Your creative process as a fiction writer may differ from those of your peers, but one thing’s for sure: all of you struggle with the same basic problems.
For example, how do you beat writer’s block? How do you develop the habit of writing every day? How do you flesh out the finer details for your latest historical novel? How do you make your alternate sci-fi universe more believable? How do you solve that annoying tip-of-the-tongue problem?
Luckily, there are websites that help you solve those problems, or at least make them more bearable. They help your story come to life, through exercises and practice, advice and motivation. You’d be surprised with what you find in this list of sites fiction writers should visit. Keep in mind that this is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is meant to address the most common of storyteller woes.
Recommended Reading: How To Tell Stories Others Want To Share
1. Writer’s Block – 750 Words
According to creator Buster Benson, the idea behind 750Words.com is to help you develop the habit of writing 750 words (or three pages of 250 words each) every day, no matter how crude, unfiltered, or unedited those words may be. The site generates a monthly score card to help you track your progress, and saves copies of your writing, in case you need to revisit them for any reason.
2. Writer’s Block – StoryWonk Story Generator
Most writing prompt websites give you only a few words or phrases to work with. StoryWonk takes it a bit further, and generates interesting (not to mention humorous) plot ideas like “He’s a generous professor with a bad attitude; she’s an idealistic sales clerk with doting parents. Together, they must learn to cook without ever meeting.”
Don’t worry if you end up with an idea that’s complete nonsense; you can always refresh the page again and again until you find what you like.
3. Research Aid – OneLook (Reverse Dictionary)
While writing your story, there will be times when you have to stop and ask: “What’s the word that means (insert definition here)?” Obviously, a normal dictionary won’t be helpful here, because dictionaries are designed to help you look up unknown definitions of known words, not the other way around.
In this case, you need OneLook’s reverse dictionary, which helps you search for words that best describe or sum up the definition or description you have in mind. For example, if you type “urge to travel” in the search bar, the system will return “wanderlust” and all other related words.
4. Research Aid – Dictionary of Symbolism
In good fictional works, even the tiniest details have meaning and significance. A flower, for instance, can symbolize either romantic love (as in the case of red roses) or happiness (as in the case of sunflowers). If you want to know whether you used the right symbol to express a concept in your story, you can always refer to the University of Michigan’s Dictionary of Symbolism.
5. Research Aid – Best of History Websites
Even if you can invoke “artistic license” as an excuse to get creative with your historical or medieval fantasy novel, it’s always better to keep the details as realistic and believable as possible. If you need help in this area, look no further than BestofHistoryWebsites.net, a comprehensive resource for serious history researchers.
It boasts of over 1200 annotated links to history websites, and claims to be recommended by the likes of the New York Public Library, the BBC, Princeton University, among others.
6. Research Aid – The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
Do you want to write a story with a science fiction element (e.g. time travel), and ensure that your take on that element hasn’t been done before?
If you look it up on “The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction”, you might find at least one entry that explains the element, talks about how authors have used it throughout history, and relates it to other useful entries. The encyclopedia also has entries on fantasy elements here.
7. Inspiration – Advice To Writers
At some point in your writing career, you’re going to question why you chose a life of pounding away at your keyboard, when you don’t have a “real” guarantee that you’ll land on the New York Times’ bestseller list. If you’re not ready to throw in your writing towel yet, head over to Jon Winokur’s site at Advice to Writers, and get your daily dish of wisdom slash inspiration from the world’s finest writers.
8. Inspiration – M. Kirin’s Writing Blog
M. Kirin’s Writing Blog aims to set itself apart from your usual Tumblr blogs as a one-stop shop for budding writers. Here, you’ll find story seeds, weird prompts, answers to OC (Original Character) questions, writing advice, and writer positivity quotes.
9. Fiction Markets – Writing Career
If you already have a story, but you’re not sure where to submit it, visit WritingCareer.com. The site lists the fiction publications currently open for submissions, as well as their respective guidelines, deadlines, and payment terms.
10. Fiction Markets – All Indie Writers
Another site that lists fiction markets is AllIndieWriters.com. Just click “Writers Markets” on the home page, then the drop-down menu under the heading “Browse by Category”, then “Fiction Writers’ Markets”. Here, you’ll find heavyweight publications like Asimov’s Science Fiction, Clarkesworld Magazine, and Strange Horizons.
These are just 10 sites of the many thousands of other websites out there, available for the benefit of fiction writers. If you know of other sites that have greatly helped you in your fiction writing career, do share them in the comments section.