Vanilla Grass Writing Resources is where we keep all the links to posts and tools we think will be of service to you as a writer!
Resources to help you write faster, more efficiently, and when you have time.
An up-to-date calendar of all the writing events we could possibly find so you can grow your community.
Everything you need to outline, plot, and structure your novel so you can get writing.
Resources to help writers connect with other writers. Because it’s more fun that way.
Ever sat down to write and produced nothing? Or went the opposite way and had a milion things you wanted to write down but didn’t have the time? Check out these awesome resources on improving word count, sneaking time to write, and flexing those writing discipline muscles.
Amazing blog posts to help manage your time better so you can get writing:
The number one writing resource is actually yourself! Check out this youtube video on how to build and harness self-discipline so you can reach your writing goals!
We do our best to keep our Writing Events Calendar up-to-date with every conference, workshop, and writing event we can find! Take a look at some examples of writing conferences and events below, or check out our calendar for up-to-date lists and even more!
Once you’ve polished your writing, what better way to celebrate than to submit to a contest! Below is a list of some great writing contest resources. Be sure to check out our calendar as well. Most writing conferences usually include a first chapter, first 1K or first page contest. Good luck!
Story structure can make or break a novel. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some fabulous resources so you can get your story on track.
So, you’ve dabbled with your first few pages or maybe written your first novel and realized…
There’s so much I don’t know about the world of publishing and beta readers and writing conferences.
The best place to go for quick, effective, and relevant information is not the interent (gasp!).
Indeed, there’s a myth percolating out there that writing is a solitary and often lonely task. I challenge that with two words: Writing Community. There are writing groups, critique groups, conferences, beta reading groups and so many more resources out there to help writers improve their craft and make friends.
These writing communities are also where you’re going to find out about local writing events, contests and what’s worth going to and what you can skip. The veteran writers in the groups have incredibly useful tips for querying and publishing and not giving up. Because they’ve been there. They’ve already made the mistakes you want to avoid and founds avenues of success you want to drive on. I learned more in a few sessions of my writing group than I had in all the months since I started writing.
Because I didn’t have any clue what I was doing or what to search for. In light of this, my first recommendation for the next step in your writing journey: find a writing group!
See below for some excellent resources to get you started.
But first, check out this Writer’s Digest article on how to find the right critique group for you!
Many of these groups are locally based and change often, so we’ll do our best to keep this list fresh.
Writing Groups for Regions:
Elevator pitches are called so because they you should be able to say the entire thing in the time it takes to get from one floor to the next in an elevator. They should be short, sweet, and simple.
Elevator Pitch Example 1: Hero’s name wants nothing but desire, but when villain shows up with evil desire and/or weapon, hero must choose between original desire and new desire.
Elevator Pitch Example 2: Book comp 1 meets book comp 2 in this story about how Hero’s name must sacrifice something sympathetic to save things they care about from villain who wants evil desire with evil weapon.
First, check out our awesome post on overcoming writer’s block!
Need inspiration for characters? Check out Humans of New York on Instagram for some amazing people stories.
Looking for a setting or a disaster to strike? @awesome.earth on Instagram is an awe-inspiring source for pictures of nature.
Or do you need some plot ideas? This resource on conspiracy theories will get your writer mind churning.
You can also check out Merriam Webster’s Word of the Day and use it as a prompt for a warm-up writing exercise.
A lot of writers swear by their genre playlists to drive inspiration like this sweet love songs list for romance writers. You can make a list of music that reminds you of the genre you’re writing, or just compile your favorites and see what story comes out!
Fresh air and the outdoors are another great way to stir inspiration and clear your thoughts.
For another writing inspiration resource, read short stories to get the seeds for bigger ideas. Bonus: They take less time to read!
For some flash fiction writing prompts, check out #vss365 on twitter.
Or you can play with all the possibilities on the Vanilla Grass Plot Graph Calculator to generate some ideas.
Still need more ideas? Try people-watching, talking to children, trying new food, walking around a college campus or video arcade, or even taking a break. Try keeping a dream journal, or even painting.
Keep in mind that your lack of ideas may just be too many ideas! Sometimes, we love a bunch of plot twists and characters and settings and want to fit them all in the same story but just can’t make it work. Try simplifying. Bring your story back to one plot line and expand from there.
Another trick you can use to get those creative juices flowing? Picture your story a different way. Instead of writing it as a novel, write it as a poem. Or try scripting it as a play or structuring it like a graphic novel. Sometimes getting out of the prose and back into the idea of our story is all it takes to get writing again!
Most of all, keep at it! Write everyday. Make time for it. Steal time for it. And take time for it. Because inspiration will come.
Interested in a writing resource for the basics of writing poetry? Check out this simple step-by-step to get you started! (Thanks to our young reader, Amelia, for this recommendation!)
To start your writing journey, you’ll need to type on something. Very few agents and editors will accept hand-written manuscripts and it’s not even an option if you want to self publish.
For this step, even the notepad application that comes free with your laptop or computer will work. But there are much better options out there. (Note: Some, but not all of the links in this section are affiliate to help us keep the blog running.)
What next? Use the following suggestions to help your book reach the acclaim it deserves.
In order to get recognized at a traditional publishing house, you’ll need an agent. And to get an agent, you’ll need to pick a list of potential representatives, write a query, possibly write a synopsis, and submit and repeat.
Picking an agent – When it comes to picking an agent, the most important tip is to do your research. The agents you submit to need to want the genre of your book. Even though your manuscript is the best thing since sliced bread, a gluten free agent won’t appreciate it.
Thankfully, there are several free services to help you in your quest. Query Tracker is my go-to starting point. I narrow down my genre, click through agents, and when one feels like a good fit, I start the stalking process. Yes, it’s uncomfortable but necessary to track down each agent to find the most up-to-date information on their preferences.
I move on to the listed agency website and Twitter handle. If I’m still interested, I will check out The Official Manuscript Wish List and then Publisher’s Marketplace to see how many books this agent has sold in the genre I’m submitting.
Another great starting point is Agent Query.
Once you know who you’d love to work with, it’s time to query them.
The Query Letter – Before you can land your agent, you’ll need to learn how to write the best pitch for your story. These articles and websites might help:
Query Shark – What not to do when writing a query letter.
or come back next month for the Vanilla Grass Query Guide.
Submit and Repeat –
Once you get that first query sent off, it’s time to wait and repeat. Not every agent will love your work so you’ll probably get rejections regardless, but sometimes in the query process you’ll realize that your query needs a bit more work, or maybe even the story itself. If you find yourself getting rejected over and over again, take heart. You’re part of the norm. And if you consider never writing a day again, turn to something you love and then come back to Vanilla Grass. Our articles will help you improve, laugh and cry with you along the way, and get you toward your end goal.
Have questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org