Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Writing Resources, for Good and for Evil

I’ve recently been alerted to two sites that are useful to writers, one of which you will use for good, and the other of which has a great deal of potential to be used for evil if you’re an obsessive type (like me).

First, the good:

If you’re like me, you find it difficult to pay attention to writing contest deadlines and keep your contest submissions organized so that you aren’t racing off to the post office at weird hours to get a thick envelope postmarked on deadline day. Here’s our solution: Check out this fabulous site, accurately called “Fiction Contests and Other Opportunities: A List of Well-Paying ($500 or Above with a Few Exceptions because of Prestige or Quality) Contests, Residencies and Fellowships.”

Mark, the blogger in charge, notes his reasons for starting the site: “I spend a lot of time each year compiling, then misplacing, information on the best-paying, most prestigious or otherwise interesting opportunities for the fiction writer. I resolved to keep a set of constantly updated links in one place. I've been storing it in a neverending gmail conversation with myself. I thought a few writers may appreciate it.”

I definitely appreciate that here, contests are nicely organized by monthly deadlines. Thank you, Mark!

And now for the evil—though I guess it’s evil only for obsessive types like me. But did you know there’s a site where you can see how many libraries in a given state—or country—have copies of a book? This is moderately interesting if you’re looking up, say, The Great Gatsby (99 libraries in Virginia have copies), but a bit obsessive and frightening and time-consuming and totally addictive if you’re using the site to look up, say, your OWN book (4 copies of Pears on a Willow Tree in Wyoming). Worse than amazon numbers.


The friend who knew of this site didn’t want to tell me about it for my own good. I had to beg her to get the link. Now that I’m hooked, I need to pass it on:

But don’t say you weren’t warned.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.