The following books, articles, and websites, I either found very useful and practical in my journey as a writer - or are simply great reads.
Australian Writers Centre
This got me into writing, after years of procrastination and self-doubt. I started with their 'Creative Writing Stage 1' course, then did the follow-on course 'Novel Writing Essentials' and their 'Write Your Novel' course.
Very worthwhile and recommended, particularly the combination of writing, handouts, feedback from a professional author or experienced editor and beta-readers is ideal. You learn about scenes, characters, structure and plots, everything to get you going and to build on. Start here!
I like flashfiction (up to 1000 words) and microfiction (up to 100 or 250 words). Packing a story and characters into a few words is a great exercise.
There are heaps of flashfiction journals out there, most of them exclusively online. Flashfiction Magazine is a ‘high traffic’ online journal that not only publishes great stories but also offers professional editorial services for a very low fee. This has been and still is a great learning experience for me as the editors are just wonderful and very thorough. Paying for this does not guarantee acceptance of your story, in fact most are still rejected - but you will have a better chance to get it published elsewhere.
The Story Grid
A very expansive resource by a very experienced editor who provides detailed analysis on why a story 'works' or not. It also examines genres and their various conventions and obligatory scenes. Shawn Coyne also has a great podcast that discusses the 'story grid method.'
Hardy, Janice. Understanding Show, Don't Tell: (And Really Getting It) (Skill Builders Series Book 1) Kindle Edition.
A great book on the fundamental techniques in modern creative writing - it changed my writing completely.
Lakin, C. S.; Clare, Linda S.; Distler, Christy; Patchen, Robin; Thomson, Rachel Starr. 5 Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing (The Writer's Toolbox Series) (p. 295). Ubiquitous Press. Kindle Edition.
Twelve chapters on essential errors you must avoid, with each error analyzed with a short essay and 'before' and 'after' (editing) examples. I go through my summary of this book a couple of times a week so as not to fall back into bad habits.
Bell, James Scott. 27 Fiction Writing Blunders - And How Not To Make Them! (Bell on Writing Book 8) (p. 58). Compendium Press. Kindle Edition.
This is another one of those 'what to avoid books' by an experienced writer and teacher. Easy to read and memorize. James Bell also offers an online course that might be worthwhile checking out (haven't done it yet so I cannot comment any further).
Bell, James Scott. VOICE: The Secret Power of Great Writing (Bell on Writing Book 6) (p. 11). Compendium Press. Kindle Edition.
Another book by James Bell: VOICE - the thing that makes your book stand out. He defines it as 'character background and language filtered through the author's heart, and rendered with craft on the page', in short: CAP. Basically – everything your point of view character narrates, describes and comments must have ‘attitude’ that says a lot about your character itself.
There are lots more books and heaps of internet sites, online courses and podcasts, not to mention creative writing courses at universities. Sometimes I wonder whether the 'teaching how to write' business is bigger than the actual creative writing industry. Clearly there is money to be made and the fees for the courses at university reflect that.
I will update this site as I keep learning and also include some 'not so helpful' sites and books and sites I wasted money on.
Finally, I had to learn that rejection is much more common than acceptance in this business, no matter how good you think your story is. Disappointing, but you learn to expect if not to embrace it. Just keep writing. You will get better at it, especially if you seek constant feedback. And never take rejection personally - it's the name of the game.