Since other people occasionally ask me how I write, I thought it would be helpful for me to include a page of stuff I find really useful when I’m writing. The links are in the titles, so you can easily check out their websites for yourself. I’m not associated with any of them, just wanted to share.
The Writer’s Journey
This is the only writing textbook from university that I actually kept when I left. It’s a really useful guide to plot and the roles of different archetypal characters within your narrative. It’s helped me iron out so many plot problems that it’s definitely worth what I paid for it. And if you stick it in your bibliography in any writing course, you’ll probably gain a few extra points.
The Emotion Thesaurus
This book is great when you find yourself using the same few words or phrases to describe characters’ emotions. These two have also written books on positive and negative character traits and they have an awesome website that includes all kinds of writers’ resources. In fact, it is the authors of this book who have given me some of the best free online resources.
How NOT To Write A Novel
I love this book. Not only is it helpful, but it’s funny too – which always helps when you’re as stressed as a stressy thing. It tells you what you should avoid doing – almost using reverse psychology, since it is written as if it is actually helping you to write the worst, most unpublishable crap in the world. Here’s what you do if you never want to get published. It’s brilliant. It also has examples of most of the things it is telling you to avoid, in some of the hammiest prose you’ll ever read. Seriously. Check this one out.
The best timeline tool I have found so far and at a price I didn’t mind paying at all. Free download trial version.
Includes a free trial. With this software, you can keep notes, make pinboards, timelines, scrapbooks, generate writing prompts or character names, ban yourself from the internet… It has many uses and it is reasonably priced too. If you only want one piece of writing software, make it this one.
Okay, so this one is a little expensive (for me, anyway) so I haven’t actually bought it yet (still using the free trial). However, it is a useful editing tool, in that it points out inconsistent quote marks and hyphens/dashes. It also flags repeated words and phrases, potential clichés, profanity and speech tags, making this stuff easier to find and change. It’s more useful for completed work that’s being edited than work in progress. However, at £34 ($57USD), it’s a bit out of my price range. Also, I’m not entirely sure it’s quite worth the hefty price tag when a good editor can do the same using CRTL+F in Word…
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