Thursday, February 28, 2013

Writing Toolbox

One of the great things about writing is that I can do it anywhere, any time and without spending a fortune on tools (unlike my photography habit...) There are, however, some tools I've picked up along the way that make writing easier. For hardware, I love my MacBook for the backlit keyboard, my iPhone because I can do just about anything on it and my Kindle for reading/listening to MSs during editing. For software, I just use Word. But then there's a whole host of other tools I love thanks to the internet.

Evernote: Evernote syncs between my smartphone and my laptop, so I can jot down ideas for new stories, save bits of dialog for current WiPs and edit completed manuscripts. I save a "note" for each chapter of my MS, so I can work from anywhere. It's going to wear out my thumbs, but it lets me get a lot more writing done.

Dropbox: Every writer should have a dropbox. Everyone. It automatically backs up anything in your dropbox folder, so you never lose your work. It even saves versions, so if you do save over something, you can go back and find it. I'm a huge fan of my dictionary and thesaurus, but having them online is a lot simpler. is the best online version I've found.

Beat Sheet: I'm not a plotter by nature, but the beat sheet is a very useful tool for getting a rough idea of your major moments in a story and where they should land. It's also very helpful during revisions. Hit a slow spot? Check to see if you're missing a major beat or need to move one up. Evernote doesn't track word count, so if I'm working toward a specific goal, I use this site on my phone to see how I'm doing. I found this one while looking for the previous site! It gives you the most frequently used words in a block of text. Great for finding those crutch words we all have.

Wordle: A fun visual tool to see what words you're over using. It creates a word jumble from a block of text, so it's like a quick snapshot of your story.

Lulu Titlescorer: Find out the statistical probability of your title becoming a best seller! Based on actually scientific research, it rates your title.

Google: Everyone knows this one, but there are a lot of options that aren't as well known. I search the news section for info beyond the basic wikipedia entry - like how long it takes for a library to reopen after a fire or what happens when lightning strikes a power substation. I also use the photo search a lot. When I find an unsourced photo on Pinterest, I use the image URL to track back to the original source.

So those are a few of my favorite tools. Do you have any you want to share?


  1. I've never heard of Lulu Titlescorer but that's really cool! (Even if it did say my MS only has a 26% chance of becoming a bestseller...)

  2. SO many things I was unaware of. Where have I been? I love the Evernote and must get that. These things will totally make writing easier in my life. You're the best, Thanks! :)