Story writing websites and resources: 200 of the best

Story writing websites and resources: 200 of the best

Image of writer at work - 200 best websites for writers | Now Novel

Need writing resources? Here are 200 of the very best writing websites, 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 outline for your story:

Structure and Plot

  • Screenwriting Tips for Authors is the blog of screenwriter and novelist Alexandra Sokoloff, packed with tips.
  • The Plot Whisperer by literary and historical fiction author Martha Alderson is all about plotting.
  • Plot Generator churns out some outlandish ideas, but offers a fun way to generate plot ideas.
  • Scapple is mind-mapping software from the same company that developed Scrivener. Although it is paid software, there is a 30-day trial.
  • Self-publishing School put together this fun list of 400 writing prompts. Find inspiration for your next story premise.
  • Hawes Publications keeps an updated list of the loglines (two-line summaries or blurbs) for all New York Times bestsellers. A useful resource to read brief story idea synopses that could inspire your own next plot idea.
  • Plot analysis worksheet by Deborah Bruch, an Associate Professor of Theatre at Michigan Technological University. This simple worksheet contains questions to ask when analyzing your plot.
  • K.M. Weiland’s blog is a useful resource for writers on plot as well as other subjects. The link above is to her ‘The Secrets of Story Structure’ series.
  • Now Novel’s storybuilding tools and coaching help our members develop and expand their plots (yes, we included ourselves!). Try the first part of the tool for free (basic membership includes free access to our peer critique forum).

Characterization

  • 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.
  • Motive Generator is a simple random character motivation generator.
  • Writers Write founded by Amanda Patterson has a useful blog. The linked blog post lists 350 ideas for character traits, negative and positive.
  • Character Creator is a fun avatar-creation tool you can use for character inspiration. Play around with facial features, physique, clothing and accessories. Then jot down a description of your character in the ‘Characters’ section of our story outlining dashboard.
  • This person does not exist is a fascinating website for character inspiration. Each time you refresh the page, it generates a realistic portrait of someone who does not exist using AI. Find visual inspiration for a character fast.
  • This character development worksheet by Janalyn Voigt has some good prompts to brainstorm characters.

You can also use the ‘Characters’ section of our story dashboard to profile characters step-by-step and add them to your growing story outline automatically as you complete each one, then download a PDF of all your character profiles alongside plot, setting and scene ideas.

Cinderella's fairy godmother - partial character profile | Now Novel
Example of a character profile made in the Now Novel dashboard

Researching Agents and Writing Queries and Synopses

  • Query Shark offers contributors the opportunity to have their novel queries critiqued. You can also read critiques of others’ queries for insights.
  • Evil Editor breaks down synopses and explains pitfalls writers should avoid.
  • Chuck Sambuchino’s Publishing Insights section of the Writer’s Digest blog touches on querying among other important aspects of publishing.
  • Agent Query is a free searchable database of literary agents. It not only allows you to search by genre, but also includes information such as agent interests and whether they are currently accepting new clients.
  • Janet Reid, Literary Agent writes another excellent blog. Crime fiction is her specialty, but many of her posts concern all types of fiction.
  • NY Book Editors have an excellent blog – the linked article on writing query letters gives plenty of good tips as well as helpful examples of strong openings and more.

Publishing (and the business of writing)

  • Publishers Weekly is a great resource on all things to do with publishing, with a lot of free material on its site and free e-newsletters.
  • Writer Beware is a resource hosted by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America that includes helpful information about scam agents and publishers to avoid.
  • Publishers Marketplace keeps track of publishing deals, and also has listings where authors and agents can offer rights for adapting original stories for film and other media.
  • Jane Friedman focuses on digital changes in publishing and how authors can navigate them. Her beginner’s guide to getting published is particularly helpful.
  • The Creative Penn is USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Joanna Penn’s blog, including helpful articles on publishing and marketing your work.
  • Publishing Perspectives takes a global approach, featuring the latest news relating to publishing from around the world.
  • The Burry Man Writers Center has a helpful uber-list of markets for writers, such as literary and online magazines accepting submissions.
  • The Freelancer’s Survival Guide is an entire free book online by Kristine Kathryn Rusch about how to survive as a freelancer.
  • Kirkus’ Writing Center online includes a useful publishing section including articles such as agents’ views on working with indie authors, common mistakes when seeking literary representation and how to avoid publishing scammers.
  • Writer’s Relief is a helpful blog packed with in-depth articles, such as this guide to the publishing industry for newcomers.
  • Bookbub’s blog often features helpful articles on publishing matters, such as this article ’50+ Publishing Resources You Should Know About’ by Diana Urban
  • The Authors Guild has a helpful library of articles and videos for aspiring authors. Subjects include self-publishing, legal issues pertaining to publishing and more. Although some content is locked for non-premium members, there are many free-to-access guides too.
  • TCK Publishing put together this helpful list of 100+ reputable publishing companies, including ‘Big 5′ publishers and URLs for publishers’ submission guidelines.

Editor and Agent Blogs

  • Nathan Bransford is an author and former literary agent 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 – read her article ‘How to Get Published’.
  • 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.
  • Writer’s Helper is a no-frills blog by author and editor Audrey Owen, whose focus is in editing self-publishing authors. Her blog contains helpful writing tips on a range of topics.

Self-Publishing

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.
  • 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. It may also be of interest to novelists wishing to ground themselves in some of the great works of literature. Take for example this lecturer’s article on the history of dystopian fiction.
  • Theodora Goss is a fantasy writer who blogs about her inspirations and how to balance writing with the other demands of life.
  • 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.
  • Nonsense Generator is a very simple tool for creating bizarre sentences that can spark ideas. For example: ‘That stolen figurine could please even the most demanding follower of Freud.’
  • Reedsy has many inspiring and helpful articles on their blog, including this selection of 500+ writing prompts.
  • Thinkwritten also offers this vast selection of 365 writing prompts.
  • Pinterest is also a useful place to find both written prompts and images that could inspire a story or scene idea. The linked board by Mandy Wallace contains many concise prompts.
  • The John Fox offers many interesting articles on writing and inspiration, including this piece on how 50 famous authors find inspiration.

Janet Evanovich quote on inspiration and writing | Now Novel

Workshops and Forums

  • Wattpad is one of the better known online writing workshops where you can get feedback from other writers. It is particularly favoured by younger and fanfiction authors.
  • 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.
  • Reddit is home to many fascinating discussion threads and writing-related ‘subreddits’ (topic-specific collections of threads where writers discuss all aspects of craft). See for example the ‘Fantasy Writers’ page.
  • Scribophile is an online writing community where you can get peer review by other authors and earn ‘karma points’ for critiquing others’ work to submit your own for feedback.
  • Quora is often a very useful resource when you have a specific writing-related question (for example ‘what are the pros and cons of using first person narrative or third person narrative when writing a book?’) Members tend to be helpful and detailed in their answers.

Writing websites offering general advice

  • Copyblogger is a website specializing in content marketing and often features helpful, practical tips for writers.
  • Terrible Minds is the popular blog of writer Chuck Wendig who shares his observations on publishing and writing technique.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Writers in the Storm features professional writers across a variety of genres blogging about their craft and specialties.
  • 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 by Janice Hardy features experienced writers as guest bloggers.
  • Kristen Lamb’s Blog covers everything from dialogue to social media for writers and more.
  • The Blood-Red Pencil has a large blogging team of editors and writers providing writing advice.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Publication Coach runs a blog that includes helpful advice for writers.
  • Lithub is a fantastic, more literary-oriented online publication that has a whole section of articles on writing craft and advice.
  • Brainpickings is a cerebral blog where writer Maria Popova shares the insights, literary and philosophical, she’s gained through her own reading.
  • ProWritingAid runs a great blog with tips on writing, editing and more. See their post on how to use their suite of editing tools with Now Novel’s story outlining tools here.
  • Jerry Jenkins’ blog is full of writing tips and how to’s written in a simple, readable style.
  • The Australian Writers’ Centre frequently hosts high quality guest content by published authors on their blog, covering craft-related topics from mastering POV to grammar tips and author interviews.

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.
  • Scribens is a handy free grammar checker that identifies various categories of grammar error as well as giving statistics on elements of your copy-paste text such as word repetition counts.
  • Hemingway App is a useful browser-based tool for checking issues such as passive voice as well as reading difficulty grading.
  • Guide to Grammar and Writing is a free compendium of clear explanations of terms in grammar and writing (such as adjectives, adverbs and prepositions), as well as guides to more complex grammar topics such as sentence combining skills.
  • Purdue University’s free online resources include a grammar guide with grammar-learning exercises that you can use to build your command of language.
  • Thesaurus dot com is an essential resource for finding that perfect synonym for a word that isn’t quite the right one.
  • The Punctuation Guide contains clear, well-presented guides to using punctuation such as periods, semi-colons, question marks and more (for US English writing).
  • Larry Trask’s Guide to Punctuation Guide to Punctuation is a great alternate resource giving in-depth lessons in punctuation for UK English authors.
  • Grammarly is editing software including a browser applet you can install to check your writing for grammatical errors anywhere online.

Romance and ‘women’s’ fiction

Literary Fiction

  • The Paris Review is a fantastic resource for personal, intimate interviews that inspire and illuminate, with esteemed authors such as Toni Morrison and Philip Roth featuring. Many interviews require subscription to read the full text, but there are some free areas.
  • The New Yorker’s fiction section has hosted stories by luminaries such as the Nobel-winning author Alice Munro among many others, and continues to be a source of fine fiction writing.
  • The Threepenny Review is one of many respected literary journals, and pays at time of writing $400 per accepted story and $200 per accepted poem for publication.
  • McSweeney’s Internet Tendency is a long-standing daily humour website and publishes a literary quarterly including personal essays, short stories, comic strips and other media.
  • 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

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 is a one-stop resource for aspiring horror authors.
  • 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.
  • TV Tropes is an excellent resource, not just for writers penning screenplays but for novelists too. Their explanation of the science fiction genre, for example, is succinct yet detailed.
  • Gizmodo’s io9 section also has many great articles on science fiction tropes and other aspects of the genre.
  • Clarkesworld is a Hugo award-winning science fiction magazine that publishes short stories, interviews, and audio fiction.
  • Science Fiction & Fantasy Magazine was the original publisher of seminal SF and fantasy stories, such as Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. On the site you’ll find author interviews along with free fiction, zines, and more.
  • Azgaar’s Fantasy Map Generator is a fun tool for visualizing the lay of your fantasy or sci-fi world and editing the names and locations of large-scale story settings visually.

Children’s and YA

Historical

  • 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.
  • 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.

Research

  • Wikipedia remains a useful resource for quick, ‘dirty’ searches (in that it’s important to check any information you find there against a published source for accuracy).
  • British Pathé has incredible footage in its archives of news reels from the early 20th Century, including footage of historical events such as the Hindenburg Disaster – as useful resource if your story includes famous events from this time period.
  • Evernote a browser-based note-taking app such as Evernote is extremely useful when you are doing historical research for your story online, as you can snip any relevant section of an article into a note and store it for later reference.
  • Europeana is a fantastic collection of European cultural records, from art and maps to music, natural history, newspapers and more. Trawl their collections for relevant records if you are writing a story set in historical Europe.
  • Lehigh University’s digitized collection of letters (titled ‘I remain’) contains letters by the likes of Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, and many others, spanning art, literature, science, travel and more.
  • Google Art Project is a particularly useful resource if your story features any famous artists or you simply want to find stunning visual inspiration, such as the colourful pieces in this article on the life of Frida Kahlo.
  • Snopes is a fantastic internet resource for separating fact from fiction – you can search for common urban legends and myths and find origin explanations and other debunking material.

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?

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