If You Missed Them: Simple Tools for Writers
When I began my journey several months ago embarking on a mission to create the big “N”, I found myself needing resources that I never expected. When you write short stories or just dabble around with different ideas, you may not need complex programs or genuine advice on publishing, editing, or the proper use of adverbs. If you ask around, generally people will tell you that the only thing you need to write is a computer/paper and yourself. Most of the time this statement is true, however if you find yourself in need of other devices such as an outlining tool, a neat place to back up your documents, or an avenue to spark your creativity, then these sites are for you.
What I love about yWriter is the simplicity. This is a straightforward downloadable word processor that will help you outline your novel, break it down into scenes and chapters, and even let an author input the goals, conflicts and outcomes for each chapter. This program also gives you the flexibility to add and delete scenes or just move them around without having to go to an outside source (i.e. MS Word). This program is a time saver and also minimizes the amount of documents you have to open and sift through when you are looking for information. Best of all, yWriter is a free program for anyone to use! I recommend this word processor to all writers novice and seasoned.
If you are like me and you work a regular 9 to 5 and are still trying to find a way to write on your lunch break without carrying around a ton of essentials, then Google Docs is for you. I would have never stumbled upon this application in Google if it wasn’t for a dear friend of mine who saw how much trouble I was having keeping up with my flash drive. Needless to say, I have been using Google Docs every day since that conversation. The best thing about this application is that I can access my novel, chapters, images, research materials, and anything else I have saved from any computer, anywhere, at any time. Google Docs works (I think) just as well as MS Word for the basic typing and editing of your manuscript. The only difference between this and MS Word is the complexity at which you can format your work. However, if you are looking to just sit at work and type for thirty minutes to progress your story, then this is a great application to do just that. Google Docs works best for those days when you forget your flash drive (like I do often) and you still want to write. At the end of each day, I save everything that I worked on into one of my collections (which are essentially like folders) so I will have the information readily available for the next day. In the mornings when I get to work all of my information is there and I can look over what I did, change what I don’t like, and save it to work on again later. It’s that simple. Best of all its free and has 1GB of storage space! Google also offers you the option to buy more storage if more storage is needed.
Have you ever felt like you were beating your head against the wall trying to name your character? Are you a fantasy writer looking for a new and interesting name for your spell, realm, tavern, or group of unknown villains? Or are you just looking for writing prompts that test your ability to step out of your writing “comfort zone”? If you answered yes to any of these, then Seventh Sanctum is for you! As a writer, I enjoy naming my characters something that is a little out of the ordinary. With this site I am able to generate unusual names for creatures stemming from angels and demons, to elves and dwarfs or any other evil little minions I have running around. Not only does this site let you generate names but you can also generate the appearance and characteristics of a character, random plot ideas, and ideas for your settings. I think this site is wonderful for anyone who is looking for something that is not too plain and that has a touch of uniqueness.
These are just a few of the tools that were recommended to me that I find helpful. What are other applications, programs, word processors that you like?