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Writing Resources Thread

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by Halt, Sep 1, 2019.

  1. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

    May 27, 2010
    Something @Sorrows and I have been talking about.

    This thread is meant to be a list of writing resources (whether it be books, podcasts, Youtube videos, articles, etc.) that the writers in our community can refer to.

    You do not have to be a writer to contribute to this thread.

    If you come across a resource you find enlightening that has not been posted yet, share it here. Kindly add a description on what you like about a specific resource you recommend so that others will know what you like (or dislike) about it.

    Not all resources have to be focused on an aspect of writing / storytelling. Feel free to add things that you think might help a writer world build or through some tangential aspect of their writing research (such as r/AskHistorians).

    This post will be periodically updated by your suggestions and serve as a masterlist for said resources.

    Youtube Channels and Videos
    Do not directly embed youtube videos as this will slow the shit out of the thread loading. Just add a link to either the channel home, or specific video.

    Terrible Writing Advice
    Overly Sarcastic Productions
    Hello Future Me
    Lessons from Screenplay

    Kato Institute

    Replay Value

    Every Frame a Painting

    Just Write

    Brandon Sanderson - Writing Lectures at BYU by Brandon Sanderson
    World Building - Creating Place Names Realistically and Artistically by Stoneworks World Building
    Writing Excuses
    DLP Talks Writing
    Writing Advice Thread

    How to Write Dialogue Thread
    How to Write Summaries

    Writing Believable Mistakes
    On Cliffhangers

    DLP discusses how writers plan

    Music for writing

    Fonts and writing
    Writing and Motivation
    Reviewing Tips
    Critical Reading Thread

    Prior DLP Writing Resources Thread
    Articles and Other Sites
    Nuts and Bolts: Thought Verbs by Chuck Palahniuk
    Fuck Yeah Character Development
    Jim Butcher's writing bloc


    On Writing by Stephen King
    Story by Rob McKee

    The Anatomy of Story by John Truby
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020
  2. Selethe

    Selethe normalphobe

    Feb 13, 2012
    A couple of resources I'm aware of...


    >> An extensive number of "thesauruses" which can help you come up with ideas when you're stuck. For example, want to show that your character is amused, but don't want to use "they laughed" or "their eyes sparkled" over and over again? This can help. Similarly, there are lists of descriptors for colors, various settings, weather, physical features, etc. I believe the lady who runs this website also has a series of books as well, which extend on her thesauruses, if you find them helpful.


    >> Similar to the above. If you want to describe something in a unique way, but can't think of anything, you can type the thing which you want to describe into the search box and they'll pull up a bunch of quotes (from books/or self-submitted, not sure). It's neat to see how other people went out describing the thing you want to describe. My only gripe is that a lot of quotes aren't that great. Just use them for inspiration and move on.


    >> Worksheets to help you plot your story. She also has, apparently, 900+ posts regarding writing on her blog, but I haven't looked at them.


    >> Emotions chart, going from base->complex
  3. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

    Jan 6, 2009
    The South
    Outlining Resources

    First, here's my old thread on the subject.

    The 'simple' outlines that I use for stories planned to be less than 20k or so are typically these two:

    8 Sequences Script Outline - this was originally intended for movie story telling but it works well enough for short stories as well. I haven't tried outlining anything longer than 20k with this for original fiction, but I'm especially fond of it for short stories. If each of these 8 scenes ends up being about 1k words then hey, that's approx an 8k short story, etc.

    HERE IS A LIST of sequence breakdowns for popular movies. The following spoiler breaks down Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    ACT I


    Introduce Protagonist: South American: 1936. Jungle. Hearing the click of a gun, exploration party leader, Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones, expertly disarms the traitor with a bullwhip. Indy is fearless and intelligent, with overconfident impatience.

    Action Block #1: Indy survives the booby-trapped cave rigged to collapse when the idol statue is removed, is chased through the jungle by a tribe of Hovitos warriors, narrowly escaping on a seaplane.

    Introduce Antagonist #1 (Nemesis): Dr. Rene Belloq – an arrogant French archaeologist and Indy's rival and nemesis. Belloq corners and tries to kill Indy using Hovitos warriors and steals the idol statue Indy rescued life and limb for in the booby-trapped cave.


    World of the Story: Exotic/International – South America, Nepal, Egypt, Greece. High-octane adventure – lots of action – the good (Indy) against the bad (Nazis).

    Status Quo: Single. Obsessed by his work. Professor of archeological studies by day, moonlighting as an adventuring tomb raider, but not for personal glory or fortune.

    Status Quo Obstacle: Indy can't be in the moment in the classroom. He wants nothing more than to be in the field – risking life and limb – all the time.

    Dramatic Premise: The US Army has intercepted a German cable concerning a mammoth archaeological Nazi dig in the Egyptian desert.

    * Inciting Incident (Plot Point #1): Indy and colleague Marcus Brody decipher the cable for two Army officers: the Nazi's have discovered Tanis, an ancient city and possible burial site of the Ark of the Covenant, which holds epic mystical power.


    Protagonist's Objective: Indy must recover the Ark before the Nazis do, but first he needs the headpiece to the Staff of Ra. He flies to Nepal to confront Abner Ravenwood, the last known possessor.

    Introduce Supporting Char. #1 (Lover): Marion Ravenwood. Abner's daughter and Indy's ex-girlfriend. Independent. Feisty. Stubborn. Can out drink anybody.

    Predicament Obstacle: Abner is dead. Marion, she's still bitter about the breakup with Indy, is not initially willing to help him locate the medallion.

    Predicament Solution: Marion takes Indy's $3,000 with the promise of more, and tells him to come back tomorrow. Secretly, she wears the piece around her neck.

    Introduce Antagonist #2 (Bully): Nazi agent, Toht. Sinister, in all black, with a sadistic sense of humor. He's about to torture Marion for the headpiece when Indy returns.

    Action Block #2: Firefight with Toht and Sherpa heavies in Marion's bar.

    * The Lock-In (Plot Point #2): Indy and Marion escape with the headpiece, but Marion's restaurant/bar is destroyed, and she declares she is Indy's new partner.

    ACT II


    Establish Second Act Main Tension: Indy will do whatever it takes to get the Ark.

    Introduce Supporting Char. #2 (Best Friend): Sallah. Insider working on the Nazi dig. Boisterous, and occasionally bursts out in song. A family man and trusted friend.

    Action Block #3: Shopping at a Cario bazaar, Indy and Marion attacked by sword-wielding Arabs working for Nazi agents.

    First 2nd Act Obstacle: Trying to rescue Marion, who gets trapped in a basket and taken by two Arabs, eventually loaded onto a truck of explosives.

    Failure/Ramifications: Indy shoots the driver, the truck crashes, and it explodes.

    Raise the Stakes: With Marion dead, Indy drowns his sorrows in whiskey, only to be escorted by Nazi agents to a table where Belloq, who is aiding the Nazis, brags about the prospect of finding the Ark. Again, Indy's Nemesis.


    New 2nd Act Obstacle: Indy learns that the Nazis have obtained a copy of the Ra headpiece (a one-sided only duplicate from Toht's burned hand). The race is on.

    Obstacle Solution: As a shaman translates the markings on BOTH SIDES of the Ra headpiece, Indy and Sallah discover the Nazis are digging in the wrong place.

    Introduce Antagonist #3 (Tyrant): Colonel Dietrich. Ruthless Nazi in charge of the Cairo dig.

    * First Culmination (Plot Point #3): With the correct staff height, Indy is lowered into the underground map room. Using the Ra staff and headpiece, Indy discovers the exact location of the Ark's burial site, known as the Well of the Souls.


    Subplot Revival: Marion is alive. Indy finds Marion bound and gagged in a tent.

    Subplot Obstacle: But Indy won't cut her loose. If he sets her free, he will most likely reveal his presence to the Nazis, which will endanger the Ark mission.

    Failure/Ramifications: Indy fails to do the right thing – save Marion, lay low for a while, and return after a week to start his Ark dig. His impatience hurts them both.

    Higher 2nd Act Obstacle: Indy and Sallah commence a night dig at the Well of the Souls. They open the chamber. Find Ark. But wait… snakes. Lots and lots of snakes.

    Failure/Ramifications: Indy secures the Ark, only to have it immediately taken by Belloq and the Nazis. Deitrich seals Indy and Marion to die inside the Well of Souls.

    Action Block #5: Escaping from the Well of the Souls.

    Rising Action: No time to rest, going from one action block right into the next!


    Action Block #6: Airfield battle. Marion machine guns Nazis soldiers as Indy dukes it out with a bare knuckle burly Nazi boxer.

    Highest 2nd Act Obstacle: Single handedly retrieving the Ark from the Nazis.

    Action Block #7: Indy hijacking the Nazi truck caravan transporting the Ark.

    * Main Culmination (Plot Point #4): Indy has done everything in his power to obtain the Ark. He has been shot, beaten, dragged by a truck, yet he still obtains his goal. He has the Ark.



    Third Act Tension: Escaping Cairo with the Ark, retaining it, and if so, retaking it.

    Act Three Obstacle: Indy and Marion getting the Ark safely back to the US by boat.

    Failure/Ramifications: Nazi submarine captures ship. Ark is put aboard. Marion is taken prisoner by Belloq. Indy escapes, riding the submarine topside to a Greek isle.

    * Third Act Twist (Plot Point #5): Indy, with rocket launcher aimed at the Ark, intercepts Belloq and the Nazis, vowing to blow it to heaven unless Marion is freed. Belloq calls the bluff.

    Character Arc: Even though Indy can't carry out his threat, he has changed. Now Marion is his prize, no longer the Ark.


    The Last Obstacle: Indy, seized and captured, on a deserted Greek isle against Belloq and a squadron of Nazis soldiers must find a way to save Marion and the Ark.

    Obligatory Scene: Indy and Marion are tied to a pole while Belloq proceeds through an Ark opening Jewish ceremony. Spirits appear. Indy demands that Marion close her eyes as the no-freed spirits surges forth and attacks the Nazis.

    Resolution: All Nazis are killed, including Belloq, Toht, and Dietrich in gruesome fashion. The energy mass returns to the Ark and reseals it. Indy and Marion survive.

    New Status Quo: Indy goes back to old life, but this time with Marion by his side. The Ark is stored in a huge government warehouse, once again lost and forgotten.

    7-Point Plot Outline - this one was designed for writing any kind of story, but seems more focused on novels. To me it seems to mirror the 8 sequences well, but rather than discussing what goes in each scene directly you work towards writing scenes that lead to these 7 specific plot points.

    When picking out your 7-plot points you start with the last one, then go backwards to the first, etc. You don't plot these 'in order' if you follow the method. But it's rather quick either way, since you are essentially just writing down a few words for each point.

    I've used this for longer stories (most of which I haven't finished) because you can pair them up.
    • 7 points outline for overarching plot
    • 7 points outline for the romance side plot
    • 7 points outline for the character arc
    • ...and so on
    There's a powerpoint that's gone around the internet that breaks it down further. You can find a version of the powerpoint here. A screenshot follows for the Matrix as broken down into this structure.


    @Selethe already covered the worksheets - and so far as I know they've linked the best website for them. I got all of mine from there at least, but I rarely use them. They are neat tools though if you want to know 'about how many words' you should be spending on something before moving on.

    Poetry Resources

    Not re-summarizing this one - I did a damn fine job the first time, I think. If you want to just copy paste half of that into a spoiler go for it. Or link to it. Or, since it's poetry and not fiction, ignore it. :)
  4. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter ⭐⭐

    Jan 6, 2009
    The South
    Writing Advice from Brandon Sanderson

    I remembered some of this existed when I was talking to Halt earlier about how it's been neat watching his Arthas in ASoIaF fic develop and flesh out.

    Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
    • Sanderson has this novel available freely and legally on his website.
    • What makes this qualify as a 'writing resource' is the fact that's posted every version of the story, from earliest first draft on to the final copy.
    • There are versions that let you compare 1.0 to 2.0 or 1.0 to 6.1 (which Word can do for you, but still).
    Writing Advice by Brandon Sanderson
    Similar concept but he has other links in here such as the outline for Skyward and two failed attempts at writing it.