If you are a writer who is just starting out, you may be in need of resources. Maybe you need to check some grammar information. Maybe you are looking for places to submit writing. Maybe you need a good style guide. Maybe you need a writing prompt. If so, you’ve come to the right place. Below are some resources you can use to help you get started as a writer. There are of course many more, and this is just a sampling of what is out there.
There are a number of online grammar resources. When you have a grammar question, you might just think to look it up in a search engine. While this can be effective, you might come across inconsistent results, and also, you aren’t taking advantage of the ability to learn about grammar issues in advance.
One source of grammar information if you want to learn about grammar issues in advance is GrammarBook.com. They have over two dozen articles that you can read and learn from.
Another place to look if you want a basic introduction to grammar is Grammarly’s Basic Grammar Rules. They have a number of categories with articles on each. You can learn about grammar, punctuation, mechanics and more.
♦ Databases of places to submit writing
If you write literary writing, such as literary fiction or poetry, a great place to find magazines to submit to is Poets & Writers Literary Magazines database. It contains hundreds of literary magazines with some information about them and links to their sites. It can be a good resource for this style of writing. They also have a database of small presses if you write longer types of work.
Another similar resource is New Pages, who provides a literary magazine listing, a contest listing, and a call for submissions section.
If you write a variety of types of writing, you might check out the database of Writer’s Write. You can browse by category (e.g. food, mystery, or sports) to find the area you are interested in.
♦ Writing prompts
If you are looking for writing prompts, one quick choice is the article on this blog, Developing Good Writing Habits, by M. Sakran. At the end, are thirty one writing prompts you can use for ideas.
Not to promote my work again, but if you are looking for poetry writing ideas you might check out the Poetry Topic Ideas category on my blog, M. Sakran’s blog of and about poetry and poetry related things. There are over one hundred ideas in the category. You can find poetry topic ideas on a range of subjects such as electricity, exercise, paint, breakfast, locks, nostalgia, and many others.
Poets and Writers, mentioned above, also has a database of hundreds of writing prompts. You can filter them by poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction. You can scroll through and find a number of ideas.
On the blog from Reedsy, they have over 250 writing prompts. You can pick a genre and search for ideas.
♦ Style guides
One good style guide is The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law 2015 from The Associated Press. While you may think it used only for journalistic writing, it can be a great resource for writing in general.
The first part of the book is organized like a dictionary. It contains hundreds of terms along with information on how they should be presented. Should a term be capitalized? Should a word be one or two words? Should there be a hyphen between words? If you are writing, and you have a question like one of these about a specific term, The Associated Press Stylebook can be a good place to turn.
Another style guide you may be familiar with is The Chicago Manual of Style, Seventeenth Edition from the University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff. It is over a thousand pages long and has a great deal of information.
♦ Grammar guides
GrammarBook.com, mentioned previously, also has an associated book, The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation: an easy-to-use guide with clear rules, real-world examples, and reproducible quizzes, eleventh edition, by Jane Straus, Lester Kaufman, and Tom Stern.
Another grammar book you might check out is Grammar 101: from split infinitives to dangling participles, an essential guide to understanding grammar by Kathleen Sears. It covers a number of topics such as spelling, punctuation, pronouns and more.
As for a dictionary, you might check out Webster’s New World® College Dictionary, fifth edition by the editors of Webster’s New World® College Dictionaries. It has over 80,000 entries that you can peruse.
For a thesaurus, you could try Webster’s New World® Roget’s A-Z Thesaurus by Charlton Laird and the Editors of the Webster’s New World® Dictionaries.
♦ Book of quotes
If you are looking for quotes, one solid choice is And I quote: the definitive collection of quotes, sayings, and jokes for the contemporary speechmaker by Ashton Applewhite, William R. Evans III, and Andrew Frothingham. You can look for quote ideas by their subject category, by those categories alphabetically, or by looking up categories by synonym.
Another option is the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, eighth edition, by Elizabeth Knowles. It has more than twenty thousand quotes.
The above are just some resources. They are a place you can start if you are new to writing and need some information. There is also a lot more out there for you to learn from.
M. Sakran is that guy who walks those dogs. He is usually found standing by the side of the road while one of his dogs plays in a ditch and the other wonders why he isn't getting a treat right now. When not catering to canines, he tries to be a writer. He's had over ninety items published, including a collection of poetry called First Try, and has also self-published an eBook called Understanding: poems with explanations. You can find his poetry related blog at msakran.wordpress.com and his website at msakran.com.
A dish of meat and assorted vegetables originally invented by Hungarian cow herders. These herders, or gulyás, were of humble origin and concocted their cauldron cooked meals out of supplies they packed on their long journeys - millet, lard, onions, salt, bacon, chilis, and occasionally cow meat. Over time, as regional travelers were exposed to it, the dish evolved with additional spices and available vegetables, eventually spreading to upper classes. In modern society, it ranges from haute cuisine to a lower class hearty meal based on whatever is in the cabinet.