I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Monday, July 18, 2011

Do you use the Writer's Knowledge Base?

Do all of you know about the awesome Writer's Knowledge Base that Elizabeth Spann Craig has put together? In her words, the WKB is "a free resource for writers to find the information they need for their particular stage of the writing journey…with 9000 links to search (and more added every day.)"

Jami Gold recently interviewed Elizabeth here, and it's fascinating to read about the process Elizabeth went through to (1) realize that we as writers need a dedicated knowledge base, and (2) put one together. For free, and in her own time too!!! As she says:
"[W]riters need different information at different times.  When they’re writing a first draft, they need plotting help.  When writers hit a wall, they want inspirational posts. When they revise, they’d like editing tips.  When they’re querying…well, you get the idea.

These writing links needed to be searchable.  It was crazy for writers to have a thousand bookmarked sites—and bookmarks for information that they don’t currently even need."
I don't know about you, but just as Elizabeth says in that interview, I've collected hundreds of bookmarked posts. So I was pretty chuffed (do you use that word in the US?) to find this amazing resource, and I thought I would share it with you. Happy researching!

How about you: Do you know about the Writer's Knowledge Base? Do you use it? Are there any other writing resources you know of/use regularly that you'd like to share with us all?


Alleged Author said...

Great resource!

No, we don't say "chuffed" too often in the US unless we've seen it somewhere and the dang word leaks into our subconscious. :P

Rachele Alpine said...

Sounds helpful! Thanks for sharing!

Jen said...

I had not heard of it, but I will certainly use it now. Thanks so much for sharing this link!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I've never in my life used the word "chuff"

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I sure do! I have the banner in my sidebar, too.

Heidi W said...

Great link! I've never heard of it.

erica and christy said...

I've used it quite a bit and it is really great of her to put it together!

But I've never before heard the word "chuffed" and only guessed it's meaning from context.

E. M. Prokop said...

Thanks for this Rach! Very helpful...btw, we don't say 'chuffed' in Canada either...I've seen it used on this site before by UK bloggers, and I wasn't sure if it was a good feeling or a bad one....it's good right?
Thanks again and have a great week!

Natasha Hanova said...

Haven't heard of this. Will need to look into it.

Mary Mary said...

I hadn't heard of this site, so thanks for letting us know. I'd have to say I'm a Dictionary.com junkie because I'm always looking to see if a term was used during the era I'm using it.

Jemi Fraser said...

It's a really terrific site - so nice of them to do it!

We use chuffed too - but my folks were both born in Scotland. Most of my friends/family look at me funny when I say it :)

Cally Jackson said...

I haven't come across this resource before but it looks AWESOME. Thanks for sharing it!

And I use chuffed quite frequently, but as a fellow Aussie, that's probably not surprising! ;-)

Mike Fleming said...

Thanks for spreading the word about the WKB! I'm glad that folks find it useful.

If anyone has any ideas for how to make it better just let me know.

Thanks again.

Rachael Harrie said...

Hey guys, thanks for all your comments :)

No problems at all Mike, it's an awesome database! I know you have "characters", "settings", "plot", "getting published", "random", and "popular" links, but have you thought about having a more extended "browse" function, with links we can click on to find articles about different topics? Eg, querying, agents, revising, "show not tell", critiquing, etc etc (in addition to the ones you already have)?

Also, is there any way we can narrow down search parameters to help us find particular posts (eg by year written, "search within search results", etc)?



Mike Fleming said...


Thanks for ideas.

The Characters, Settings, etc., links are just examples. You can search for anything in the textbox just like Google.

That said, I have been contemplating ways of categorizing what's in the database such that I could present a list of writing concepts and their associated links. Hmm...

Searching for posts within a year is do-able -- I'll make a note of that.

Search within search can be done, I think, by adding more search terms to your query. Is that what you mean?

Rachael Harrie said...

Hey Mike, no probs :)

Yeah, categorizing what's in the database is what I meant when I was talking about the "browse" function (maybe I used the wrong term, if so my apologies :)). That would be very handy - if we're querying, for example, we could click on the "querying" link and see what posts you have on querying, then choose the one we most want to read (whereas now we just get, say, 1,000+ results for querying, and we have to scroll through and search each one manually). I guess the categorizing would work best if it's used with sub-categories as well, eg query letters.

Re search within search, it wasn't exactly what I meant, though you're right, adding extra search terms at the start would do the same job :)

LOL, just had another idea - is there a way readers can click on a "recommended" button or something, which would mean that post would pop up to the top of the pile when next someone did a search for posts on that subject?

You're doing a great job with this!



Ishta Mercurio said...

Neat! I'd never heard of this, but I'm glad you posted about it. It sounds really useful, so I'll be sure to check it out.

We don't use "chuffed," but a lot of us know what it means. ;-)

Adina West said...

Hadn't used this site before but will definitely check it out.

And my recommendation of a resource:


It's a free online writer's guide 145 pages long, particularly suitable for genre fiction writers. And there are versions tailored to UK, US and Australian writers.

Hope others find this as useful as I did!

Mike Fleming said...

Rach, you're on a roll! Keep 'em coming!

When you do a search the results are ranked starting with the best match. For example, if you search for "character" your results will be all over the place on the subject of characters. If you wanted to know more about Harry Potter characterization you might search for "character Harry Potter." Then, the results start to take a laser focus.

Does that help? Sorry if I'm being dense about what you're asking.

Are you familiar with word clouds that show you the relative frequency of words within a blog post? Seems like that would speak to the categorization aspect and maybe help with the "search within search" idea.

Recommendations. Yes, I've been wanting to do something like that. I was thinking of a Five Stars kinda thing. That or a single "Like" button would cause the recommendations to be fed into the scoring algorithm and I could show that info in the list.

Clara Gillow Clark said...

You're right on target with the kinds of resources we want depending on what stage of writing we're in. I often put blinders on with my reading, too. E.g. If I'm writing in the first person or writing historical fiction, then I look for those kinds of books.

Gina Penn said...

Thanks for the great info! I really look forward to your blogs.

Stacy S. Jensen said...

I use it and follow her helpful tweet, too. I also use some sources like http://www.aztekera.com/tools/tobeverbs.php to catch my "to be" verbs when writing. Another go to blog is Writer Unboxed.com. They have useful posts from multiple book and debut authors.

Carol Riggs said...

I think I heard of the site when she first started gathering info, but I will definitely have to hop over there and bookmark it now!! Thanks for the reminder.

Callie Leuck said...

Have not checked it out yet, but will do so posthaste! I've been hearing murmuring about it, so perhaps it'd be worthwhile to go crazy over there.

Some people in the US say "chuffed" but only if we often read non-US writers and/or wish we weren't American.

Rachael Harrie said...

Hey Mike,

Yep, I see what you're saying about the laser focus.

Ooh, love the idea of word clouds, though I'm not sure how you'd apply that idea practically (I'll leave that to you computer experts :D)

Yeah, 5 star recommendations or Likes would work (Obviously you'd get better rankings from the 5 star system I suspect).

Sounds like there's some exciting things happening with it!



Anonymous said...

I just found this website a few weeks ago, and I was super syced! Especially since my goal for the month was to learn about writing. It's like Google for writers. Love it! :D

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Rach,

I'm SO glad I popped in today. This is AWESOME. WOOT! ONe site with thousands of links at our fingertips.

THANK YOU, ELIZABETH.... and thanks to you Rach for sharing it with us.

Misha Gerrick said...

Ooh ooh! Awesome! Thanks so much for sharing this link. I'm heading over right now. Incidentally, we use "chuffed" in South Africa too. :-)

Elizabeth Twist said...

This looks like an amazing resource. I hadn't come across it before. Thank you!

I have to counter Eve up there who says Canadians don't say "chuffed." I do. But in trying to think through where I picked it up, I think it was in university. I had a school chum who said it all the time. She was Canadian, but had spent time in South Africa. Maybe she picked it up from Misha?

It's the kind of word that, in context, people know what you mean. I think we should all use it wantonly.

Short Poems said...

Hello Rach

Thanks for ideas.
Love your blog, great work!

Christa Desir said...

I totally didn't know about it, but am so delighted by it. I've been saying for the past six months....if only I knew this or this was all in one place. So valuable.

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