Sunday, November 8, 2009

Tools for Writers

As an aspiring writer, I have, over the years, collected several books on writing and a fair amount of links to writing tools that are available on the Internet. Since most of my readers are writers, I thought it might be helpful to share some of my finds.

If you have stumbled upon some other useful tools in your travels, please feel free to share your finds in the comments below. Beware, however, I will be filtering spam posts. If I determine that your link isn't a helpful one or if it is blatantly self-promoting in nature -- it's getting the kibosh! That's a promise. (You aren't using this blog to sell your eBook or software.)

yWriter5 is a free software program written by novelist Simon Haynes. It is designed to help organize your writing down to chapters, scenes, and characters. This software won't help write your novel for you, but it can help you keep track of what you've written. From what I've learned from playing around with it, you can even find out how much "page time" your characters have. Looking for a minor character to some into the story later on and looking for one that's been around "just enough" for the reader to be familiar with? Or thinking about deleting a character, but unsure of just how much you've written them into the story? This program will tell you how involved they are with the writing you've done so far, nothing like making an educated decision! Of course, you've got to use it properly in order to get the added benefits, and some would argue that it's more work to add on top of writing. I liked what I saw when I was playing with it though, and at the low, low price of free... well, it's worth taking a gander at.

Analyzer is a neat little utility that will scan through your document and scan for word occurrences. This is particularly helpful if you find that your writing often includes an abundance of a particular word. One that I am plagued with is "that" and, of course, "as". This is a beta program and I haven't really tested it out yet. Along those same lines, there's also a series of Utilities for Microsoft Word by Robert J. Carlson available for free as well.

If you don't have an office software suite such as Microsoft Office, you can always get OpenOffice for free. It includes a word processor, spreadsheet, drawing program, database, HTML editor, multimedia presentation program, and much more. I do use this on my laptops and I have had no problem whatsoever. This is a great suite for writers with a budget or not.

And last on my list, The Literary Machine - a nifty software program that helps generate writing prompts based on snippets you enter in to the database. Have a bunch of seemingly random thoughts swimming around in that creative mind of yours? Enter them in and allow the program to mix and match to create entirely new prompts from the items you enter. It goes without saying, the more you enter in, the more possibilities. In other words, this program is another way to help "connect the dots".
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