Here are just some of the resources I use for information, references, advice, and tips when writing.
A subscription to Writer’s Digest Magazine (www.writersdigest.com). This always keeps me up-to-date on the latest industry news, and it gives me ideas when it comes to the craft of writing or when thinking about getting published. I recommend subscribing to at least one writing magazine. Writers Digest is one. Writer’s Journal is another.
I also recommend the Writer’s Market guides. A new issue is put out every year, so it is always up to date. The Writer’s Market is a comprehensive source for finding publication information in various areas of the writing industry. There are also more specific guides similar to Writer’s Market. There is Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market (I use this one for findng info on short story contests), Guide to Literary Agents, Poet’s Market, Children Writer’s Illustrators Market, and Christian Writer’s Market Guide. I wouldn’t recommend buying these as they are pretty expensive, and they are updated annually. I would just go to your local bookstore, maybe library, and do your research there. Bring a pen and a notepad, grab a coffee and a Writer’s Market guide, and write down all the information.
Lastly. Read a lot. This cannot be stated enough. If you want to be a good writer, you must study the craft, and the best way to do this is by reading lots of novels, short stories, poetry, movie scripts, memoirs, whatever it is you are interested in writing. My focus is on historical fiction and fantasy novels, so I read as much as I can specifically in these genres. I used to read a lot of various authors and genres, but then I thought it would help me more to study the genres that I also write in, and now I read almost solely historical fiction and fantasy and also medieval history non-fiction for research. I still read other genres and styles besides these when I listen to books on tape or CD in my car. That’s another thing I’d recommend. Always have a book on CD in your car. I travel a lot on weekends, so I can read a lot of books this way. And when you’re reading a novel, I would suggest analyzing the characters and how the author develops them, how they interact with each other through dialogue, observe the particular writing style of an author, how he or she uses rhythm in his or her language to pace the story, things like that. By doing this, it takes me longer to read novels, but I also gain a greater understanding of the craft. I also read out loud, most of the time, because that really helps me to hear the rhythm, and rhythm is so important in writing.