Best learning resources for aspiring writers
Hey there! Did you decide to become a fiction writer, but don't know where to begin? This post is the perfect place start.
There's an overwhelming amount of learning resources(writers love writing about writing), but very few are actually good. I have summarized all the best learning resources I have discovered during the past five years of learning to write fiction. Below you will find a collection of the best resources for the beginners, use them to take the first steps on your journey towards becoming a brilliant writer!
- The best place to start is watching this brilliant lecture that takes you through all fundamentals of story structure, characters, worldbuilding, etc. It will give you 80% of the theory you need to know to write good stories. You can also read my article that summarizes most of the information in this lecture.
- The nexst step is to watch Brandon Sanderson's lectures, they are probably the most comprehensive introduction to fiction writing that you can find.
Story Structure and Screenwriting
- To dive deeper, and learn the more advanced principles, I recommend reading the book "Story" by Robert McKee(you can find the audiobook here). Out of all the books on writing I've ever read, this one is by far the most useful and influential. I believe it is absolutely must read for every writer, because it covers everything there is to know about the underlying structure of story, and goes deep into the fundamental nature of plots and characters. It gives you a complete overview of the storytelling theory.
- "Save the Cat" by Blake Snyder is another priceless resource. Despite being focused on screenwriting, it applies to all forms of storytelling, it describes in detail the process of plotting stories, and has an amazing story structure template that is used by Hollywood writers to create most of the modern films.
- Finally, "The Screenwriter's Bible" is perfect for novice writers who are just writing their first screenplay - I've been using it as my primary workbook for the last 4 years, and I keep referring to it every time I work on a new project. It was incredibly fun to read, the author goes right into the meat of what you need to know from the first pages, and takes you through the whole process of writing a screenplay. Whether you're writing a script or a novel, I highly recommend it!
- After learning the basics of character development from the resources above, you should really check out Eliezer Yudkowsky's guide to writing intelligent characters, which will help you to make your characters much more realistic and believable.
The best resource on comedy writing is Greg Dean's video course, based on his book "Step by Step to Stand-up Comedy(audio version)". After watching the course, I still highly recommend reading the book, you will find a lot more awesome advice, examples, and detailed information in it.
Aside from that, you can find a collection of great comedy writing exercises in the "Comedy Writing Workbook" by Gene Perret, and this guide will give you a lot of interesting general advice on writing funny stories.
Tools and Software
Tthe best writing tool is the one you're the most comfortable with. Having said that, I want to highly recommend:
- Nulis - a tool I have developed for outlining stories(see the example of a story tempalte here). Another great alternative for outlining stories is Workflowy.
- Emacs is an open source software which is a little geeky, but it will skyrocket your writing productivity. After using it with org-mode for a few months, I promise you will never want to come back to using any other editor again.
Competitions and Communities
Obviously, first of all I want to recommend Fiction Hub. I may be a little biased, but I believe that we have a lot of the amazing tools that will help you to become a great writer. Aside from that, I recommend:
- NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month is the biggest writing competition in the world that happens every November. It's a lot of fun, and will seriously motivate you to start and finish your novel.
- /r/WritingPrompts is a community where people share and respond to prompts.
- /r/rational - a subreddit where people share and discuss Rational Fiction. Very useful for any writer!