Writing Resources

Online Writing Resources

For years I’ve been bookmarking useful websites with the intention of sharing these resources with the (writing) world at large. Please note this is a work in progress and I will be adding links and annotating them as I get time – and, periodically, checking to make sure the links still work.

If you have any suggestions for additions, please post a comment on this page and at some indeterminate point I’ll get around to checking out your suggestions – but as this is a curated collection (i.e. stuff I’ve personally found useful), I reserve the right to  ignore your suggestions in much the same way my son ignores almost all of my suggestions on personal grooming.


  • Ralan.com – Market listing for speculative genres (science fiction, fantasy, horror and many other genres and sub-genres). Includes listing for short fiction (organized by pay rate: pro, semi-pro, pay and token), book length works, and contests. I am reluctant to enter contests unless the contest has no entry fee and the rights grab is reasonable. However, there is one contest that is worth entering, if only because there is no rights grab at all, and the (very reasonable $5) entry fee supports an organization I think is worthy of support:
    • The Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest . “The Merril Collection, originally the Spaced Out Library and later renamed for the late Judith Merril, is the foremost North American public assemblage of Speculative, SF and Fantasy Fiction and is an invaluable tool for enthusiasts, researchers and authors.”
    • For other Canadian contests (largely literary magazines), there is a good listing on the CBC website in their Books sections.
  • The Submission Grinder – “The Submission Grinder is a submission tracker and market database for writers of fiction and poetry.” Just what it says. I’ve kept my own stats on pro markets for a few years because I like sending new work to places that respond the fastest (of course the work must also be a good fit for that market) and my stats are pretty congruent with  what you find here.
  • Manuscript format for submissions – William Shunn (often cited on submission pages)


  • The Writers’ Trust. A site that lists residencies for Canadian writers. Also includes information on other programs for writers.


  • SF Canada. “SF Canada exists to foster a sense of community among Canadian writers of speculative fiction, to improve communication, to foster the growth of quality writing, to lobby on behalf of Canadian writers, and to encourage the translation of Canadian speculative fiction.”
  • Science Fiction Writers Association (SFWA). “Founded in 1965, SFWA is an organization for published authors and industry professionals in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and related genres.”

Contracts ‘n tax ‘n other legal stuff

Grant Programs

Other Income (lending and copying rights, etc)

  • Public Lending Right Program – “The Public Lending Right (PLR) Program sends yearly payments to creators whose works are in Canada’s public libraries.”  For Canadian authors.
  • Access Copyright – “We manage licensing, collection of licensing fees and distribution of royalties on your behalf so that you can focus on what you do best – creating! Payback: You will be eligible to receive our annual Payback payment. Each year, all eligible affiliates receive a share of the Payback payment depending on how much they contributed to the repertoire of works licensed by Access Copyright.” For Canadian authors.
  • Authors Licensing and Collecting Society – “We make sure you receive the money you’re entitled to as a writer when someone copies or uses your work. We collect money from all over the world, then pay it to our members. ” Similar to Access Copyright, but based in UK. Canadians are eligible to join.


Yes, I still buy books, even though there are few in the list below. Over time, I will add print and ebooks I’ve found most valuable. For now, though, I’m focusing on online resources.

General Reference Works

  • Wikipedia, of course. It’s always my starting point, but not the be all and end all when I need more than a cursory overview. When it’s not enough, my next step is to use Google Scholar and search for non-Wikipedia articles. Tip: over the years I’ve found many of my queries have begun with “list of”, “parts of” or “types of” when I need to find the right kind of object or concept (“types of ships”, “types of magic”, “list of religions”, “parts of an engine”, etc).
  • Google Scholar. Search engine for both full text and metadata of scholarly work (i.e. peer reviewed journals, conferences, etc).
  • Encyclopedia Britannica. Somewhat free. I’ve used it occasionally, probably more because of a nostalgic pang (my parents had the full set) than for any other reason.
  • Internet Archive and Wayback Machine. “Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.” The Wayback Machine is part of the Internet Archive and contains snapshots of web pages over time. If something you wanted has disappeared from the Internet, you may be able to find it here. Or not.
  • Library of Congress Digital Collections
  • Courses/lectures on various subjects:

Biology and Medicine

Geography & Environment & Maps

Society, Architecture, Professions and Life


Weapons, War & Violence


Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space flight


Language & Dictionaries


  • freesound. Database of sounds – I know, sounds aren’t words, but I’ve found it helps when I hear a sound before I try to describe it in words.

Social Media For Readers (and Writers)

Educational (and otherwise) Cool Things I’ve Collected Over the Years

On Writing

Teaching writing


Grammar and Style

Writing ideas