In case you’re in need of a serious kick in the pants, here are some programs, books, and software that can help you out in finishing your novel. Whatever your problem, there’s a fix!
Hand Hobbies Resource Guide (New!): Thanks to Amelia for pointing out this excellent resource guide for young writers. This guide walks you through the five stages of writing to make your ideas flow perfectly on the page.
How to Write A Novel: Author Jerry B. Jenkins (of Left Behind fame) has assembled an excellent course and evaluation for writers of any stage. This guide is a twelve-step process that starts with identifying core ideas and ends with tricks to wow readers on every page. This is a great place to stop by on your writing journey!
Draft 2 Digital: When I’m formatting, laying out, or publishing an ebook, this is my one-stop miracle shop. D2D walks you through the difficult and obscure parts of creating and publishing ebook, as well as providing a storefront where you can direct all your readers to their preferred shops online!
Your First 10,000 Readers: This system run by Nick Stephenson is incredibly helpful for mastering the post-publishing arena with your books. Check it out if you want some practical t
Grammarly: I’ve been using Grammarly for a few years now, so I think it’s graduated to being an official “resource” for me. Access to this awesome editor/proofreader is free, but the premium subscription offers a lot more and is especially useful for serious writers.
Novlr: This resource is an online platform for writing books. Excellent service with terrific options–online or offline writing, any device, and multiple export options. Check it out!
The Stinkyink Guide to Publishing Your Own Book: This nifty guide is an excellent free resource that walks you through the entire self-publishing process, including ebooks and physical books, rights and legal management, and marketing. It’s easy to search if you want quick advice and recommends some excellent services!
Writeordie.com: I use this site frequently when I sense myself beginning to lag. Basically, you set a word goal and a time limit and then the program threatens you whenever you stop for more than a second or so. It’s intimidating at first, but your productivity will skyrocket!
NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month (November, also Camp NaNoWriMo twice a year). This website offers great advice year-round. Browse the forums, check out the offers, and if you successfully participate you can get some sweet deals on services!
Scrivener: This swanky writing software is available for both Macs and PCs, and it’s amazing. It uses many of the same features as Yarny, but more with templates and outlining systems easily in place and a way to store summaries of every scene for quick indexing. Absolutely worth the price if you like looking at your work from different angles!
Firstwriter.com: Looking beyond the draft? Firstwriter.com has the tools to get you connected with literary agents and put the finishing touches on your books so that you can finally prepare them for publication! In addition, you can stay up to date on writing contests and even find publishers for yourself. Definitely a good way to make a strong finish and get your book out there however you want
Dramatica Pro: Dramatica has a ton of helpful tools that can help you sort through issues in your story that you might not have even known you had. How do your characters contrast each other? Is the tension at your climax just right? How focused is your novel? This is quickly becoming one of my “must haves” for aspiring novelists, so check it out!
Scribophile: If you’re wanting a fresh pair of experienced eyes (oxymoron, I know) to look over your draft, this online critiquing group is as good as it gets. And the basic account is free. You help others with their writing and get help with yours–it’s that simple.
Pro Writing Aid: I can spend hours every day drilling through this free online editing software. First you some of your writing into a box, and Pro Writing Aid generates reports and nitpicks everything. I was shocked at how many simple fixes my sample chapter needed that I hadn’t seen after hours of editing! It’s fast, easy and it knows how to write.
Writer’s Diet: There are many fitness sites out there that can give you a report of your general health based on your diet and exercise daily. Now there’s one for your writing. Paste some text into it and it will tell you what areas of your work are thriving and what areas are flabby.
I Write Like: This isn’t so much a writing tool as it is a writing evaluator. See which famous authors write like you and what the strengths are to your kind of writing. I got Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, Invisible Monsters and Burnt Tongues.
No one understands writers like other writers. Here are some highly recommended resources that can help you get ‘er done!
How to Write A Damn Good Novel, by James N. Frey. You will learn nothing at all from this book if you read it–nothing, that is, except how to write a damn good novel. Frey walks you through planning and character development to refinement and delivery.
A Writer’s Guide to Persistence, by Jordan Rosenfeld. If you’re looking for a way to live the writer’s life, this is the book for you. Rosenfeld provides a lot of food for thought in this book along with helpful exercises and practical tips to move you forward.
No Plot? No Problem! By Chris Baty. This beauty of a handbook by the founder of NaNoWriMo was designed especially for writers in distress. He shows you how to keep writing no matter how your novel is falling apart or how trapped you are with writers’ block–and how you can finish it in a matter of weeks.
The Writer’s Little Handbook, by James V. Smith. This is my personal favorite writing guide. It covers everything from basic outlining to preparing for publication, and is not a book to be overlooked!
Writing Down The Bones, by Natalie Goldberg. If your creativity needs a jolt to get it back into action, this is your book. It’s filled with ideas, writing exercises and inspiration that will get you back into the mood. If your story requires you to think outside the box, this is an excellent resource!