Category Archives: Writing Resources

Music I Listen To While Writing

iTunes Radio - Ambient Radio

Ever since Apple came out with iTunes Radio, I’ve gravitated to this particular station to listen to while I write: iTunes Radio – Ambient Radio

Everyone has their own process. I know when I was younger I used to listen to Pink Floyd, Yes, ELP, the Beatles, etc. while I worked.

This music though, I find it doesn’t get in the way. It helps my creative process in the background. Also, since usually writing is such a lonely process, having this ambient background going keeps me company.

What music do you listen to while creating?

Your Guide to Scrivener

scrivener_coverI’ve mentioned Scrivener here at least three times:

So you can tell I’m a big fan of this software. It’s about as simple as a complex piece of software can be — the beauty of it being that you don’t have to know how to use every single feature in order to use it. You can just open it and start typing, and slowly learn the features as you go.

That’s how I did it.

Despite there being great manuals, numerous “how-to” videos, and a great wiki, there was still room for a very quick, simple, guide to jump start you into the most useful features you might otherwise have missed. Like I have. Many times.

Here’s that guide, and it’s free: YOUR GUIDE TO SCRIVENER: THE ULTIMATE TOOL FOR WRITERS. Nicole Dioniso does a great job stepping you through the features that you didn’t know you need until you discover they exist. And these aren’t just wonky features you might use once every 7 years, either.

Have I mentioned Scrivener is awesome?

Scrivener is awesome. And so is this guide.

Location Resource: California Native Plant Link Exchange

Have a scene or story set in the wilderness areas of California, and have no idea what kind of plants grown wild there?

Check out the California Native Plant Exchange:

I’d been putting off writing a story set in Humboldt County because I haven’t been there in a long, long time, and wanted to actually go there, and write it there, but it looks like that is not going to happen, so Google Maps, Streetview, Google Earth, and this website are what I have to work with. Which, really, is a lot.

Checking On Culture by Lee Killough

Culture_smallIf you write any kind of fiction at all which deals with world building (creating a world, environment, culture, population – human or otherwise) then to you I highly recommend this little book. I picked my copy up at a science fiction convention directly from the author’s table several years ago and I have never regretted it.

Actually, I’ve thanked myself for it, numerous times, and would also like to publically thank Lee Killough for writing it.

It doesn’t mince words. It gets right to the point. It’s a tool to help you develop, in your mind and on the page, the most complete and realistic society and environment for your otherworldly stories.

From the publisher, Yard Dog Press: “This wonderful non-fiction reference is a “must-have” for every writer, whether a long-time pro or an up-and-comer. Killough answers all your questions about how to develop cultures.”

At the moment it’s only available as a dead-tree book, but I have heard rumors that Yard Dog is soon making the leap into ebook publishing. When that happens I’m going to buy the book AGAIN.

Link: Checking on Culture by Lee Killough, Yard Dog Press

Writing Update

I’m really moving right along with progress on my current novel, and have discovered a wonderful feature on Google Maps that is an ultimate writing research tool:  Google Maps StreetView.  I can actually zoom in on some of the places I’ve set my novel, and see everything from the street level. 


Build it yourself print anthology?

I stumbled upon this and thought it was a new form of vanity press.  Well, it is, and it isn’t.

This is a rather gray area market which is seeking previously published works of fiction (up to 50,000 words).  Your work has to be accepted, and when it is, it goes into the digital equivalent of a big pile at the center of the website.

Readers then comb through the stories, figure out which ones look interesting, and add them to their custom built anthology.  When their anthology is full, the reader picks a pretty picture for the cover, ads a title, forks over $14.95 and a freshly minted copy of the book is POD’ed and sent directly to them through the mail.

If they choose one of your stories (or one of your covers, for you artists out there) your account gets credited a set royalty for the sale.

I have my doubts about the ultimate viability of this business model, but you never know.  It could be the next big thing.

Did I submit any of my previously published stories to  No, I did not.  Legit or not it still smells of vanity press to me.

Novel & Short Story Writer's Market EDITOR'S BLOG

Every once in a while I stumble upon a great Internet site I wish I’d known about earlier.

This is one of them:

It seems the Writer’s Market of yore is reinventing itself online, and this is part of it. I remember in the pre-Internet days I used to live and breathe the Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market books, shelling out good money for them every year. It was the fiction market’s bible.

When the Writer’s Market put itself online and then wanted to charge for access, I signed up for a while but quickly found I could get all the market listings I wanted for free from places such as Spicy Green Iguana (which now seems to be stagnating) and (my personal favorite)

This blog, however, brings back the old warm-and-fuzzies from my days of dog-earing the old fiction bible, and has a great “Friday Feast” market news post that keeps you up to date on who’s buying and who’s gone on hiatus, etc.