As a librarian, it’s in my nature to organize resources into a bibliography (a ‘pathfinder’ in librarian-lingo). And as a writer, it’s in my nature to seek out resources that will help me write better. Therefore, I’ve made a writing resource pathfinder for my fellow writers. It is by no means an exhausted compilation, and it mostly focuses on resources that relate to my work (mysteries, historical fiction, YA). I intend to edit the page with new resources as I discover them, so check back frequently.


(book) Bird by Bird by Annie Lamott (One of the most well-known guidance books on writing. A must-read.)

(book) The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi (Also check out the authors’ other works, The Negative Trait Thesaurus & The Positive Trait Thesaurus and the authors’ website, Writers Helping Writers, for more tools, workshops and resources.)

(book) On Writing by Stephen King (King’s famous memoir and guidance book on writing.)

(book) Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland

(book) Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell

(book) Save the Cat by Blake Snyder (Utilizing screenplay structure for novel writing.)

Snowflake Method (Plan and build your novel using the Snowflake Method. Perfect for writers who need/want to develop characters, build scene lists, and desire a structured method. See Writing Fiction for Dummies above in the Books section.) Use in conjunction with Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson (creator of the Snowflake Method.)

(book) Story Genius by Lisa Cron (I swear by this book. Lisa Cron believes it’s the character’s psyche that creates a compelling story, not plot. A must-read for all authors. I know quite a few published authors who are using the Story Genius method to develop new work, proving that authors are constantly learning and improving, and one is a master.)

Ten rules for writing fiction (The Guardian asked famous authors to write their dos and don’ts for writing. There are two parts so make sure to check them both out.)

Ultimate Fiction Writing Guide (A reader emailed me regarding this source — thanks Marcella! — and it’s quite handy. It’s an organized list of links to resources on the craft of writing. Everything from character analysis to setting to short story writing. A great one-stop shop for writing help.)

Writer’s Digest (One of the most comprehensive writer websites available. A digital subscription costs $10, but will give you full access.)

Writer’s Knowledge Base (Calling itself ‘the search engine for writers,’ WKB has an email subscription for author interviews and articles.)


Cozy-Mystery.com (This website is devoted to all things cozy mysteries. A great resource for readers and writers. I recommend checking out cozies by themes, especially if you’re thinking of writing one. You can see what’s already been done.)

Crime and Science Radio (Podcasts hosted by DP Lyle, MD and Jan Burke about the real science of crime. A great resource for mystery/suspense writers looking for authenticity. Also, check out the LINKS page. It has additional resources for help with forensics, medicine and science.)

Crime Scene Writer (A yahoo group for writers to ask questions regarding crime and crime scene investigation that are answered by professionals who work in forensics and medicine. To subscribe, send an email to crimescenewriter-subscribe@yahoogroups.com)

(book) Don’t Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden

(book) How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries by Kathy Lynn Emerson

Mystery Scene Magazine (This magazine is the oldest and most comprehensive guide to the crime fiction genre.)

Mystery Writing is Murder (Mystery Writer Elizabeth Spann Craig’s awesome blog about mystery writing.) As of December 2013, her blog moved here.

Taking the Mystery Out of Writing Mysteries (An article about exploring the mystery of character.)

Write Crime Right (This blog is written by Wesley Harris, a consultant for writers who works in law enforcement.)

Writer’s Detective (This website is run by Adam Richardson, a California police detective, who also works as a technical adviser to writers. He runs courses and does individual advising to help writers incorporate real police work into their fiction. I’ve personally emailed him a few times and he’s been nothing but nice and helpful.)

(ebook) Writing the Cozy Mystery by Nancy J. Cohen (This 99 cent ebook discusses the main elements of writing a cozy mystery. A great primer for authors interested in this sub-genre.)


(book) How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries by Kathy Lynn Emerson

Writing Historical Novels (Informative articles from the best authors in historical fiction writing today.)


Kidlit411 (Founded by Elaine Kearns, Kidlit411 is a comprehensive database with numerous links and resources for writers who specialize in children’s literature — picture books to young adult. There is also a Facebook group authors can join for information-sharing.)

(book) Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina L. Brooks

(book) Writing Irresistible Kidlit by Mary Kole (Kole also runs her own website, Kidlit.com, with resources for writers of children’s literature.)

Writing Teen Novels (Informative articles from some of the best authors writing YA.)

(book) Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies by Deborah Halverson


The Creative Penn (This is Joanna Penn’s extensive resource guide to marketing and self-publishing.)

Kelly Cochran (Independent author, Kelly Cochran, created an appendix for a workshop she ran on self-publishing. Included are links to services, products and information.)

The Self-Publishing Podcast (Probably the more fun way to learn about self-publishing, these series of podcasts range in topics from launch strategies to platform to writing. The three authors have put a warning — their podcasts are NSFW.)

Susan Kaye Quinn (This speculative fiction author blogs about her indie-publishing career. She is also the author of the Indie Author Survival guide.)

Tax Cheat Sheet (This was suggested to me by a reader who found my resources page. A tip sheet regarding taxes and IRS info.)


Chuck Wendig (Chuck Wendig is fantasy/horror writer who has written several writing books told in his humorous, list style (complete with swearing). He also blogs a lot about writing.)

Cynthia Leitich Smith (A NYT best-selling author of YA fiction, Cynthia Leitich Smith has an extensive resource page for writers interested in writing YA and children’s fiction.)

Elana Johnson (A YA author, Elana Johnson has written many informative blog posts on drafting query letters. She also offers a service for writers to help with query letters. Cost $25+.)

Holly Black (Award-winning YA author of urban fantasy, Holly Black’s resources page is organized into a series of hypothetical questions.)

Janice Hardy (A YA author, Janice Hardy’s blog is a comprehensive site for writing resources and advice. She has over 500 articles on fiction writing along with guest posts from industry experts.)

Justine Larbalestier (Author of popular YA speculative fiction, Justine frequently blogs about the writing craft and her posts are detailed, helpful and honest.)

Nathan Bransford (Nathan Bransford is a former literary agent and published author. He is the author of How to Write a Novel and his blog features lots of posts on querying, agents and publishing.)

Shannon Hale (Award-winning YA and adult fiction author, Shannon Hale has written over a dozen books. She has a section on her website called Mincemeat: On Writing that offers advice on publishing and the writer’s life.)

Susan Dennard (A YA speculative fiction author, Susan Dennard has compiled her extensive blog posts on everything from planning your novel to querying into a one-stop resource for writers.)


Gotham Writers’ Workshop (Gotham is a private writing school with courses offered in New York City and online. Classes are offered on a variety of writing genres and forms and focus on craft, writing exercises and critique. Courses start at $400.)

Holly Lisle (Holly Lisle is a novelist and writing instructor. She has dozens of free writing articles available on her website as well as available paid courses ($3+). Learn everything from writing scenes to writing whole series. She offers a self-paced, in-depth writing course for $500 and a How To Revise Your Novel course for $239.)

Margie Lawson (Margie is a psychotherapist and editor who teaches classes on editing. However, she has other courses as part of her academy such as story structure, business smarts for writers, character emotions, etc. Her classes cost $50.)

Media Bistro (Media Bistro is a comprehensive website for the media industry. Click on the Education tab to find a list of available courses in everything from blogging to children’s book writing. One-on-one training is also available. Courses cost $500 on average.)


Absolute Write Water Cooler (Absolute Write is one of the largest writing forums on the internet. Writers who are ready to submit to agents and publishers should check out the discussion on Bewares, Recommendations & Background Checks.)

AgentQuery Connect (This forum is an extension of Agent Query database.)

KBoards (KBoards is the largest Kindle forum on the web. Although geared more toward sales than craft, indie authors can network with other indie authors and utilize the free author tools to promote indie books directly to readers on the boards.)

QueryTracker Forum (The forum is an extension of QueryTracker. Authors can get query help and find out information on agents and publishers.)

SCBWI Blueboard (A writing forum for authors of children’s literature. The original blueboard was created by Verla Kay, but has since been combined with the SCBWI discussion forum.)


I wrote a blog post featuring my favorite writing podcasts. Check it out here.


CP Seek (Forum-based site to help writers find a critique partner.)

How About We CP (A tumblr set up with writer profiles. Writers can submit a profile and search for writers by genre.)

Ladies Who Critique (LWC is a critique site that matches writers of all levels to compatible critique partners. Membership is free. Members can also read articles on critiquing and participate in forums.)


AgentQuery (This is a free, searchable database of literary agents.)

Literary Rambles (This blog, run by Casey McCormick and Natalie Aguirre, profiles authors and literary agents representing children’s literature. On the left-hand side, authors can search for agents by the age they represent or browse the list of agents.)

Preditors & Editors (P&E is the website to check for recommendations on publishers and literary agents. Before submitting, check here first.)

QueryTracker (Writers can set up free profiles, search for literary agents, save query letters and keep track of submissions.)


Horror Writers Association

Mystery Writers of America

Romance Writers of America

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America

Sisters in Crime

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators

Western Writers of America


NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month challenges writers of all levels and abilities to write a 50K-word novel during November. NaNoWriMo stresses quality over quantity. There are other challenges throughout the year as well. It’s a large community that supports global writing challenges.)