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Guest Post: Top 5 Nonfiction Resources for Beginners

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Starting as a Nonfiction Writer

Nonfiction is an honest, helpful, and emotional genre that tells the true stories of people’s lives. It’s personal and poetic. When you’re starting out as a nonfiction writer, you may wonder what makes it that much different from fiction. Or is it just the same with true facts? How do you craft a great biography versus a memoir? What types of editing programs can help you if you want to self-publish your material? There are tons of online and print materials but below is a list of the best resources for beginners just starting to collect materials.

Top 5 Resources

·      Grammarly: Grammarly covers every base you need as a beginning writer. They have teaching tools, a grammar check, a proofreader, plagiarism checker, and the tool goes so far as to learn your style for a more customized experience. When you’re first starting out, you may not be the best when it comes to grammar and punctuation. Grammarly can help you learn when to use an em dash and an en dash. It can help you with figuring out which parts of your style fit together and which clash. The tool learns how you write to teach you how to avoid errors. Good writing starts with good mechanics. If you can utilize Grammarly to build up a great writer’s framework, that will show in the quality of your work down the road.

·      On Writing Well by William Zinsser: This book changed the way I thought about nonfiction writing and helped me improve my techniques immensely. Not only does it cover the basics, but it dives deeper into diction, syntax, and writing as a craft. It inspires you to keep writing as well as improve your skills. For a beginner, this book will help you pick yourself back up after a rejection but also put you on the right path to growing as a writer. Pick it up the next time you go to the bookstore and you won’t regret it.

·      Writer’s Market: This is always quoted to be the writer’s bible. It has every agent, publisher, and idea you need to help you be a successful writer. Looking for an outlet for your nonfiction biography about Andrew Jackson, you can find a publisher and agent within Writer’s Market. They even provide a payment chart to help you figure out how much you should pay for editing services. Writer’s Market also includes several articles in the front of the publication to help you realize your writing goals. Whether you want to write articles, blog posts, or novels on your chosen topic, Writer’s Market can give you realistic and thorough advice while connecting you to the resources you need.

·      On Writing by Stephen King: I love this book and recommend it to all of my writer friends. It’s funny, interesting, and filled with insights that many beginning writers need to know. It’s half biography and half lessons. You get to see how Stephen King tells his own story of becoming a writer, but also get his advice on how to become a better one. Although he is a fiction writer, the advice can apply to both nonfiction and fiction writers. Understanding and applying his lessons honed my skills as a writer and definitely improved my form.

·      The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White: This is an essential book for anyone trying to become a writer. It teaches you how to write correctly and understand the mechanics of writing. Just like building a house, writing starts with framework. As a beginner, making it your mission to learn grammar, punctuation, and style will not only help you write better but will make editing easier.

Each resource fulfills essential knowledge that a beginning writer needs while pushing and motivating a writer to become better. These resources help you from foundation to cleanup and any beginner who has the desire to become a writer should certainly invest the time and money in them.

By Nikolas Baron

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Bio:

Nikolas discovered his love for the written word in Elementary School, where he started spending his afternoons sprawled across the living room floor devouring one Marc Brown children’s novel after the other and writing short stories about daring pirate adventures. After acquiring some experience in various marketing, business development, and hiring roles at internet startups in a few different countries, he decided to re-unite his professional life with his childhood passions by joining Grammarly’s marketing team in San Francisco. He has the pleasure of being tasked with talking to writers, bloggers, teachers, and others about how they use Grammarly’s online proofreading application to improve their writing. His free time is spent biking, traveling, and reading.

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