A Monthly Column by Anthony D. Fredericks
Resources (you can’t live without)
I’ve been writing professionally for nearly 40 years. During that time, I’ve collected an array of resources that have become integral elements of my writing and, most specifically, the way I approach each and every children’s book. In a departure from my usual monthly musings, I thought I would take this opportunity to share some of those vital writing aids. It is my sincere hope that you will discover some inspiration, methodologies, and wisdom in this continuously evolving list.
Best Smartphone App: If you haven’t discovered it yet, I strongly encourage you to download the Power Thesaurus app (it’s free through the Apple store). This is one of the most useful (and equally amazing) apps available for any writer—it goes where the Word thesaurus does not tread. Rarely do I craft an article, blog post, or book without this resource by my side. The wealth of synonyms—for any single word—is beyond description. In short, it has never failed me in turning up that one incredible word that perfects a sentence, defines a character, or eloquently illustrates a description. I would be lost without it. Trust me—your writing will sizzle (and your readers will be dazzled) whenever you use this app.
Best Writing Book (not about writing): The author never talks about writing (I’m certain the terms “children’s author” and “children’s books” never appear in any chapter), yet it will be one of your “go-to” resources as you wrestle with plots, characters, themes, and other creative entities of your current writing project. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon (https://amzn.to/3BYcTkv) is one of those quintessential books that will shape your thinking (in a very good way), transform your creative output (exponentially), and stir up your imagination (in ways never imagined). This tome has truly earned its five stars on Amazon (including over 7,000 positive reviews) with “. . . ten transformative principles that help readers discover their artistic side and build a more creative life.” It’s not a book about writing; but then, it’s a book that has everything to do with writing.
Best Podcast on Writing: If you’re looking for some writing inspiration or just want to “hang” with an author who has “been there, done that,” then you definitely want to check out I Should Be Writing by Mur Lafferty. On the other hand, if you’re looking for information on specific writing problems and challenges, you’ll want to tune in to Lafferty’s other podcast, Ditch Diggers. Either way, you’ll get some personal experiences, unabashed insights, and lots of down-to-earth advice that will positively impact your authorial output.
Best Blog on Writing: There are a plethora of blogs out there that will tell you how to be a good writer; but few that will show you, with insightful advice, relevant suggestions, and inspirational articles. Write to Done (https://writetodone.com) is like a whole semester of writing courses at your fingertips. Recent articles include “75 Dialogue Prompts for Writers,” “How to Fix Passive Voice (7 Examples),” “How to Avoid an Editing Nightmare,” and “Helpful Research Sources for Historical Fiction Writers.” This blog covers all the bases—teaching you how to master a cornucopia of different techniques and habits geared toward your literary success. Any author seeking to improve will want to access this resource regularly.
Best Source of Writing Quotes: We all need a little authorial inspiration every now and again. And, we all need to know that someone else has a word or two (or three) to help us on our way. If you’re looking for the ideal collection of writing quotes, check out https://blog.reedsy.com/writing-quotes. Here are 170 quotes full of counsel and comfort for writers of every stripe. Pick your favorites, copy them on Post-it notes, and arrange them around the border of your computer (as I do). Your day will be brighter and your writing will be crisper.
Dear Readers: Do you have a favorite writing resource? If so, please share it in the “Comments” section below. Your fellow authors will thank you!
A prolific author, Tony is an award-winning writer of more than 50 children’s books. He has also penned the critically acclaimed Writing Children’s Books: Everything You Need to Know from Story Creation to Getting Published (https://amzn.to/3kl74YQ). Additionally, he authors a regular blog on PsychologyToday.com (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/contributors/anthony-d-fredericks-edd) focused on the nature and nurture of creativity.