Giddy Up! Roundup Time, Ya'll!
I came across this blog, Big Glass Cases, written by an agent that works out of one of the big firms in New York, and I tooled around on the site for awhile, as I thought Ms. LaPolla had some great advice about writing and the industry (among them the need to take a red pen to the end of the seventh Harry Potter book; my preferred tool would be a chainsaw).
A post I really recommend reading is Band-Aids, as she talks a little about the querying process and a little about the writing process. Some writers, editors, and agents are very stark about everything: you need to rewrite, you need to be better at everything, you need to do this and that and this and and this. After awhile of reading those, you begin to feel like the scum of the writing world and HOW DARE YOU take a pen to a piece of paper for anything but your grocery list? But Sarah LaPolla just has some friendly, helpful tips that don't threaten to overwhelm and instead are just what they need to be: good, useful tips.
Some other fun links:
Empathy and Writing — This is something I feel a lot of writers need to learn.
Worldbuilding — Not Just For Science-Fiction! — Yay! One of my favorite topics revisited again and again and again. :)
Wikitravel — My biggest friend whilst writing Part I of What Fates Impose.
Write or Die — For those people who need a little extra motivating to get those initial words on the page. This is an online writing app that you can set with a timer and a word count goal. If you're idle for too long, it can gently buzz at you or start deleting words, making a very you vs. yourself experience. Not for everyone (I, for example, only use this when I know I'm going to rewrite a scene later, and need the bare bones on the page), but a good and fun experience to try.
A list of the weapons used on Chuck —I've got this bookmarked, and with good reason. My knowledge of weapons is usually, "That's a revolver. That's a pistol," even though I've had the opportunity to shoot a handgun, an assault rifle, and a machine gun on my own (I even hit the silhouette once!), just to experience the feeling of firing a weapon.
As far as weapons go, it's about knowing what to say and which jargon to use. In the beginning of 34, I used this sentence: "Casey and Jill both looked up as Sarah, juggling a shotgun, an FGM-172 SRAW, and Chuck, pushed the door to the motel room open" because I was going for the humor of three very mismatched things, but nine times out of ten, I'd just call it a missile launcher or a rocket launcher or "Beckman's favorite toy in Seduction Impossible." Readers don't always need to be bogged down by the technical details. So, you know, just because you know its full designation, sometimes a gun is just a gun, folks.