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Links For Writers

For brainstorming:

  • Figment Daily Themes: The prompts here are pretty good, and can be a neat way to get yourself out of a rut or clear the cobwebs at the start of your writing day.

For storytelling:

  • i09.com: The grandparent of all nerdy websites (at least, as far as I can tell). Really could go in every category on this page. Includes discussions of science, social life, history, past and current popular media (books, TV, movies, comics, video games…) — and writing and storytelling.
  • Tor.com: Another catch-all nerd website, with essays on craft, critical readthroughs and watchthroughs of popular media like Star Trek and Harry Potter, announcements of new books and short stories, and loads of generally useful content.
  • Talk to YoUniverse (Juliette Wade’s blog): Frequent conversations about worldbuilding and writing philosophy; Juliette also leads regular Google Hangouts discussing aspects of storytelling.
  • TV Tropes: A list of common storytelling devices. Both a way to check your own story’s level of stereotypicalness and to reassure yourself that, in the end, everything is a trope. (be warned, people have gotten lost on this site and never been heard from again…)

For world-building (in addition to i09):

  • Language Creation Society: For those like me whose procrastination methods involve figuring out the grammar of your character’s language (lessee, now, is it SVO? VSO? OSV?), here is an association for you ūüôā Their most recent claim to fame is that one of their members made Dothraki for the HBO Game of Thrones.
  • Medieval Demographics Made Easy: If you’re looking to figure out how many people would actually realistically live in your cruddy little village. Because really, aren’t we all?
  • Dan Koboldt’s Science in Sci-Fi, Fact In Fantasy Series: Dan’s excellent blog combines writing advice with posts from experts in a variety of fields talking about how to increase realism in your depictions of everything from childbirth to bow-hunting to developing rich fantasy cultures (full disclosure: yours truly is a sometime contributor to this site).
  • Writing With Color: If you’re someone trying to increase the racial/ethnic diversity of your story world, this is an incredibly valuable site. It’s basically a forum for authors to write in with questions/concerns about how they’re using race in their stories; it also provides resources for everything from describing skin color to making sure a diverse character isn’t tokenized to sensitively depicting prejudice.
  • Disability in KidLit: Another spot to sit and learn about the social world, this one focused on ability/disability. Conversations and book reviews on everything from misconceptions about autism to how blindness is depicted in literature and the reality of life with a mobility disability.

For expanding your knowledge of this world to make you a better writer (in addition to io9): 

  • NPR.org: free, in-depth news coverage. In my experience, less-high-profile news (whatever that means to you) is a great starting point for thinking about conflict that could come up in your setting.
  • Sociological Images: Put together by two sociology professors (with lots of guest contributors), this site pulls images from the everyday world to illustrate sociological concepts. Aimed at a general audience.
  • Racialicious: The intersection(s) between race and pop culture, including reviews of popular TV shows and the media circus.
  • Painting on Scars: Essays, thought experiments, and reactions to the media, with a special focus on issues of ability/disability.

For naming characters:

  • The Social Security baby name list (most popular names for US babies): Updated each year around Mother’s Day (second Sunday in May) with the previous year’s top 1000. I’ve also found some data from other countries, included below:
  • Nameberry.com: Run by two authors from out of the world of fashion journalism, this site specializes in providing “style reads” on the names of the moment; they also have a daily blog that talks about everything from names for babies born in the fall to popular names from all around the world.
  • Appellation Mountain: Daily posts tracing the etymological and use history of a “name of the day,” with a pretty comprehensive archive. A great way to get some context for names you might be considering for characters.
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