Useful resources for science fiction writers

The following links represent some of the best articles and resources I’ve come across while putting this blog together.

 

Articles about writing, by writers

Holly Lisle – writing blog with an extensive series of how to articles.

Charles Stross – Lots of useful material on his blog. Of particular note, “Common misconceptions about publishing

Catherynne Valente – Recent set of articles, also hosted at Charlies blog “A Numerical List of Loosely-Connected Thoughts on Writing” (2,3,4) and an additional article about digital publishing. Her own website is here.

Neil Gaiman – lost of advice on his site including,  “Advice to authors“, and an article here about literary agents, which also has a lot of additional links.

J. Steven York -  Excellent blog, which includes the article “Writers and other delusional people

 

Screenwriting

JohnAugust.com – Probably the best screenwriting blog. Has a great directory of it’s own resource articles.

Josh Friedman – Another excellent screenwriting blog.

GoIntoTheStory.com – Again, lots of very useful resources here, although not the most accessibly structured site.

Screenwritinginfo.org – A very nice overview of basic screenwriting concepts.

 

Technology

A trade secret, for those of you aren’t irredeemably geeky. If you need solid, well researched, reference texts about future technology or sci-fi stuff, you can do a lot worse than check out Role Playing Game (RPG) source books. The best of these, from a reference viewpoint, are probably those written for the Eclipse Phase and Transhuman Space settings, Star Hero, and the other GURPS source books (especially Space, Ultra-Tech, and Bio-Tech) These aren’t free resources, but can be very worthwhile purchases for any science fiction author. A lot of them are available inexpensively in pdf format, or can be bought cheaply second hand.

How Stuff Works  – By no means exhaustive, but the articles that are present tend to be well researched.

DARPA – Some interesting insight here into what the US government is throwing money at.

SETI projects – Again, great info on their funded programs.

Wired technology blogs – An asset to any writer’s feed reader. Especially Danger Room, Gadget Lab, and Wired Science

Slashdot – Turns out 80′s cyberpunk novels were pretty bang on the money about a lot of stuff.

Technology Review – The MIT technology blog, yet another daily source of plot hooks.

TED – Lot’s of great stuff here, if you’ve got the bandwidth.

 

 

English and Grammar

Become a better writer – At Writing World, linked separately below.

The Elements of Style – The classic reference work by William Strunk Jr., available online at Bartleby.com

Grammar Handbook – From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Guide to grammar and styleJack Lynch

 

Other useful stuff

Overused story ideas – From Strange Horizons. Check here, ideally before you write the nine novel series.

National statistics – Official data here for the UK, US, Canada, and the EU. Also the CDC. Nielsen also publishes some very useful data publicly.

UNTERM – United Nations terminology database, attempting to keep track of context specific word usage in 8 different languages. This is where they send the linguists and database administrators who have been very bad.

The Urban Dictionary – A lot of content is NSFW, so be warned!

WolframAlpha – A computational knowledge engine. If you need to put a value to just about anything, this is the place to start to start.

Kate’s Onomastikon – A listing of common names for different cultures.

Writer Beware – Helping writers avoid scams.

Writing World – Lots more useful resources.

TVTropes – Probably becoming less useful over time, as fans continue to figure out new ways to shoehorn Naruto into every single category. Still very handy listing of common tropes, and in finding fiction that has used similar ideas to your own.

 

This document is a work in progress, so feel free to contact me or comment if you have links that you think I should include. I’m trying to be selective though, so please understand that I may not use your suggestion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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