors offers inspiration and advice on characterisation, structure, editing and more.
- Live Write Thrive offers writing advice from writer and editor C.S. Lakin.
- Aliventures covers different types of writing including fiction.
- How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book covers everything from structure to staying motivated and more.
- Jody Hedlund examines many aspects of writing successful fiction.
- Novel Publicity & Co. includes a lot of information about promoting your novel but also covers many how-to writing topics.
- Moody Writing examines scene, character, structure and more.
- Writers FM is a radio station for writers with interviews, music and more.
- Storytellers Unplugged features a roster of 30 writers, booksellers, publishing professionals and others – one for each day of the month – blogging on the art, the craft and the business.
- What About Writing is a blog with articles, challenges and more as well as an ask box and a Writer of the Month competition.
- My Writer’s Circle is an active forum about writing.
- Writing.ie bills itself as the home of Irish writing online but actually has an enormous number of resources and links to writing websites for writers and readers in every genre and country.
- Writing While the Rice Boils is a terrific blog that includes resources, interviews, reviews, writing advice and more.
- Author is the online magazine of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association in the United States, but it has articles and other information of interest to writers worldwide.
- inkPageant curates blog posts on writing, and writers can submit their own posts for the site as well as searching by subject matter.
- Publication Coach runs a blog that includes helpful advice for writers.
- Ben Schmitt’s blog ‘The Authors’ Nook’ gives great writing advice with a dose of humour.
Grammar and Language
- Grammar Girl explains language and usage in an entertaining manner at her blog.
- The Chicago Manual of Style is the style guide used by most of the book publishing industry.
- Daily Writing Tips looks at topics like usage, spelling, vocabulary and more.
- Grammar Book has usage rules, quizzes and more.
- Word Hippo generates word origins, synonyms, antonyms, translations, tenses, rhyming words, various parts of speech, names and more.
- The Expert Editor, billed as ‘Australia’s leading editing and proofreading company’, offers this excellent guide to 30 of the most common grammar mistakes.
Romance, and Chick-lit
- Romance University is a site for romance writers that focuses on writing, business and psychology.
- Romance Divas is an award-winning blog about writing romance.
- Marketing for Romance Writers covers romance marketing and other aspects of writing romance novels.
- The Aspiring Romance Writer’s Blog gives aspiring writers tips from established and beginning novelists.
- Romance Junkies is a huge site that includes reviews, interviews, contests, articles on the craft of writing and more.
- Romance Bandits has 17 writers blogging about the industry. The rest of the site includes news, prizes and more.
- Novelicious is a blog for readers and writers of women’s fiction.
- Women’s Fiction Writers is a blog for and by women fiction writers.
- Our list of 51 must-visit romance websites gives a fuller list of writing associations and resources.
- Fictionaut is a blog with writing advice, interviews and more focused on literary fiction.
- The Elegant Variation takes a look at the contemporary literary fiction scene.
- Story in Literary Fiction covers the art and craft of writing literary fiction.
- Editor’s Opinion Blog examines various elements of literary fiction writing including characterisation, setting and more.
- Words Without Borders focuses on translation and international literature.
Crime, Mystery and Thrillers
- International Association of Crime Writers is a global organisation for those who write in the genre.
- International Thriller Writers brings together writers of thrillers from all over the world.
- Sisters in Crime is an organisation for women who write in the genre with branches worldwide.
- Jungle Red Writers is a blog for mystery writers and readers by seven women crime writers.
- Elizabeth Spann Craig blogs about writing mysteries.
- Confessions of a Mystery Novelist is the blog of a mystery writer and professor who examines writing and reading in the genre.
- Criminal Minds features crime writers responding to a different reader question on writing, crime fiction and publishing each day.
- The Writer’s Forensics Blog is written by a medical doctor for crime writers.
- Detectives Beyond Borders is an award-winning blog that focuses on worldwide crime fiction.
Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror
- SFWA is the site for the Science Fiction Writers of America, but even for writers outside of the United States, the site itself has a number of excellent resources for novelists interested in working in this genre.
- The Horror Writer’s Association aims to have a more international scope than SWFA and also has resources available at its site for non-members.
- Science Fiction & Fantasy Novelists is a writing advice blog is maintained by a group of successful genre writers.
- Worldbuilding Rules offers advice for fantasy and science fiction writers on creating plausible worlds.
- The Writer and the Critic is a podcast that focuses on speculative fiction.
- Tor Books is a major publisher of science fiction and fantasy, and their site is an enormous resource of blog posts, links, original fiction and more.
- Locus is the trade news magazine of the science fiction and fantasy publishing world.
- This is Horror is an excellent site for keeping up with news and reviews of horror fiction.
Children’s and YA
- Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is an international organisation for authors of children’s literature.
- SCBWI Blog is the society’s blog.
- Adventures in YA Publishing covers all aspects of writing for young adults.
- Kidlit is all about writing and reading middle-grade and YA fiction.
- YA Highway is where YA novelists write about the field.
- Justine Larbalestier is a YA novelist who blogs about writing in genre.
- Inky Girl features writer Debbie Ridpath Ohi on writing YA and children’s fiction.
- YA Confidential focuses on writing for teens and current YA novels.
- Literary Rambles looks at YA publishing, writing and agents.
- Historical Novel Society is devoted to the appreciation of the historical novel and includes many resources and links to other writing websites.
- Writing Historical Novels is written by a rotating cast of established novelists.
- A Writer of History offers advice on writing historical fiction as well as interviews with readers.
- English History Authors is a blog about English history by historical fiction writers.
- History Refreshed by Susan Higginbotham is a blog by a historical novelist that focuses on late medieval and Tudor history and the craft and genre of historical fiction.
- Queen Anne Boleyn is a blog for historical novelists of all periods and places that includes writing groups, reenactment groups and more.
- Reading the Past is a blog about the historical fiction genre and includes reviews, publishing news and more.
- Stephie Smith lists an enormous number of historical resources for writers.
- Jane Austen’s World is a blog about the Regency period.
- Historical Novels lists thousands of novels divided by time period and location and also includes reviews and interviews.
[Update] Because we keep finding more great websites for writers, the list contains more than 151 websites now. We’ve tried to include something on every aspect of learning how to write a book.
Is the sheer quantity of writing on writing overwhelming? Maybe you should stop reading and start writing your novel.
What are your favourite websites and blogs for writers?
(Image from here)