It’s almost the end of 2019. Usually, this is the time where I would look back on the books I’ve read this year and give a list of my favorites. Problem is, I sucked ass at reading this year. Moving into a new apartment, changing careers, finishing my own novel, none of this is conducive to relaxing reading time. I could wax poetic about Rick Riordan again, but let’s try to be a little more original here.
Most writers have, at one point or another, set their New Year’s resolution as “I’m going to write/finish that novel,” and some of us actually succeed at it. Writing a novel is hard, but over the years I’ve collected several various resources—books and YouTube channels, mostly—that have helped me stay inspired and given excellent advice on everything from plotting to worldbuilding to keeping my butt in the chair and fingers to the keyboard.
So here are my favorite writing resources for your disposal in 2020.
Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody
Once upon a time, a guy named Blake Snyder wrote a book called Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need.
Jessica Brody has taken the knowledge of that book and applied it to writing novels rather than screenplays, and it is excellent. This is primarily used for story structure and character arcs, and is extremely valuable even to pantsers.
The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition by Christopher Vogler
We’ve all heard of the Hero’s Journey, right? Well, in addition to breaking that hallowed trope down piece by piece, it also goes into the major character archetypes found in modern media, and dissects case studies like The Lion King, Star Wars, and The Wizard of Oz. This is probably one of the first books I got after college that really improved my writing.
Overly Sarcastic Productions on YouTube
OSP is an amazing channel for students and anyone interested in mythology, history, and story. More relevant to writers, however, is the Trope Talk playlist. So far Red has over thirty-five videos on various tropes across media: amnesia, fallen heroes, the five man band, etc. She breaks them all down, traces their origins so we see where they came from, talks about how they can be well-written and how they can fall apart, all that jazz. She’s also an intersectional feminist and rarely misses an opportunity to talk about marginalized communities in writing, especially women.
Hello Future Me on YouTube
HFM has a playlist called On Writing, and it is exactly what you would expect. The worldbuilding videos especially are great at asking questions about your SFF world and how you can go about answering them, particularly with history. The examples he uses range from classic SFF (Tolkien and Elder Scrolls and whatnot) to modern video games. Recently he’s taken a closer look at mental health and disabilities in fiction.
There are a few others. I’ve got a whole page dedicated to this stuff on my website here. But these are my absolute favorites, and definitely worth taking a peak if your goal in 2020 is to write a novel.
What are your favorite resources for novel-writing? Tell us in the comments!