On writing

My personal top 5 writing sites of 2006

Almost everyone who uses the web has favourite sites. I’m like most people. Here are my personal top five writing sites for 2006. The sites I visited time and again.


This is probably my favourite writing site. Terry Rossio, one half of the Ted Elliot/Terry Rossio writing partnership, has written a great series of practical articles on writing and selling scripts. Sometimes Ted chips in too. There’s also a forum discussing movies, and one dispensing advice on scriptwriting. I often re-read the articles on this site.

Ted and Terry are the writers behind Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Mask of Zorro.

This is not a beginners site. If you go onto the forums and say, “I’ve decided to become a screenwriter, because I’ve heard you can make lots of money from it,” you’re liable to be told —politely of course —by other members of the forum to go away and write something, and learn some more. Many of the people on this site are already in the business. It’s the place to go if your agent sets up an appointment for you to pitch your screenplay, if you have a technical question about your script, and so on.

You might think that as a novelist, a screenwriting site has nothing to teach you, but if you can’t get something to improve your writing career out of the articles here then you are truly remarkable, or you are kidding yourself.

Miss Snark blog

I’ve been blogging about Miss Snark for a couple of months now. This woman is a practising literary agent and gives good general advice about submitting to agents, writing query letters, mistakes to avoid and so on. But her piece de resistance is the Crapometer, which really goes into what she, as an agent, looks for in the query letter or hook, and dissects those sent in by readers of the blog.

She has run four of these to date, and if you don’t write a better query letter after reading these I’d be really surprised.

A fantastic service to writers.

Creating Passionate Users

Another site I re-read, particularly the Kathy Sierra articles.

I’m a technical writer. I love it when I come across other technical writers who write strongly, and with passion about technical writing.

Some personal favourites:

The posts are worth looking at for the graphics alone. They’re mostly 50’s style photographs with talking bubbles and they go so cleverly with the associated articles.

Publishers Marketplace

This is the first place I look for agent information, or even if I’m just browsing about writing in general.

I waste a lot of time just browsing, but also pop in for the occasional serious research —like finding out whether an agent is appropriate to query, and the agent’s website and/or address. I also find a lot of new writers/agents blogs this way.

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