I’m currently on vacation, so in lieu of a long post, I’m going to leave you guys with a few resources that I find useful.
This blog examines urban fantasy, with a social justice bent. There are discussions of how the genre tends to handle race, sexuality, and gender, as well as reviews of books and TV shows. I link to this one a lot. It covers a pretty big intersection of under-represented identities, and even though I don’t usually work with urban fantasy I’ve found that most of their discussions are relevant to SFF in general. Sharp, insightful, and full of astute observations about how marginalized populations are portrayed.
Writing with Color is a tumblr with an extensive collection of posts discussing race and representation in fiction. It covers a wide range of topics and does a good job explaining why certain portrayals may be offensive. I’d highly recommend this site to anyone interested in writing characters who come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds.
Literary Agent Janet Reid takes query letters, rips them apart, and turns them into constructive advice on how to pitch your book. There’s an archive of well over 200 user-submitted query letters, pus her detailed, snarky feedback on what makes the query letter good, bad, or utterly unreadable. Brutal, brilliant, and absolutely worth reading if you’re considering sending out your book any time soon.
TV Tropes is a wiki that catalogs all of the devices used in fiction. It’s got entries for everything from character archetypes to stock-phrases to common plots, and provides examples of works where these things appear. It’s excellent for identifying tropes in your own work, seeing how other writers handled similar tropes in theirs, and wasting time while pretending to do research for your book.
A writing forum full of interesting, helpful people. It’s free, easy to join, and provides access to a large community of writers. The environment is friendly and constructive, without a lot of spam. You do need an account to get into the Water Cooler, which is where the forum is.
This site provides some great writing advice. It’s got a focus on superheroes, but even if that isn’t your genre, there’s a lot of common sense why-hasn’t-anyone-told-me-this-before writing tips. Unfortunately, it doesn’t update very often, but if you’ve got some time to comb the archives it’s well worth it.
This one covers a pretty broad range of different types of writing advice. It used to provide an emotion thesaurus (which is now being sold as a PDF, although some useful sample entries are still available for free) detailing different emotional tells to help portray emotions in a variety of ways. It still has some fairly extensive (and free) guides to characterization and setting, as well as some general advice articles.
Writing (and reading) like a boss:
A surprising number of people think that in the digital age their library card is a useless piece of plastic. Aside from being the key to accessing free physical books, it may also be able to get you access to free e-books. Go to your library’s website and see if there’s a digital lending collection or material available for download. A lot of libraries have accounts with Overdrive or another online e-book lender.
If you happen to be the sort of person who opens library cards the way others open credit cards, you can get access to multiple online collections, which means a potentially shorter wait for books and better selection.
I’m away right now and I’ll be spending most of Friday in transit, so in all likelihood, there will not be a post on Friday. Regular posting will resume Monday, June 11th.