151 great writing resources, segmented by genre and subject.


1. What class or classes do you teach?

I’m in my fourth year of teaching Junior English (American Lit and Composition) and Literature of England. This year I also get to teach Media Literacy for the very first time, which is exciting and horrifying all at once.

2. What type of writing do you deal with most often? Essays? Short answer? Outlines?

A little bit of everything. One of the awesome parts about teaching high school is that we get to experiment with a little of everything. In 11th grade our big focus point is the argumentative essay, but we also write screenplays, short stories, memoirs, poetry, ACT test essays, etc. 

3. How important is good grammar and spelling to you?

In a finalized, published piece it’s super important — noticing an error will immediately take your reader out of the piece and stop caring. (Which makes me hope to God I’ve done an alright job proofing this.) In drafts and revisions, though, it’s alright to be a little messy. 

It’s also important to know your purpose for a piece of writing. Creative pieces have a lot more leeway for weird grammar and sentence structure than a formal essay does. Personally, the best advice is that, in all walks of life, you need to know the rules and have a purpose for breaking them. Laziness doesn’t count.

4. Which style do you prefer students use in your class (MLA, APA, CMS, etc.)? Why?

Most Humanities teachers still roll with MLA, and I’m just fine with that as I’ve been using it for 10+ years through undergrad and high school. I’m just starting a Master’s of Education program which requires APA for everything and the differences are subtle, so knowing how to switch is also an important skill. Most of the time I’ve found that, since I know MLA pretty well, I can switch between formats with minimal pain. Regardless of your familiarity, resources like Purdue OWL are essential for students. Use them!

5. Do you have any tips for doing research?

Start early, use a system that’s comfortable for you, and dive right in. Many teachers require steps be completed in a certain order (research question, then thesis, then outline, then notecards, etc.) which can really trip up some students. My high school English teacher, for example, required that we take notes on index cards and use a complicated numbering system to keep track of which source the evidence came from. It was a nightmare. I’m just not wired to organize or process things that way. I’m a mental pre-writer — I don’t have notebooks filled with outlines or mind-maps or anything— so I usually start mulling over a topic or two in my head for a week or two before I start researching. After I’ve got my idea, I’ll comb through databases and articles to see what others say about my idea, then posit my own claim, and start writing to see where I end up. A lot of my initial writing is revised to hell by the end, but to me this process makes sense: the end result is the same, I just take a different route.

If your instructor is having you follow a specific research or note-taking process that doesn’t work for you, talk to them! Come up with an alternative. Same thing if you’re having difficulty finding sources or putting an idea into words. Teachers and librarians have been at this stuff a long time, and we’re here to help!

6. What are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to students’ writing in your class?

I have a few, but the biggest one is assuming that I’m too dumb to catch plagiarism. I’ve spent nine months reading everything you’ve written, so when you all of a sudden sound like a completely different person it’s fairly easy to catch. I know how to use Google. Most of the time catching a plagiarist is no more complicated than entering a few key phrases and seeing what pops up. 

Also, it’s bad karma. Writing is tough work, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Passing off someone else’s sweat, pain, and spiritual breakthroughs as your own will catch up with you even if you don’t get caught right away. Don’t be a dick.  

7. What are some writing mistakes that you make that you’d like to caution your students against?

Finding the purpose, audience, and tone for a piece of writing is really difficult for a lot of people. Memoir and persuasion should read differently, just like a tweet and a resume will read differently. It’s up to you to ensure that your formal writing stays formal. Over time your voice will grow to a point where you sound like you no matter the genre or format, but even then you have to be very deliberate about the words and phrases you choose to include based on who will be reading the piece and what the expectations are. Knowing when to switch between voices will make your life so much easier.

8. What do you think is the most important thing students should know about writing in your class?

Your first draft will always suck. Probably your second draft, too. Then the third, then fourth, fifth not so much but then you’ll break it again for the sixth. If you keep at it, though, and ask for feedback from instructors and writing groups, read other authors you admire, and revise until your eyes bleed, after a while it will start to grow into something you’re really proud of, then excited about, until finally you’re sitting in front of a piece you can’t believe you had anything to do with. And I will be so pumped to read it.

Thank you to Jake for his shrewd acumen and advice! We hope that you’ve learned something, even if you haven’t seen the inside of a classroom in years.

If you are a teacher and you’d like to be a part of the Ask a Teacher Series, please shoot us a message! We’d love to have you!


Teachers, as I’m sure you all know by now, are an excellent resource. With many students returning to school for fall classes in the next few weeks, we think now is a great time to hit up real-life teachers for some back-to-school advice!
Below is an interview with Carolyn Clare Givens, M.A., a teacher, writer, and editor. 
1. What class or classes do you teach?

I taught college freshmen English Composition and Introduction to College Reading and Writing, a remedial-level writing and reading comprehension course. I work as a grader and give critical feedback on master’s-level theses. I’ve also taught a group of home schooled high school seniors a college prep composition course. In addition to my teaching, I’ve worked as an editor for an online magazine and for a non-fiction book publisher, and done freelance editing on fiction and non-fiction books.

2. What type of writing do you deal with most often? Essays? Short answer? Outlines?

Typically, I deal with essays—both academic and non-academic. I’ve also spent considerable time working with authors on book-length non-fiction and fiction manuscripts.

3. How important is good grammar and spelling to you?

Good grammar and spelling are necessary for clear communication. They are a means to that end. However, the English language is remarkably malleable. It is possible to utterly butcher the grammar and spelling of a sentence and still communicate the intended meaning (though that is more difficult in writing than it is in spoken communication).

4, Which style do you prefer students use in your class (MLA, APA, CMS, etc.)? Why?

My students used MLA in the English Composition and Intro classes. That was the standard format used by the University for general humanities classes. At the master’s level, the students use APA, as they are writing a methodical assessment of a project. In my non-fiction book editing, I’ve used mostly CMS. As I’ve worked in communications, I’ve had some exposure to AP Style, but have never used it exclusively.

I think the key to note in any style is that very word: “style.” Yes, each style guide includes a method for citation. Those methods provide the reader with a simple way of finding the source material in a given paper or book. Each style guide’s citation system is fairly simple, and a careful reader can navigate it when it has been implemented correctly. But that’s not the point of the different style guides. Rather, each guide provides a method or “style” for presenting information. The method for presenting information in APA, for example, is one of scientific reporting—the writer has done the experiment, case study, research, etc., and is reporting the process and the results. MLA’s purpose is different. Instead of reporting the findings, the author’s goal in MLA style is to walk the reader through the process of thinking—presenting the thesis and unfolding the supporting evidence, like an attorney presenting his case. CMS’s style is the most flexible. In both presentation and documentation, the goal of CMS is to clearly communicate ideas and show the support for them properly. AP Style’s primary purpose seems to be brevity. It is a system developed for journalism and limited text space. 

My preference for students to use depends upon the subject matter they are presenting. Most of my teaching and my own academic writing has been within the humanities. MLA is a robust style guide for those subjects and the kind of research and presentation of ideas typically associated with them. For those working in the sciences and social sciences, APA provides a quality standard for presenting research and results. As I have worked with authors and on my own writing outside of academia, I have come to appreciate the flexibility of CMS. I think a more limited system, like MLA or APA, is proper to use as a student is learning, but CMS allows the writer to use the pieces of both of those systems that will be most helpful in presenting his information in a way that is accessible by the common reader. Call it my humanities bias, but within academia, I prefer MLA’s method of presenting information, and I think it provides a simpler transition to CMS for later writing.

5. Do you have any tips for doing research?

I once had a college professor who had us write a note card for each fact we gathered, with the citation information on the back and the fact on the front. I felt like I was in fourth grade all over again. 

I don’t think you need to be quite so simplistic as that, but I do think there are some simple things you can do that will make presenting your research easier. One of the biggest issues my students seem to have had was with proper citation. I’m a proponent of the Albert-Einstein-never-memorize-something-you-can-look-up rule. There’s a story of a reporter asking Einstein for his number, and Einstein had to look it up in the phone book to give it to the man. His thinking: why memorize it when you know where to find it? Forget trying to memorize MLA or APA or CMS citation formats. You can look them up. You don’t even have to buy the book anymore. I strongly recommend Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) as a resource. However, every citation format has the same basic elements: Who wrote it? Where? When? In what format was it presented? What page was it on? What was the URL? Learn those. Forget about what order they need to go in, just get the basics down. Then, as you do your research, write or type that information at the top of the page and write your quotations under it. As you write your paper, if you use a quote, copy and paste the citation info into a page at the end of your paper. Then, when you go to create your works cited list, you will save yourself eons of time when all you have to do is look up the proper formatting for your citation and put the bits of information in the right order. 

Yes, I know Word has an “Insert Citation” option. If you use it, CHECK IT! It has often gotten things wrong. “Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain.”

The other tip I’d have is more on the “avoiding plagiarism” side. I suggest doing your research, reading it through so you’re familiar with it, then setting it aside as you prepare your ideas for your paper. Think through what you think on the topic and how you want to present those thoughts. Write that much. Then go back through and insert the support for your ideas that you found in your research. Remember, this is your paper. YOU are the one whose ideas should be primary.

6. What are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to students’ writing in your class?

“In my opinion” – It’s your paper. I sure hope this is your opinion. You don’t need to say it.

“Basically” – Does the sentence need this word? (The answer is no.)

7. What are some writing mistakes that you make that you’d like to caution your students against?

What are some writing mistakes that you make that you’d like to caution students against?

Trying to sound “intelligent” by using big words. Look, I’m a word geek. That’s why I teach English and I write. I love words. I love GOOD words. I strongly recommend you make it a practice to keep yourself alert to the new words you encounter in everyday life and stop and look them up when you don’t know them. This is the most natural way to increase your vocabulary. I also recommend getting a paper dictionary. I love the ease of www.m-w.com, but it does not offer me the ability to see 40 other words on a page along with the one I’m looking up. Paper dictionaries are great for growing vocabulary. All that to say, work on growing your vocabulary. Theright word in the right place can make all the difference. However, use the words that come most naturally to you in your writing. If you are more likely to say “use” than “useage,” write “use” in your paper. Simple, clear communication is your goal.

8. What do you think is the most important thing students should know about writing in your class?

You are communicating ideas. Writing is simply a vehicle for doing that. We’ve got a lovely language that is flexible and strange and has all sorts of cobbled-together rules for use because it’s been a cobbled-together language from the start. And some of those rules are worth noting and remembering and following and some of them should be thrown out the window with the silly people who made them up. English is a living language. The rules you learn today may be out of date by the time you’re forty. Such is the nature of having a living language. But the essential thing you need to keep in mind is that you are communicating ideas. Whatever rules you follow, whatever words you use, whatever style guide you choose, it all needs to be in service to that goal: to clearly communicate the ideas in your head through the medium of writing to your reader. Sometimes clear communication is a matter of getting your commas in the right place. Sometimes it’s spelling the words correctly and not mixing up your homophones. But sometimes clear communication means you throw out the rules and you put the words down on the paper as they tumble from your mind. Sometimes we just need to get them out and the order and the spelling and the grammar is subservient to the thought and passion and feeling behind them. That’s okay. Just write. Put words on paper. Record thoughts. That’s how future generations will know who we are. 

(Though you might want to find a friend to proofread your paper before turning it in to your English professor.)

Thank you to Carolyn for sharing her wisdom and advice! We hope that you’ve learned something, even if you haven’t seen the inside of a classroom in years.

If you are a teacher and you’d like to be a part of the Ask a Teacher Series, please shoot us a message! We’d love to have you!

And you can check out the rest of the Ask a Teacher Series here!


Teachers, as I’m sure you all know by now, are an excellent resource. With many students returning to school for fall classes in the next few weeks, we think now is a great time to hit up real-life teachers for some back-to-school advice!

Below is an interview with Carrie Pack, a writer and teacher. Enjoy!

1. What class or classes do you teach?

This will be my eighth year teaching at the college level. I have taught everything from beginning journalism to editing, as well as advertising writing and ethics courses.

2. What type of writing do you deal with most often? Essays? Short answer? Outlines?

In the classes I teach, I require several writing styles, including essays, hard news and creative writing. I’ve included short answers on exams and created graphic organizers to help students outline their work. The only types of writing I’ve never taught is creative (at least not long form, like novels or short stories) and poetry.

3. How important is good grammar and spelling to you?

I believe good grammar is essential. When you write, word meaning and punctuation are extremely important. It’s how we convey meaning. Think of it like this: When we speak we have our tone of voice, body language, facial expressions, rate of speech, and even volume to convey meaning. When we write, all we have is punctuation and the precision of our words.

Because word choice is important, spelling is too. However, spell check has gone a long way to help us be better spellers. You just have to know the difference between loose and lose. Spell check won’t catch that. In my opinion, spelling is less important while writing, but becomes essential when proofing your work. That’s something students don’t do enough of: editing/proofing. Read it out loud. It really helps you to find errors you won’t find while reading silently to yourself.

4. Which style do you prefer students use in your class (MLA, APA, CMS, etc.)? Why?

At the college level, these are really dictated by your discipline. Certain majors prefer MLA and others prefer APA. Because I’ve primarily taught mass communication courses, we prefer MLA for citation style and Associate Press Style (also known as AP Style) for writing, but even that is a hard-and-fast rule. When learning a new style, pay attention to numbers and citations. Those are always the biggest differences for formatting in one style versus another.

5. Do you have any tips for doing research?

Do it. That may sound redundant, but I don’t think students do enough research. At a university, you have so much at your disposal. Don’t waste it. At the college where I teach, the reference librarians are super helpful but remain an underutilized resource. Research for a major term paper can be daunting; I recommend asking an expert—a reference librarian.

6. What are your biggest pet peeves when it comes to students’ writing in your class?

Not supporting an argument with evidence and reasoning. If you believe something to be true, you have to cite experts or professionals who agree, and if it’s not direct proof, you have to provide the reasoning that allowed you to come to that conclusion. Your opinion is not enough. This ties into the research question. If you know what you’re talking about—meaning, you did research and a lot of it—it’s much easier to support your arguments with examples or expert opinions.

7. What are some writing mistakes that you make that you’d like to caution your students against?

Being too wordy. We’re all such inefficient communicators. I’d recommend taking a journalism class to learn how to write more concisely. Using empty words and phrases in your writing is the equivalent of using the word “like” repeatedly when you speak. It makes you sound less intelligent, even if you have something really valuable to say.

8. What do you think is the most important thing students should know about writing in your class?

Writing is something you have to practice—like sports, music, dance, cooking; the more you do it, the better you become. If you remain averse to writing and put it off, you’ll never improve.

Also: just write. Force yourself to get the words on the page. Even if it’s horrible. Write a draft, and then spend most of your time editing. Then edit it again.

Thank you to Carrie for her excellent insights and advice! We hope that you’ve learned something, even if you haven’t seen the inside of a classroom in years.

If you are a teacher and you’d like to be a part of the Ask a Teacher Series, please shoot us a message! We’d love to have you!


moviegifsthatrock:

Dead Poets Society [Peter Weir, 1989]

moviegifsthatrock:

Dead Poets Society [Peter Weir, 1989]


Source: moviegifsthatrock

Many people talk about wanting to write a book “someday,” but few progress beyond that point. Anyone who has written a novel knows the enormous effort – both physical and mental – that goes into finishing a book, and here are seven reasons you can feel proud of your own efforts.

Read More →


Source: nownovel.com

maxkirin:

Hello there, dear writerly friends!

Over the last year I’ve gotten hundreds (if not thousands :0) of writers sending me their story-ideas and asking me if they’re ‘good.’ Now, instead of continuously copy-pasting the same response, or worse ignoring them, I decided to format my thoughts into a nice-and-simple test c;

Now, since I have a feeling some of you still have questions, let me post here my answers to the responses I’ve gotten from this test:

Is this seriously the test?

Yes. Just 3 questions. Not more. Not less.

You’re saying that if I find the story-idea ‘fun’ to write, then I’m good to go?

Yes.

Even though you know nothing about my story-idea?

Nope. I don’t care what your story is actually about. All I care about is that you have fun. Seriously. If you have fun writing it, the reader will be able to tell. It’s easier to be passionate about something you enjoy. On the flip-side, have you ever read anything that was written by someone who clearly was not having ANY fun? Ask your English teacher if they can tell when someone actually enjoyed writing an essay. You may be able to half-ass a cake and make something edible, but you can’t half-ass a book and expect people to like it.

Even though I think this story idea is similar to that of another book?

Jorge Luis Borges said that there are only 4 types of stories: a love story between two people, a love story between three people, the struggle for power, and the journey. The truth is that, really, the idea for the story does not matter. It’s not what you say, but how you it say that matters. And, I don’t know about you, but I think it’s easier to get your voice across when you’re actually enjoying the process of writing c;

How do I make my story-idea more ‘fun’?

Be honest with yourself. Write about what excites you. You don’t have to write about anything you don’t care about, or meet some sort of imaginary guidelines. Writing is art. Write about anything you want. Additionally, you may want to checkout my (Strange) Guide to Planning Your Novel, it’s built on this entire philosophy.

I hope this helps! I have gotten this question so many times, I thought it would be best to just put my answer out there for all of you  c;

If you want more writerly content, such as writer positivity and prompts, make sure to follow my blog: maxkirin.tumblr.com!


Source: maxkirin

thebooker:

literatureloveaffair:

There have been an alarming number of posts linking to pirated copies of books floating around lately, so I thought it’d be productive to share some of my own legal ways of accessing books instead of fighting the posts themselves.
If you would like to know more about book piracy and discussions surrounding the issue, here are some links:
25 thoughts on book piracy
Book piracy - an insiders perspective 
Why I stopped pirating and started paying for media 
The ethics of internet piracy 
The real problem with piracy 
Piracy is yesterday’s worry for today’s ‘artisan authors’
Kindle e-book piracy accelerates
John Green: Why libraries are different from piracy
Across the digital divide
Now on to some free books!
Libraries 
Libraries are wonderful. A collection of books that people want you to take home and read. What could be better?
If they don’t have a book you want, have a chat to the librarians. They are usually all very helpful and would love to hear suggestions of books, and even get the book you want in stock for you. 
Library cards are a wonderful resource, but depending on your library you may need a permanent address - if you can’t supply this that’s fine! You don’t need a library card to use libraries. Go in, grab a book, read for a while. 
Many libraries now have e-book borrowing services available. It is well worth checking whether your library offers this if you prefer reading e-books or even listening to audiobooks. 
Overdrive is a marvelous program that partners with many libraries to provide e-book lending, check the site to see whether any libraries near you participate!
Classics
Books in the public domain can be accessed for free in many formats 
Project Gutenberg offers a huge selection of public domain books in html, epub, kindle, and plain text format. 
Books in the public domain can also be found directly through the Kindle or Kobo stores. Both stores offer free apps for mobile devices and computers. 
LibriVox has an impressive collection of audiobooks of public domain books read by volunteers.
Misc. 
PulseIt features different young adult books every week that you can read online for free. 
If you enjoy reviewing, recommending, or blogging about books you might want to check out some sites offering review copies e-book copies of books. I personally use Netgalley. I’ve also heard good things about Edelweiss. 
Giveaways are another way to source free books, even if there is no guarantee of winning, what’s the harm in trying? Goodreads has a staggering number of book giveaways all the time, and there are always a few circulating in the Tumblr book community.
Kindle and Kobo also offer free or heavily discounted books often, so it is well worth checking them every so often to see if any of the free books catch your eye. 
These are the only completely free and legal ways to source books that I know of - feel free to add your own ideas. 
Go forth and read responsibly!

This post is amazing!

thebooker:

literatureloveaffair:

There have been an alarming number of posts linking to pirated copies of books floating around lately, so I thought it’d be productive to share some of my own legal ways of accessing books instead of fighting the posts themselves.

If you would like to know more about book piracy and discussions surrounding the issue, here are some links:

Now on to some free books!

Libraries 

  • Libraries are wonderful. A collection of books that people want you to take home and read. What could be better?
  • If they don’t have a book you want, have a chat to the librarians. They are usually all very helpful and would love to hear suggestions of books, and even get the book you want in stock for you. 
  • Library cards are a wonderful resource, but depending on your library you may need a permanent address - if you can’t supply this that’s fine! You don’t need a library card to use libraries. Go in, grab a book, read for a while. 
  • Many libraries now have e-book borrowing services available. It is well worth checking whether your library offers this if you prefer reading e-books or even listening to audiobooks. 
  • Overdrive is a marvelous program that partners with many libraries to provide e-book lending, check the site to see whether any libraries near you participate!

Classics

  • Books in the public domain can be accessed for free in many formats 
  • Project Gutenberg offers a huge selection of public domain books in html, epub, kindle, and plain text format. 
  • Books in the public domain can also be found directly through the Kindle or Kobo stores. Both stores offer free apps for mobile devices and computers. 
  • LibriVox has an impressive collection of audiobooks of public domain books read by volunteers.

Misc. 

  • PulseIt features different young adult books every week that you can read online for free. 
  • If you enjoy reviewing, recommending, or blogging about books you might want to check out some sites offering review copies e-book copies of books. I personally use Netgalley. I’ve also heard good things about Edelweiss
  • Giveaways are another way to source free books, even if there is no guarantee of winning, what’s the harm in trying? Goodreads has a staggering number of book giveaways all the time, and there are always a few circulating in the Tumblr book community.
  • Kindle and Kobo also offer free or heavily discounted books often, so it is well worth checking them every so often to see if any of the free books catch your eye. 

These are the only completely free and legal ways to source books that I know of - feel free to add your own ideas. 

Go forth and read responsibly!

This post is amazing!


Source: literatureloveaffair

psychrph:

Disclaimer: This guide is a collection of theories and studies covering the phenomenon of ghosts and hauntings. I am in no way an expert and nothing in this guide is fact, as theories and beliefs vary between cultures and religions. I’ve simply tried to compile the information into one area. 
A Ghost (or spectre, phantom, apparition) is the soul or spirit of a person or animal that has died and its appearance is known to the living through visible manifestation or other forms such as actions. In this guide I will explain ghosts as well as hauntings and how they are researched. 
Read More

psychrph:

Disclaimer: This guide is a collection of theories and studies covering the phenomenon of ghosts and hauntings. I am in no way an expert and nothing in this guide is fact, as theories and beliefs vary between cultures and religions. I’ve simply tried to compile the information into one area. 

A Ghost (or spectre, phantom, apparition) is the soul or spirit of a person or animal that has died and its appearance is known to the living through visible manifestation or other forms such as actions. In this guide I will explain ghosts as well as hauntings and how they are researched. 

Read More


lettersandlight:

image

Each week, a new author will serve as your Camp Counselor, answering your writing questions. Heather Mackey, our third counselor, is author of the middle-grade fantasy Dreamwood:

Outside of Camp, how do you write and edit along with the rest of your day-to-day life activities? It’s a balancing act for everyone, but what works for you specifically? — awriterinspired

I’ve been struggling with how to be productive for a long time, and I feel miserable when I don’t get much done. So misery avoidance has led me to figure out what times of days and magic spells are necessary for each activity. It’s all about knowing your circadian rhythms and gaming your biology. I know I work creatively best in the morning before I eat lunch. I know dark chocolate will help me focus after 9 pm.

I have a day job and two kids. You might think this would mean I can’t get any noveling done, but it’s just forced me to be disciplined. I try to be really clear about what I’m trying to do with my time. I think ahead to my next block of time and set my intention: Tonight I’m going to work on this scene or revise this chapter. I find it’s hardest when I sit down and feel like there’s a bunch of different stuff I could do but I haven’t made a clear decision. That’s when I look up and realize I just spent the last hour reading through a hundred online comments about LeBron James’s decision to go back to Cleveland.

To get stuff done you want to figure out three things:

When you’re best at each activity: Drafting brand new scenes, editing, and social networking all take different parts of your brain and are all sensitive to time of day, food you eat, music you listen to, exposure to media, your emotional state, etc.

How much time you need: If I’ve got half an hour or less, I’ll try to spend that on business, networking, and social media. If I’ve got an hour or more I’ll try to write or edit (depending on what’s highest priority). Thinking in time blocks also helps you know when to step away and go do other parts of your life.

How to convince yourself you can get it done in the time you have: This is the hardest one. I have plenty of weekend days that go like this: Wake up at 6:30, realize son needs to leave for a soccer game at 8. But I wanted to get some writing done. Despair. It doesn’t have to be that way! If you look at the above schedule you see that really I have about 45 minutes to an hour of morning writing time. If I just go into it with the right attitude, I can get something done. Prove to yourself that you can do it, and this will get easier.

Good luck!

Next week, we have our final Camp Counselor, Kat Zhang, author of the Hybrid Chronicles, a young adult series. Ask her your questions here!