In a perfect utopia, the Muses would always be with us, whispering literary gold into our ears. Little goblins would keep track of our work, making sure we never made the desperate mistake of sending a query letter too soon. Tiny sprites would feed the perfect research resources into our favorites folders for more accurate storytelling.
Alas, we don’t live in a perfect world.
We are writers. We have to pour our blood, sweat, and tears (many, many tears) into getting our work correct, getting our work finished, and getting our work out to the right people at the right time. It’s enough to make any writer slam their laptop shut and hide in the safety of Tumblr fanfic and Netflix binges.
I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. You CAN get that story done. You know…that one you’ve been working on.
All you need to get your magnum opus released is a little bit of inspiration and organization. That’s what this post is all about! I’ve curated 10 places for you to check out that inspire, inform, and organize your work. Read on to find something that works for you.
NOTE: We all know that the library and Wikipedia are great places to look stuff up, so I’m going to skip those. This list is made up of a few resources that you may not have heard of or thought to use.
1. Project Gutenberg: Horror Bookshelf – Stephen King said it best: “Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.” It’s widely acknowledged that, in order to write well, one should be well-read. Frankly, I don’t have the budget to drop hundreds of dollars at the bookstore every month, but I admit that I haven’t read many of the classics (and seeing the movie adaptation isn’t the same, people). Luckily, we have Project Gutenberg. This nonprofit site hooks you up with free eBook downloads of horror classics, such as Dracula, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Works of Edgar Allen Poe, and The Great God Pan, which I previously recommended to fans of Stranger Things .
2. Crime Magazine – Psycho. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Town That Dreaded Sundown. All of these movies were based, in part, on actual heinous crimes and infamous killers. I’m sure you could name a few more off the top of your head. Crime Magazine has all of these crimes and more collected neatly in their database; everything from political assassinations to high-profile murder cases to organized crime. There is even a section on justice issues, with articles on corruption, hate crimes, and more. If your literary gem in progress shows society its ugly reflection in the mirror, this is a wonderful place to get the facts on the cases that inspire you.
3. Delirium’s Realm – Self-described as a site “devoted to the study of good and evil in society”, DR offers an extensive database of demon profiles and biblical studies (particularly end times studies). There are also great articles on witches, the nature of evil in works of literature, and philosophical musings on morality and belief. If your work-in-progress deals with the supernatural, this site is worth a look.
4. Writing Realistic Injuries – Writing a fight/death scene and can’t spare the cash for a textbook on medical trauma? This little site gives a good basic overview of traumatic injuries and what they do to the average human body. Baseline vital signs are included, as well as as guide to blood loss. Best of all: it’s free!
5. Dark Markets – Okay, you’ve finished a spooky short story, now what? This a free market resource for horror writers finds publishers, new and old, in their database. They also post open calls for anthology submissions, writing contests, and magazine solicitations for works of horror. This site is easy to navigate, and updated often.
6. Horror Tree – This site is another fine submissions resource for you nightmare storytellers out there. They provide links to publishers with open markets, and their posts have the deadline and payment info right under the title. They post daily updates to their Twitter as well — bonus!
7. The (Submission) Grinder – Ever gotten rejected from a publication you don’t remember sending a submission to? Or maybe you saved a perfect market in your favorites, then forgot about it and missed the window for submitting. Never again! Use The Grinder, a free online submissions tracker. Find optimal markets for your work, and keep track of what you’ve submitted, to whom, and when.
8. Duotrope – Another fine submissions tracker, but this one requires a paid subscription. Its extensive search feature has been highly praised in many writing circles. Like The Grinder, you’ll be able to keep track of your submitted work, and get an idea of when to expect a response.
9. Pinterest – We’re all familiar with the virtual pin board that has become one of the largest social media networks. You can use Pinterest to help your writing, either as a public author platform or just for your own personal benefit. Think of it as an online version of your trusty writer’s notebook: you can pin pictures for inspiration on moodboards dedicated to your genre or topic. You can pin quotes to inspire you when writer’s block strikes. You can pin writing tips and research. And it’s free, perfect for the struggling artist’s budget.
10. Lit Reactor – From the site: “Study what you want, when you want, at your own pace.” This website features successful authors and industry professionals that host classes and workshops to help you hone your craft. If you don’t want to commit to a full course, you can check out essays on writing by authors like Chuck Palahniuk and Jack Ketchum.
So there you have it! 10 resources to give you the scoot you need to get your horror story off the ground and into the nightmares of readers everywhere. What say you? Do you have any good websites to share with your fellow horror writers? Let us know below, and share this post with that friend that is still working on that novel. You know the one.