So many writing resources. So many how-to books. So many style manuals. As a writer, you could spend an entire life reading and studying, intimidating yourself so with everyone else’s ideas and rules that you never actually sit down to write anything from your heart.
One overarching fact crystalized in my head over years of writing/editing millions of words in business content and numerous novels — sometimes the best way to communicate an idea involves blasting away the rules and conventions with a creative blow torch. Creative license makes writing fresh… and, well… yours.
Don’t get me wrong, it is important to research and read when you’re a writer. You need to know the rules—at least the basics, so you can keep your audience intrigued. But, you also need to know when to bend or ignore those rules to best serve your own writing voice. (More on this in my #9 Writing Tip, coming soon.)
So, where to start? Here are a few of my favorite resources for learning writing basics:
- Franklin Covey Style Guide for Business and Technical Communication
- Associated Press Stylebook
- Others’ online content. Check out which Web and blog writing captures your attention. Take it and make it better.
- Others’ collateral material. What verbiage catches your eye in other organizations’ materials? Why? How can you incorporate it and make it your own.
- My favorite book for character development: Goal Motivation Conflict, Debra Dixon
- My favorite book for plot development: The Writer’s Journey, Christopher Vogler
- My favorite book on writing. Yes, it’s called On Writing, and it’s by Stephen King (of all people)
- Books in the genre you’re writing. I’ve been studying Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Beautiful Creatures, and other young-adult novels.
- Books not in your genre. What cool writing techniques, words, or ideas, can you glean from other authors and stories? New ideas formulate “outside the box.”
There you have it. A couple of great starting places. Now, go forth and create your masterpiece… I’m eager to read it in your very own voice.
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth
P.S. What writing resources are your favorites? Please comment below.