Tips and Resources

Feel free to copy and use the following character and setting papers I have developed. Let me know how they helped you, or if you have other suggestions.

1. Fictional Character Development Sheet - view and download here.
2. Fictional Setting Development Tools Sheet - view and download here.

Brainstorming tips for creating conflict, ramping tension, and defining the goal.
Includes Appendices for Brainstorming techniques and Plots in Literature

BETA Readers - what are they and how to use them

Influencers - how to help out other authors without being a writer

Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips:

Here's a great article I recommend you read about editing and editing services 

Are you ready for an editor: See the post on Cherie Burbach's Working Writers and Bloggers 

Helpful Organizations with resources:
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators:
Association of Independent Authors:
Preditors and Editors:
Publishing Central:

The Nuts and Bolts of Submission

Find out about submissions, queries, synopses and the little details that make up a standard proposal. The following lessons are from an online workshop:

Nuts and Bolts of Submission: Overview
Writing is like a journey - how to start: Lesson One
Do I have what it takes - sample query letters included: Lesson Two
The parts of a submission package: Lesson Three
Going home: What do you do while you're waiting? Lesson Four

For in-person visits, "SHARING A STORY FROM YOUR LIFE" workshop pieces in progress now available

Geared especially for grandparents or anyone who wants to share a story with a child, we'll learn about what makes a good story and how to pull those stories out and turn them into the best-loved "tell me again, Grandpa" stories your readers will ask for.

This is one of the best checklists I've seen for writers!

On Line Resources

Language/Words - a little less formal dictionary than Meriam-Webster, Thanks to alert reader Serge Matson, who sent in the tip
AlphaDictionary - provides access to a variety of different dictionaries and articles on words and word usage.
To see a word expand, a visual thesaurus:
Online Etymology Dictionary - provides historical meaning and sounds of words. for poetry and classic literature

Thanks to Sheryl Witte for suggesting this site:

Physical Attributes
Using Body Language - -A great resource on how emotions and mental states reveal themselves in body language. - to view facial expressions on a digitally-generated face

To explore European art, artifacts, books, and sounds:
Quick and easy access to dozens of European library collections:
CIA World Factbook for maps and interesting info:
US historical database: - provides historical printable calendars and other great information
Writer's Dream Tools - great reference site for historical research - provides information on clothing from the 18th Century to the 20th Century. - a broader resource on historical clothing. Antiques Auction and Marketplace - A great resource for finding historical artifacts.

Thank you to reader Lilly Ray who offered two sources that are helpful research tools for sight-impaired readers:
The Time Now is a site with a world clock, weather information and astronomy data.

General to Specific Knowledge and Resource for verified source material For character names in any era - learn the most popular names of historical periods, cultures, or develop a unique name of your own
For writing credible medical scenarios: 
For writing about law enforcement scenarios:

And, THANK YOU to my friends from the TEEN ZONE WRITING CLUB in Colorado for this link to determine legitimate resources:
To check for sites that are easily accessible to all internet users, use this link: WAVE Web Accessibility

General Publishing Info
United States Copyright office online: 
Library of Congress Control Numbers:
Legitimate source for ISBN:
For more resources on checking for and using information, data, quotes, that are copyrighted, and a Fair Use policy, use this Fair Use Evaluator tool on Library

For information on Plagiarism and a plagiarism checker, use