Recommended Resources

These are Web sites and blogs that Absolute Write thinks every writer ought to know about.

Literary Agents

Agent Query
Agent Query offers a free searchable database of literary agents.
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Jennifer Jackson has been an agent at the Donald Maass Literary Agency since 1993. She discusses publishing news, good and bad queries, and offers practical advice about writing and publishing. Jennifer Jackson on Twitter.
Jennifer Represents….
Jennifer Laughran is an agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency specializing in children’s &YA fiction. Jennifer Laughran is on Twitter, too.
Janet Reid, Literary Agent
Janet Reid is one of the best known, most respected agents out there. In addition to interesting discussions about what she, and other agents are looking for, she’s provided a lot of information about how to write a query, how to talk to an agent, and what not to do. Janet Reid is also on Twitter.
Miss Snark
Miss Snark was a forthright literary agent who blogged anonymously for several years; while she is no longer adding new posts, the old content is very much worth reading. She’s a fount of practical, honest, advice.

Market Resources

Ralan is a fellow writer, who categorizes, lists, and describes markets, including submission criteria, payment, and response time. It’s an amazing resource.
Freelance Writing Jobs
Freelance Writing Jobs began in May 2005, the brain child of a freelance writer who wanted to help other writers find decent paying jobs. Now, it’s much more than it’s frequently updated lists of writing gigs, it’s a vibrant community for freelance writers.
Media Bistro
Mediabistro is intended for anyone who creates or works with content, or working in a content/creative industry. That includes editors, writers, producers, graphic designers, book publishers, and others. Mediabistro is a creative community, providing opportunities to meet, share resources, find job opportunities and interesting projects and news, improve career skills, and showcase your work.

Writing Resources

Forward Motion
Forward Motion was started by SF and Fantasy author Holly Lisle in 1998, and has been owned and managed by Lazette Gifford since 2003. You’ll find all ranges of writers, from the very new to those who are much published, and pretty much every genre, including poetry. The core purpose is “to help writers become professionally published.” They prohibit fanfiction, and don’t promote self-publishing. It’s a really helpful community, and completely free.
“We’re a respectful online writing group made up of writers who improve each other’s work with thoughtful critiques and by sharing their writing experience.”
Writer Beware
You need to know about this site. It includes “warnings about literary fraud and other schemes, scams, and pitfalls that target writers.” Writer Beware is the public face of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Committee on Writing Scams. They are also sponsored by the Mystery Writers of America. Also see the Writer Beware blog.

Writing Workshops, Conferences and Retreats

Note that many professional organizations like RWA and SCWBI offer conferences.

The ALPHA SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers (ages 14 – 19)
“We’re looking for enthusiastic, talented young writers who have a strong interest in science fiction, fantasy and/or horror and a passion for writing. Come spend ten days working with professional authors, each of whom will spend two days at the workshop.” This looks like a fabulous opportunity; writers in past years include Tamora Pierce, Harry Turtledove, Catherine Asaro, Wen Spencer, and Tobias S. Bucknell.
Boucher Con
The World Mystery Convention is a nonprofit, all-volunteer organization which holds an annual convention in honor of Anthony Boucher, the distinguished mystery fiction critic, editor and author. It is the world’s premier event bringing together all parts of the mystery and crime fiction community, and is commonly referred to as Bouchercon. [bough’·chur·con]
“Clarion is an intensive six-week summer program focused on fundamentals particular to the writing of science fiction and fantasy short stories. It is considered a premier proving and training ground for aspiring writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Instructors are among the most respected writers and editors working in the field today. Over one third of our graduates have been published and many have gone on to critical acclaim.”
Clarion West
An intensive 6-week workshop with an emphasis on short fiction, in the genre science fiction, fantasy, and horror. Participants should be “prepared to write several new stories during the course of the workshop, to experiment and take artistic risks, and to give and receive constructive criticism. Each week the workshop is taught by a different highly regarded author or editor offering their unique perspective on the field. Class size is limited to 18 students. Instructors work closely with students, critiquing stories, leading class discussions on technique and other professional concerns, and holding individual or small group conferences.”
Clarion South
“Clarion South—which runs every two years in Brisbane, Australia—is the most intensive professional development program for speculative fiction writers in the southern hemisphere.”
Killer Nashville
“Three days of authors, contacts, & publishing. Over 40 panels and discussions available on mysteries, thrillers, and general writing and promotion techniques applicable to any genre.
“Since its inception in 1996, Odyssey has quickly become one of the most highly respected workshops for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Top authors, editors and agents have served as guests at Odyssey, and 53% of graduates have gone on to be published. The workshop, held annually on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, runs for six weeks, and combines an intensive learning and writing experience with in-depth feedback on students’ manuscripts. College credit is available upon request.”
Rainforest Writers Village
The first writers retreat began in February 2007. The idea was to create at least one time and place in the year where all but writing was put aside. The objective was to create an annual writers’ gathering that focused on solitary and community writing in an isolated environment supported by a collective of contemporaries of like mind and pursuits. Writers gather at a location of minimized outside interference or influence, ready to spend an intensive four or five days on their own work, with other writers who present for support and interactive development of written creative work as art, craft, and science. Balanced against this is a schedule of events aimed at supporting this process, with the number of retreat guests and attendees kept to a limit.
Viable Paradise
“Viable Paradise is a unique one-week residential workshop in writing and selling commercial science fiction and fantasy. The workshop is intimate, intense, and features extensive time spent with best-selling and award-winning authors and professional editors currently working in the field. VP concentrates on the art of writing fiction people want to read, and this concentration is reflected in post-workshop professional sales by our alumni.”

Writer’s Organizations

American Society of Journalists And Authors | ASJA
ASJA is a professional association of independent nonfiction writers founded in 1948
Australian Horror Writers Association
“The Australian Horror Writers Association (AHWA) is a non-profit organisation that formed unofficially in 2003 as a way of providing a unified voice and a sense of community for Australian writers of dark fiction, while helping the development and evolution of this genre within Australia.”
InScribe Christian Writers Fellowship
We exist to stimulate, encourage and support Christians across Canada who write, to advance effective Christian writing, and to promote the availability and influence of all Christians who write.
Mystery Writers of America
MWA is a storied organization with a golden past and an exciting present. Each Spring, we present the Edgar® Awards, widely acknowledged to be the most prestigious awards in the genre. We sponsor MWA:Reads (a vibrant youth literacy program) and numerous other symposia and events designed to enlighten and inform authors and fans alike. If you’re an author in the mystery or crime genre or an allied professional, you’ll find important services and benefits here. If you’re a reader, fan, librarian, journalist or anybody else interested in learning more about the genre, you’ve come to the right place.
Romance Writers of America
“Romance Writers of America is dedicated to advancing the professional interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy. The association represents more than 10,000 members in 145 chapters offering local or special-interest networking and education.”
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc.
SFWA is a non-profit organization of professional writers of science fiction, fantasy, and related genres. Founded in 1965 by Damon Knight, the organization now includes over 1500 speculative authors, artists, editors, and allied professionals. SFWA presents the prestigious Nebula Awards, assists members in legal disputes with publishers, and hosts the well-known Writer Beware web site.
Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
SCBWI is one of the largest organizations for writers and illustrators, and the only professional organization specifically for writers and illustrators for children and young adults in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia.
Sisters in Crime
3600 members in 50 chapters world-wide, offering networking, advice and support to mystery authors. Members are authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers and librarians bound by affection for the mystery genre and support of women who write mysteries. Sisters in Crime was founded by Sara Paretsky and a group of women at the 1986 Bouchercon in Baltimore to promote the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers.

Writing Classes

See this listing for writing classes.

Reference Resources

The American Heritage Dictionary of The English Language
This is the complete unabridged dictionary, with audio pronunciations, usage notes, and the Appendix of Indo-European Roots. If you’re looking for an answer about English, ranging from spelling, to grammar to usage, start here.
Columbia Guide To Standard American Usage
Easily understandable explanations of grammar and usage.
The King’s English H. W. Fowler
This is a classic. The second edition was published in 1908, but there’s still a great deal of practical wisdom for today’s writers.
Bartleby’s Reference Section
This is a basic reference library, all freely available, some of them a little dated, but there are dictionaries, quotation collections, literary encyclopedias, histories, and a good collection of poetry and literature.

Online Classes offered through Colleges and Universities

Online Schools Guide
Online Schools in Massachusetts A work continually in progress, this resource is a database compilation of college programs offered online in Massachusetts both full and part time.

8 thoughts on “Recommended Resources”

  1. Have you heard of Off The Bookshelf? Are they a reputable company? I recently signed up with them and then heard they are spammers. Now I’m worried because I gave them my information.
    Thank You,
    Diane Tegarden

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  3. Would you be able to list ICWF ( under your writer’s organizations? This is an excellent Canadian writer’s group with two conferences every year and a 32-page quarterly writer’s newsletter (of which I am the editor).

  4. Hi,
    I’d like to tell you about a site I think your authors/readers would really enjoy and find useful. I am currently trying to get published, and in my adventures have made contacts in the industry and learned quite a bit about the process. I write children’s and teen’s fantasy, and so I feel I can relate to some of your writers/readers.
    The site is

    Check it out. If you like it or find it useful, and think a lot of your users would benefit from it, please blog about it/include it in your resources. Or, I would be happy to contribute a blog. I have included absolutewrite as pasrt of my resources. I think I have one of the biggest listings online of agents and publishers accepting non-agented queries under my ‘Authors Resources’ section. Would love to collaborate!

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