Towards a Writers’ Compendium

There’s tons of material on the web about all aspects of writing. Here is a list of 100 best websites for writers as proof. Yet, few sites manage their content so that it’s easy to get an overview of all the relevant writing elements that you might want to know about. I was thinking about this yet again as I scrolled through this 2018 list and specifically when I visited this website: Fiction University.

Fiction University

What caught my eye was the menu on the left side — it is given in full below as an example of the ease at which a lot of material can be summarized.  Really nice! It’s easy to scroll the topics and the list underscores the myriad aspects to craft.

What if this existed for articles across the web? One of the things about writing advice is that it is diverse and often conflicting.  Authors all have strong opinions but what works for some might not work for all. Also, some articles stand out as best of breed on a particular topic. A curated resource that quickly and efficiently helped writers navigate would be great…I’d certainly love it. Just have to find the time to create it…

Thoughts and help welcome! It’s on the whiteboard.


Over 1,000 articles to help you take your writing to the next level!

Planning Your Novel

Ideas and Brainstorming

Story Development and Theme

Character Development

Structure and Outlining


Goals, Conflict , Tension, and Stakes


World Building


Word Count

Series and Trilogies

Writing Your Novel

Voice and Style

Dialog and Internalization

Point of View (POV)





Tone and Mood

Common Writing Problems

Show vs. Tell




Lack of Conflict

Lack of Action

Lack of Goals

Lack of Tension

Lack of Motivation

Lack of Stakes

Stalled Stories

Editing Your Novel

First Drafts

Revision and Editing

Word Choice

Trimming Words

Critiques and Feedback

Selling Your Novel

Query Letters

The Synopsis

The Submission Process

Marketing and Promotion


Self Publishing

The Writing Life

Being a Writer

Motivation and Productivity

Regular Columns

How They Do It

Indie Author Series

Real Life Diagnostics


We need the singular ‘they’ – and it won’t seem wrong for long

Today, it’s hard to remember the degree of resistance that nonsexist language evoked at the time.

An insider view of the history of nonsexist language by a woman who was in a position to implement.

Language evolves especially if we decide to make it do so:

Yet Webster’s third edition and nonsexist language did not cause the sky to fall. In fact, their innovations became normalised surprisingly soon.

How sex, religion and jealousy drove a fatal wedge into Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung’s frenetic friendship

AEON is exploring a new mode of producing high quality media – crowdfunding.

If you contribute $500 to the Kickstarter campaign you get your face in the animation depicting this classic intellectual feud:

How sex, religion and jealousy drove a fatal wedge into Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung’s frenetic friendship Read more

The language of depression

People with depression use language differently – here’s how to spot it

Increasingly, computational linguists are able to detect patterns in how our moods are expressed in words. It’s not just the obvious, such as saying, “I’m happy or I’m sad,” but over- and underuse of classes of words.

Searching the ‘words’ of those suffering depression shows overrepresentation of ‘negative’ words as might be expected but also overuse of the pronoun ‘I’. Now, skewed patterns also include ‘absolutist’ vocabulary:

Our lab recently conducted a big data text analysis of 64 different online mental health forums, examining over 6,400 members. “Absolutist words” – which convey absolute magnitudes or probabilities, such as “always”, “nothing” or “completely” – were found to be better markers for mental health forums than either pronouns or negative emotion words.


Today LitHub starts a new series of questions for writers. Fascinating to see what top level concepts go into a book and where writers were in their lives when they produced a book.

How might you answer?

1. Without summarizing it in any way, what would you say your book is about?

2. Without explaining why and without naming other authors or books, can you discuss the various influences on your book?

3. Without using complete sentences, can you describe what was going on in your life as you wrote this book?

4. What are some words you despise that have been used to describe your writing by readers and/or reviewers?

5. If you could choose a career besides writing (irrespective of schooling requirements and/or talent) what would it be?

6. What craft elements do you think are your strong suit, and what would you like to be better at?

7. How do you contend with the hubris of thinking anyone has or should have any interest in what you have to say about anything?

Important message means powerful writing: abundance versus scarcity mindset

The fact is that the scarcity mentality and the perpetual warrior style it demands are incompatible with any civilized political creed.

This quote comes from today’s New York Times opinion piece by David Brooks. It exemplifies how a big thought yields powerful writing. His concept of the world shifting from a philosophy of abundance to one of scarcity is an idea of the times. A massive idea that makes for a deeply memorable short piece. Massive ideas packed into small spaces are the stuff of Pulitzer’s. How will your writing change how the world thinks — and sees itself?