I use Scrivener so I can keep all my notes in one place, find them again, and move them around in whatever order I choose.
I use it on my iphone as well as my pc & make notes wherever I go. Scrappy sentence about a character? It’s in my Scrivener. Long, polished draft of a chapter ? In Scrivener. Photo, pdf, hyperlink to something cool? In my beloved, never-leave-me, how-could-anyone-write-a-novel-in Word Scrivener.
I found my way around Scrivener by trying it out, poking things & using the Help manual, but there is a super-duper Learn Scrivener Fast course to get you going 100 miles an hour from the start. People rave about it, and the teacher has other writing resources, too.
Man, I love editing tools. Tired and word-blind from writing all the books? Let an editing program pick up your errors for you, strengthen your sentences and shine up your style. I’ve tried a few and ProWritingAid is the best. It’s easy to use, feature-rich and affordable.
Get 20% off with this link, as well as a 14 day free trial, & spend more time writing, less time editing.
Cat Rambo’s classes, whether live or on-demand, are always fun and inspiring. Suitable for everyone, but a particular good range for experienced writers looking for more variety & specialisms than the average ‘intro to writing’ classes most places run. New classes & teachers are added regularly.
Holly’s Writing Classes
Want a long, structured writing class to take your creative spark & explode it into stories full of memorable characters and cunning plots? Holly is your teacher. I’ve taken all of her courses so far and can’t imagine how long it would have taken to start, finish and revise my work without her.
Her tone & style won’t be for everyone – try her free ‘Write Flash Fiction that Doesn’t SUCK‘ class as an intro.
Angela James’s renowned editing course. Runs a few times a year, taught by a thorough & well-respected editor who answers questions personally in the forums. Take notes, as you only have access to course content while you’re enrolled.
My top three writing craft books:
The Breakout Novel Workbook, by Donald Maass. Skip the accompanying book & go straight to this workbook. It’s full of exercises to make what happens in your novel matter.
Save The Cat, by Blake Snyder. For when you don’t know what’s supposed to happen next. This is classic on how to structure a story (though you could easily substitute Weiland, Bell or Hawker’s books on structure for it (see below), this is the one I read first, & I wish I’d found it sooner).
Spellbinding Sentences, by Barbara Baig, advanced reading & practical exercises on how to make clever, beautiful sentences.
Other strong contenders
Structure & outlining
Outlining your novel by KM Weiland. KM’s books are always friendly & sensible. Good for beginners on where to take your baby idea next.
Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker. This is the outlining book I refer to the most, before and during writing (despite always getting Blink 182 songs stuck in my head).
Super Structure by James Scott Bell. Another simple explanation of story structure that gets you up & started, quickly.
(Psst, if you’re writing romance, supplement these with Gwen Hayes’ Romancing The Beat)
The ‘real’ thesaurus, Rogets, will give you a hand when you’re absolutely sure there’s no other word to describe your character than ‘nice’ or ‘good’.
For remembering writing is fun, & staying in touch with your creativity:
Use A Writer’s Book of Days and How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play for prompts & exercises that will get you playing around with words, & remembering why you thought writing a novel would be a good idea in the first place.
The Artist’s Way is what you need if your brain is playing up & talking crap about you & your creativity.