Fiction Writer’s Resources List, 2017

Christian Fiction Writers — A writers association for writers of Christian novels and stories.

Historical Novel Society — A great association of writers of historical fiction. Offers community, networking opportunities (agents, editors, publishers, booksellers), and more.

Novelists, Inc. — A professional writers organization for multi-published book authors.

Mystery Writers Of America — An organization for writers of mystery novels, as well as editors, screenwriters, and other professionals associated with the mystery genre.

Romance Writers Of America — The trade organization for writers of romantic fiction.

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America — SFWA offers many resources for writers of speculative genres. A very vibrant and active writers association.

Sisters In Crime — A writers organization dedicated to the professional advancement of women who write in the crime and mystery genres.

Western Writers Of America — A writers association for authors whose work focuses on the American West.

Welcome To The NEA: Or, How To Get Money For Writing Stuff — One of the most consistently magnanimous supporters of the arts in America is the National Endowment for the Arts, which has numerous—and generous—grants available in all areas of the arts, including literature. Learn more about the NEA.

Women’s Fiction Writers Association — An inclusive organization of writers creating layered stories in which the plot is driven by the main character’s emotional journey.

More Writers Associations: General And Specific Interests

Association of Writers And Writing Programs — For writers and teachers affiliated with college and university writing programs.

Authors Guild — A professional organization for writers, great for keeping up with the changing face of the publishing industry and issues related to copyright protection.

The Catholic Writers Guild — For writers of all kinds who share the Catholic faith.

Cat Writers Association — A community for writers who specialize in cats.

Dog Writers Association of America —A community for writers who specialize in dogs.

Erotica Readers And Writers — An association of writers and readers of erotic writing.

Islamic Writers Alliance — Members include “published and aspiring writers, editors, artists, publishers, journalists, playwrights, Web designers, retailers, and marketing consultants.”

The National Writers Union — A freelance writers union for authors in all genres: This group is a trade organization that advocates for the rights of authors.

International Association For Journal Writing — A writers association that focuses on journaling and creative expression.

International Women’s Writing Guild — An association of women writers developed for networking and offering mutual support.

Military Writers Society Of America — An organization for writers, poets, and artists who focus on military service. Encourages memoir writing, writing as therapy, and education about publishing.

National Association Of Independent Writers And Editors — From the website: This writers association includes “novelists, copywriters and copyeditors, writing coaches, proofreaders, magazine writers, writing teachers, business writers and editors, academic writing evaluators, writers of literature for children, fiction editors and other specialists.”

National Writers Association — A writers association for all levels and genres that offers some professional services, such as contract review and critique.

Pacific Northwest Writers Association — A Northwest writers association “to develop the writing talent through education, accessibility to the publishing industry, and participation in an interactive, vital writer community.”

PEN America Center — An organization with global reach that defends the right to expression through the written word.

Small Publishers, Artists, And Writers Network — (SPAWN) An inclusive writers group for independent-minded writers, publishers, printers, and members of the media.

Society of Children’s Book Writers And Illustrators — An association for writers of books for children.

Texas Association Of Authors — The only organization in Texas whose focus is to promote the authors within the great state of Texas itself. Texas Authors leverages the knowledge and expertise of many different authors to help promote others within the world of reading and writing.

Women’s National Book Association — A national organization of women and men who work with and value books.

Writers Guild Of America — Two writers organizations (east and west) that represent writers in motion pictures, broadcasting, and other media.

Our thanks to for parts of this list.

How to Do Technical Writing for Plebs and Scholars

Technical writing confounds some people. It sounds so forbidding, so difficult, conjuring images of white coats and pocket protectors pregnant with pens, and leaving most people feeling relieved they dodged the bullet and pursued some field of endeavor unknown to technical writing.

However, according to experts in technical writing, “Writing consumes a substantial portion of the working day for almost all college-educated workers,” [emphasis mine] (Harty).

Since we probably can’t escape it, let us learn not to fear it through familiarity. Technical writing is defined as “a form of technical communication used in a variety of technical and occupational fields, such as computer hardware and software, engineering, chemistry, aeronautics and astronautics, robotics, finance, consumer electronics, and biotechnology” (The Free Dictionary).

Fortunately, although technical writing is done in many fields, good technical writing abides by the same rules as do other types of writing: clarity is everything. Good writing is clear and correct, no matter the medium that conveys it.

Keep a copy of the current year’s style manual at all times.

Courses in technical writing, often referred to as Business, Professional, and Technical Writing, are typically offered at the 200, or sophomore, level at most colleges and universities in the US. Students are usually required to have passed both Composition 101 and 102, also known as freshman composition sections one and two, before they are admitted to a technical writing course.

Students enrolled in technical writing courses may expect to study and produce examples of all of the basic types of business and technical correspondence, including newsletters, emails, memorandum, resumes, persuasive letters, internet and social media publications, instruction manuals, and scientific reports. Additional emphasis will be placed on clarity and correctness in the writing.

Few usage errors will be tolerated since students in these classes have already passed composition sections where lower order errors, such as errors in mechanics, punctuation, and usage are mastered.

A section on ethics in communication is customarily taught in technical writing courses. Some universities offer a bachelor’s or master’s degree in technical writing.

Technical writing as a separate sort of writing started around the time of the Enlightenment when human beings found themselves with complicated theories, observations, and experimental results they wanted to communicate clearly to others so that human progress in technical and scientific studies could be shared and research collaborations formed.

By the early 20th century, following the examples and standards set by academia, technical writing was becoming a field in its own right.  Jobs could be found, either as a technical writing specialist in a firm selling writing projects to clients or as writers in in-house writing departments in businesses.

Technical writing jobs still share much in common with academic writing jobs, most specifically in the rigorous adherence to research methodology and in the facts-only, terse, hard hitting styles often found in both types of writing.

With the advent of the internet, jobs in technical and other types of writing have been steadily increasing across the world. Technical writing jobs increased due to the infinite space in the internet which made room for many more words and opportunities and because our electronics, apps, and software continue to grow increasingly complex necessitating instruction manuals. Now may well be the most opportune and exciting time to pursue a technical writing career.

Technical report writing is the primary, sometimes sole, occupation of technical writers. Other types of writing are done by technical writers, but the technical report is among the longest and most complicated tasks required.

Breaking the task into steps will make the writing go more smoothly. At the outset of the writing, get a template for a report or an old report produced at the organization you will be writing the report for. A template or an old report will contain any specific writing specifications and details that are required by that organization but that may not be included in a generic template.  Read the report and get a general feel for how the organization is writing.  You may also read its website or its handbook, any longish pieces of writing it has produced should give you a grasp of what is expected.

Beyond this reading and any additional directions you are given with the project, you may ask yourself these questions which reflect the basic tenets of good technical writing: who is my audience? what is the most important thing I have to tell the audience? and what is the best way of making sure my audience understands all I have to say? When these three questions are clear in the writer’s mind, the writing process can commence with optimism.

The standard format for a technical report may be divided into ten sections. For a complete description of these sections, click here.

  7. DISCUSSION OF RESULTS (all plots, tables, and other pieces of visual dialog included in the report must be discussed in the text)
  10. APPENDICES (if needed)

Works Cited

Anderson, Paul V. “”What Survey Research Tells Us about Writing at Work” Goswarmi, ed. Lee Odell and Dixie. Writing in Nonacademic Settings. New York: Guilford, 1985. 30. Print.

Harty, Kevin J. Strategies for Business and Technical Writing. New York: Pearson, 2010. Print.

External Links/Resources

ACES: American Copy Editing Society. Journalists with swagger. ACES was founded in 1996 and holds an annual conference, as well as several regional conferences. Although they were founded to serve newspaper journalists, their mission includes copy editors of all stripes. So if you work at the management level and edit lots of documents, this is an organization for you to consider.

ACS: American Chemistry Society. ACS represents scientists, professors, and students. They offer an online networking forum as well as regional chapters for discussion and collaboration. They have a weekly magazine as well as a research database, with limited free access to members and a range of insurance plans.

AESE: Association of Earth Science Editors. AESE features an online quarterly publication as well as annual conference.

Center for Plain Language. Connects trainers with companies. Frequent events are held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC as well as online.

CSE: Council of Science Editors. Formerly CBE, Council of Biology Editors. Publishes Scientific Style and Format, now in its 8th ed. Opportunities for online engagement are limited, but they hold an annual conference, have an authoritative library, and offer excellent training resources.

ISMTE: International Society of Managing and Technical Editors. ISMTE is devoted to the world of peer review. Their focus on managing an editorial office and producing a journal in a timely, ethical, and professional fashion could provide insight to managers and editors within the government who are working within a chain of command to publish large documents within a regulatory framework.

NAGC: National Association of Government Communicators. Particularly if you write difficult, sensitive correspondence or offer presentations, you should consider joining NAGC. NAGC was specifically founded for external affairs, so anyone who interacts with the public is eligible to join. The organization will also allow you to network with government officials at the state and municipal level so you can improve collaboration with local partners.

NASW: National Association of Science Writers. Formed in 1934, NASW works with the writers who report science to the media. If you want to hone your layperson writing skills and write more frequently for your hometown newspaper or even a national magazine, this is the organization for you.

PCS: Professional Communications Society. PCS is a division of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the “I triple E.” The Society helps scientists communicate more clearly through collaboration, best practices, and training. They offer a quarterly journal, training podcasts, and an annual conference.

STC: Society for Technical Communication. Founded to serve a) people who write technical documents, b) people who write instructional manuals about how to use technology, and c) people who use technology to publish their work. Most government writers fall into category (a). Among other publications, the Society produces a journal, a magazine, and a blog. And they offer “seminars, online certificate courses, and webinars” for members, some at a substantially reduced price, others for free.