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:
Writing World:, After school Book Club with resources for young readers:

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.

Simple Tools for Editing: 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.
Diplomatic Resources: - index of foreign embassies in Washington DC, links to countries, virtual tour of Embassy Row, famous Diplomatic Quotations, and news

Thank you to reader Lilly Ray and Liz Cook of 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
CITATION Mostly for Academic papers, but useful in other works, Online College Plan's Student's Guide to citing Internet Resources, along with other good helping sources, has useful information. Thank you to Anna Jones of, an organization promoting literacy to young readers.

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

Website Creation and setup
From time to time I am approached by third party sources to list resources and links on this page. While well-intentioned and often helpful, most of the time I refuse due to advertising popups or the fact that there is some fee associated with the resource. When Hailey Dawn Stratton asked me to consider adding a link about creating a website as a resource, I checked the link and associations as I was able, and decided to post this resource.

PLEASE BE AWARE this link and guide is for setting up a WORDPRESS site, one of several free webhosting resources available, including BLOGGER, WIX, and other similar sites. While it is NOT NECESSARY to purchase a domain name through Wordpress or the included domain host resource in this link, which is Blue Host (more expensive than other sites like GoDaddy), I agree with the advice in the article to purchase a domain name for a more professional site. I do not profit from passing on any of this information, nor necessarily agree with nor promote the products. This link is simply for your information: