My Writer’s Toolbox

November 2nd, 2015

Writing is tough work. Anyone that tells you any differently is probably fibbing. And the more you learn, the more you realize how much there is to learn. So I’ve built this page as a way to provide some of the resources that have helped me.

Writing Better

Through the journey of completing manuscripts, I’ve learned more each time. Books, websites, and classes provided light bulb moments that helped me understand the craft of writing. If you are on your journey, here are the resources I found that changed my writing for good:

Craft, Structure and Story

Save the Cat – Blake Synder – BEAT SHEET

Blake Synder wrote a book called Save the Cat — it’s meant for screenwriters, but it’s an amazing tool for fiction writers, as well. This book will help break down the structure and scene elements for your story. It is a great resource to help you get past the moment of “Well I know how it starts and how it ends…”

The day I discovered [website] was a day I got nothing else done. I spent hours reading through the goldmine of posts. I suggest you read everything on this site, but this is a great place to start: Story Structure Roadmap : These posts include exercises to follow — do them. Reading these alone won’t give you the same understanding as sitting down with a few good movies and hashing out the structure just as he suggests.

Books to Read

Classes & Workshops to Take

Creating Characters

Margie Lawson‘s Academy Classes and Workshops

There is so much to be said about the classes and workshop that the amazing Margie Lawson offers. Her invaluable EDITS system, her pushes to write better, deeper and with more emotion — from character to setting to putting tension on the page, Margie’s classes are worth every minute, three times over. Over the years, I’ve taken a number of in-person workshops, including a full weekend retreat with the fabulous Sacramento Valley Rose chapter. In 2013, I was lucky enough to attend Margie’s Immersion Master class – one week at her house, immersed with 6 other writers on our work and Margie’s lessons. It was exhausting, exhilarating and taught me so much. I will be going back.

There isn’t a class of hers I don’t recommend, I highly suggest them all. You could start with Empowering Your Character’s Emotions.

You can find some of my Margie-related blog posts:

Revisions and Editing

A series of blog posts by Katrina Stonoff:


Writing is a solitary endeavor, but the communities that exist for you in your genres are a worthy, wonderful resource for support, help, and so much more.

Top Writers Blogs & Communities

There are more writer blogs out there than you could possibly have the time to read. Reviewers, writers, agents, communities… so many to choose from, not enough time. I encourage any writer to seek out all the blogs you can and check them out for yourself. Find the community that speaks to you. So I’m sharing the ones that I’ve gotten useful information and time well spent from. These are the blogs and communities I return to time and time again.


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