10 Helpful websites with tips for the creative writer.

Ever get stuck for that perfect word? Your character's facial expression or description eludes you? Do you spend hours on the internet combing for resources on grammar, punctuation or descriptive phrases? Here are ten websites I frequently find helpful to solve these issues.

Many writing coaches tell you to go ahead and write crap first just to get the story down, then go back and fix it later. You’ll be more productive, they say. You can finish writing a novel in a month, they say.

Well, if you can do that, more power to you. But I’m the type of person who needs to write it right and write it now. If I’m not happy with a word, I thesaurus the hell out of it before going on. My last paragraph sucked? I go over it and tweak it until it resonates with me and then move on to the next one. I can think of the word for the facial expression I want to use, but can’t describe it? I google images of the expression and describe what I see. Maybe it’s obsessive or even counter-productive, but I can’t come up with another line, until the last one is correct.

So, whether you’re like me, or you finished the novel you started yesterday and are now editing, here are 10 websites I go to regularly for help. Some are better than others, depending on what you need, but all are extremely helpful.

1. This is from the Writers Helping Writers website. Spend a lot of time here. It’s a treasure trove of informative and helpful lists and articles.


2. One hundred words to describe facial expressions: These are more of a “telling” nature than “showing,” but can come in handy in a pinch.


3. A gazillion adjectives and numerous verbs to use with the word “smile.” I’d skip the adverb section.


4. Is anyone out there an expert on grammar?


5. This is a good website, but you have to be careful. Not everything on this website is free.


6. I had no idea there were so many ways to describe eye color. This very descriptive list is an awesome resource to describes, eyes, hair and hair styles for both men and women.


7. Another excellent hair reference site:


8. From the same website as number 6 – alternate verbs for “said”


9. Confused on how to punctuate your dialogue? This may be helpful:


10. Dialogue and action beats. How and where to use them. There are several other helpful articles on this site as well.


Have any others you'd like to add to the list? Share them below.