Useful Sites for Beginners to Creative Writing

Jul 20, 2011

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Creative writing can be a fun and satisfying pursuit, but getting started is often intimidating. Check out the following websites for writing prompts, style tips and other essential resources for beginning poets and creative writers.

Creative

Writing Prompts

Find yourself staring at a blank page? Get your juices flowing with a little help from these sites:

  • Creative Writing Prompts - Over 300 quick story ideas and inspirations.
  • The Story Starter - This site automatically generates silly and strange sentences to get you started.
  • Imagination Prompt Generator - Creativity Portal offers this idea generator that offers questions and topics that can either start a long project or just get you writing a little bit at a time.
  • Fifteen Minutes of Fiction - Make sure you spend at least 15 minutes writing every day with the short writing prompts on Fifteen Minutes of Fiction. The site also offers a community forum for sharing projects and ideas.
  • Story Spinner - Writing instructor Bonnie Neubauer offers a story spinner that generates millions of combinations of settings, starting phrases and words to include throughout your stories.

Mechanics & Style

Good grammar, tight mechanics and a strong personal voice are essential elements to good creative writing. These sites offer practical advice on style and mechanics:

  • OWL - Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) covers just about everything writing-related. Get tips on grammar, structure, organization and style, as well as guidance through the writing process and specific tips on certain forms of writing - all free to the public.
  • Grammar Girl - Everyone's favorite grammar podcast also has a searchable blog. Look for tips on common errors like who vs. whom or less vs. fewer, or submit your own burning grammar questions.
  • AutoCrit Editing Wizard - If there's no one around and you need some help editing your work, check out the AutoCrit Editing Wizard. It doesn't substitute for a human editor, but it can find hundreds of different structural errors.
  • Grammar Book - This interactive instructional website offers grammar quizzes and instant feedback on your errors.
  • Web English Teacher - Revisit the basics with the Web English Teacher site, which covers mechanics, punctuation and common writing conventions.

Writing Forums

Not ready to join a 'real life' writer's group? Online forums can offer a great place to find advice, solicit critiques of your writing and get exposed to new ideas.

  • Writing.com - This forum for writers of all skill levels has been operating for over a decade.
  • Writing Forums - The site's name says it all - writing forums with over 28,000 members covering such topics as publishing, plot creation, character development and even role playing.
  • Writer's Beat - If you're looking for a more intimate community, check out the Writer's Beat. Although there are fewer members, its forums are frequently updated and offer everything from critiques to writing prompts and reference tools.
  • The Water Cooler - Gather around this virtual cooler to discuss your writing joys and fears and get feedback from your peers.
  • About.com Fiction Writing Forum - This popular informational site also offers community forums on hundreds of topics, including fiction writing.

Other Resources

  • Writer's Digest - The website for the Writer's Digest magazine offers a huge range of resources in one place: forums, style tips, creativity prompts and much more.
  • NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a nation-wide coordinated effort each November to write an entire novel in a month. The site offers support for NaNoWriMo projects as well as writing forums and other help for aspiring writers.
  • Teen Ink - Are you a teenage writer? This site includes a writing publication, Web forums and writing workshops designed especially for young authors.
  • Writers FM - If you need a break from the written word, check out Writers FM. This online radio station and podcast offers anecdotes, advice and entertainment by writers, for writers.
  • Funds for Writers - Considering a career in freelance writing? This site can help you find legitimate contests, contract jobs and other paid gigs, all screened for scams by the Funds for Writers editors.