Pathfinder [n]. One that discovers a new course or way, especially through or into unexplored regions.

This public resource can act like a flashlight or torch that illuminates the way down a winding, twisting trail of useful sites for writers. Find quality information within the dark wilderness of webpages or turn's your choice.

The pathfinder is not merely a list places we like, but a comprehensive guide to service or informational sites and it's librarian developed and approved. Whoot!

Stage One: Writing Words

Keep in mind that heaps of print publications about writing technique are written by writers who have never been published or only published once...

And let's be blunt about this: no one knows for sure how to write successfully. How can anyone advise you on your writing without knowing where you are starting from or where you want to go? People from your writing group may be experts in their genre and know nothing about yours and what worked for famous authors 10 or 20 years ago, may not apply within the industry today. Bottom line: you are your #1 writing resource. Trust yourself.

The basic resources we've found should not require a subscription, but if we've made a mistake and included a pay service, just get out a marker and cross it off...or email us.

A Good All-Purpose Dictionary. Dictionaries can be found by the call number 423 in the non-fiction section of your public library, but please own a dictionary and a thesaurus to reference while you write.
Online Etymology
Etymology is the study of word origins. For example, the word "peevish" is from the late 14c., peyvesshe, meaning "perverse, capricious, silly," of uncertain origin, possibly modeled on L. perversus, meaning "reversed, perverse."
Behind the NameFor fiction writers, naming characters is labor intensive process and consulting name meanings can help. There are also lists of most popular names by country and time period for historical fiction writers, too.
Now, understanding the meaning of words is only a small part of writing, next you need to know how to put them together.
Grammar GirlThough it may be the most stressful part of the craft for new writers, after you've made a few humiliating mistakes, your ego is Teflon-coated. That's when the real learning can begin and Grammar Girl is the ultimate source of grammar-related knowledge.
But, you don't just want to write, you want to know everything there is to know about becoming a writer. If only there was a manual for writers, an encyclopedia of everything relevant to getting published...
Writer's DigestAn indispensable publication for writers. Scroll over "Writing Articles" and find "By Writing Level." Select your level and get informed by some of the most experienced writers in the industry.
Of course, despite producing your best work, no begins with perfect technique. Criticism and rejection are a fundamental part of learning how to write well.
Evil EditorBefore you do anything else, overcome your fear of being edited by someone who hates you and has no respect for you or your work. If you send in the first 150 words of your precious novel, the evil editor will explain exactly why you don't get published.
By the way, anyone planning to share their writing publicly should brush up a bit on copy right law. Whereas it's fair game to write a book about Oz and all it's characters, the ruby slippers from the 1939 movie are off limits.

Stage Two: Getting Feedback 

Search strategies for finding a writing group in your area are simple using Boolean Language and other librarian approved search methods. Most importantly, search by key words or phrases. Do not enter a full question into a search engine. Use "Writing Group" AND "Wellington New Zealand" rather than "Where can I find a Writing Group in Wellington New Zealand?"

First, you want to search sites that talk about writing groups and not sites that contain both the word writing and groups. Use quotations to locate the exact phrase within websites. Ex: "Writing Groups"

Second, a writing group can be called different names such as a critique group or a writing circle. Search for every variation using the Boolean operator "OR." Place "OR" between phrases to include all variations in your search. Ex: "Writing Group" OR "Critique Group" OR "Writing Circle" OR "Writer's Society"

Third, a word such as writer can be truncated with the "*" to produce results containing all variations such as writer, writing, writers, written, write... By replacing the letters that vary between words, all similar variations can be retrieved from a search engine. Ex: writ*

Finally, add the name of your town, county, province, city, region, suburb using the same methods. When you contact the group, let them know how you found them and why you want to join. The groups vary as much as writers themselves and while one may not be the most productive environment for you or your style, there are others. If you live rurally or cannot make the commitment to meeting with a writing group, there are also online communities of writers.

Are there other ways? Yes, one of the Peevish Penman editors actually found her first writing group through the Nanowrimo website.
National Novel Writing MonthHow much coffee does it take to write a 50,000 word novel in November? Only you can answer this question. Meet new writing buddies and walk away from the literary frenzy with the first draft of a novel.
But, if you're looking for other writers online and it's not November:
Absolute Write ForumWriting is solitary work, but the Absolute Write Water Cooler is where you can go for a chat with your "coworkers." Every writer should contribute to a least one forum.
And what if the feedback is negative? Well, your career will survive negative feedback, but not if you give up, so learn how to survive a bad peer review.

Stage Three: In Print

Unless you're just writing for fun, you're going to want to sell your work, so you should write to sell.

As soon as money is involved, there will be people willing to scam for it, but it's easier to avoid them than you might think. Don't trust anything that looks too good to be true. And keep reminding yourself, if all we had to do as writers was give the right organization a hundred dollars to promote us and we'd be an instant bestseller, why wouldn't everyone do it? And don't quit your day job just yet.

Good rules to follow:
  • Do not pay an agent for representation
  • Do not pay a publisher to produce your book 
  • Read other writer's reviews of an organization's "author services" before buying
However, with that said, don't be so skeptical that you miss real opportunities either. A good business plan is essential for all authors whether they go the traditional route or self-publish and advertising and marketing techniques work. Stick to a budget that you can afford and never give up!
GoodreadsFree market research? Sure, Goodreads wasn't designed for writers to study writing trends, but wouldn't you rather trust what readers are saying about books than the authors, agents or publishers?
Now, it's time. You've got your manuscript and you're ready to send it out into the world.
Query SharkIf the question is "Why Query Shark?" then the answer is, you're not ready, put it away. Writers who truly want someone else to publish their work, need to write and prepare a worthy manuscript and a sparkling query. The shark helps.
Agent QueryAnd the perfect query letter is useless unless you can submit it to an agent, but where to find one? If only there were an online database of agents...
Not every author is ready to jump straight to sending their manuscript to a complete stranger. Magazines and other smaller publications and presses offer an opportunity to hone one's skills.

Duotrope's DigestWhat if there was an online searchable database of over 4000 publishers? That would be useful, wouldn't it? But you'd probably wish they had a submission tracker, too. You're in luck.
Now, self-publishing is a subject that we should all agree to disagree on. It makes it more fun for those of use  who enjoy creative control and total profit, however minor it may be sometimes. Authors going the self-published route need reputable services. And to do that they're going to need to learn a lot about  eReader Technology.
SmashwordsYour book in every eBook format. Just hit the button. There it is. 
LuluDoes anything say credibility like a print publication in a digital era, no, not really. Lulu is the place to produce print copies of self-published works. Buy them from Lulu to sell and distribute locally. Sell them on Lulu. Either way, you're published.
Oh, and I think you can find them.

Unfortunately, just getting the book into print isn't enough, savvy authors have to be experts with social media. Twitter and Facebook are tried and true methods to connect with other writers and readers, but every writer should consider having a home online where they can invite readers to visit them. It can be a website or a blog. You can build it from the ground up or use Blogger, Wordpress or other platform and a professional looking site is easy to create or maintain when you've learned some basic skills.
Color Scheme Designer 3It's not that hard to co-ordinate your colors if you let this online tool do all the work for you.

w3 schoolsHTML... CSS... JAVASCRIPT... There are a few tricks every person with a website can learn and practice at the w3schools Online Web Tutorials. You can set image sizes, design tables or get really advanced.
Key Word DiscoveryAnd it doesn't hurt if your site comes up in a search engine. With key words you can maximize that possibility with very little effort, but they're a lot like botox - don't go overboard or everyone will notice.
Wufoo FormsWhile you could do everything by email or maybe telephone or perhaps a telegraph, using Wufoo to compile information from your visitors is easier. And that's the point, online forms should be simple for you and your visitors.

Good luck! Brought to you by Writer Secret Society. Keeping secrets for 
successful writing for a long, long time.

Freelance Writers to Career Authors