"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Technology for the Writer

Tech­nol­ogy can be a blessing and a curse. Some software applications seem to be designed to make our heads hurt. Thankfully, there are some to make life easier for a writer, student or teacher. This technology can aid in research, help cre­ate, and pub­lish poems, plays, nov­els, essays, and short sto­ries. The internet is full of free writ­ing soft­ware, brain­storm­ing tools, out­lin­ing appli­ca­tions, gram­mar guides, and other hi-tech tools designed to make writ­ing ses­sions less com­pli­cated and more pro­duc­tive. Below is a list of 20 such tech tools and resources.
  1. Book Mar­ket­ing Net­work- An online social net­work for authors and publishers.
  2. Book­sie — Writ­ers can use Book­sie to cre­ate and pub­lish nov­els, sto­ries, poems, and other writ­ten works. It allows users to track read­ers, receive and respond to com­ments, build an online pro­file, and com­mu­ni­cate with a fan base.
  3. Duotrope – Free resource site listing more than 3000 fiction and poetry publications. Writers can find a home for their work using a search by genre, style, length, payscale and even response time.
  4. Ever­note- This free note tak­ing sys­tem helps writ­ers out­line, write char­ac­ter notes, or quickly jot down ideas for later use. Ever­note can also be used to clip and share notes on the web.
  5. Glypho- A prac­tice site for writ­ers. Users can jot down a story con­cept, get plot and char­ac­ter ideas from peo­ple around the world, and work with others to cre­ate a col­lab­o­ra­tive novel.
  6. Gram­mar Girl- This pod­cast is per­fect for writ­ers who want to improve their gram­mar and sen­tence struc­ture. Each pod­cast episode fea­tures a sim­ple trick for remem­ber­ing the most pesky gram­mar rules.
  7. Loos­eS­titch- A place for writ­ers to brain­storm, cre­ate out­lines, fine tune ideas, and get feed­back from edi­tors or friends.
  8. Merriam-Webster — America’s fore­most pub­lisher of language-related ref­er­ence mate­ri­als pro­vides one of the best dic­tio­nar­ies and the­sauruses avail­able for free on the web. The site also has other resources writ­ers will enjoy, such as a vocabulary-building word of the day and free word games.
  9. Mind­meis­ter- A free mind map­ping tool that can be used to brain­storm and cre­ate visual outlines.
  10. My Writ­ers Cir­cle- An online forum for writ­ers offering a place to chat, ask ques­tions, find jobs, get cri­tiques, and more.
  11. OpenOf­fice- An open source suite of office tools for writ­ers including a word proces­sor, spread­sheet maker, data­base cre­ator, and more.
  12. Preditors & Editors – Free online guide of publishers. An alphabetical listing of companies that also provides addresses as well as comments on the reliability of the company.
  13. Rough­Draft- A free word proces­sor for writ­ers. Fea­tures include a built-in gram­mar checker, spellchecker, instant back-up, a sim­ple print sys­tem, import­ing capa­bil­i­ties, short­cut keys, a com­pre­hen­sive help sys­tem, and spe­cial modes for plays, screen­plays, nov­els, arti­cles, and short stories.
  14. The Imag­i­na­tion Prompt Gen­er­a­tor- This free gen­er­a­tor for writ­ers prompts the imag­i­na­tion with a start­ing sen­tence, phrase, or idea.
  15. The Story Starter- Features more than 300 mil­lion “first sen­tences,” to help writ­ers get new ideas and writ­ing prompts.
  16. Urban Dic­tio­nary- Unlike most dic­tio­nar­ies, the Urban Dic­tio­nary focuses on defin­ing slang words and terms.
  17. Visu­Words- A graph­i­cal dictionary/thesaurus for peo­ple who love words. It defines words and dis­plays asso­ci­ated words and concepts.
  18. Write­board- A web-based white­board that aids col­lab­o­ra­tive writ­ers. It can be used to col­lab­o­rate on copy and com­pare dif­fer­ent ver­sions of a document.
  19. Writer’s FM- Cre­ated specif­i­cally for writ­ers, this online radio sta­tion broad­casts music, author inter­views, and tips to get published.
  20. yWriter- Designed specif­i­cally for novel writ­ers, this writ­ing soft­ware splits your man­u­script into scenes and chap­ters and has an easy-to-use inter­face. Free to download.
Do you have a favorite technology site or aid not listed?


Tracy said...

WOW!! Sylvia, what a cool resource! Thanks for providing all of these and now I'll make the time to go through the ones I see fit.
I love the graphic of the writer knocking his head against the computer; couldn't that be any number of us at one point or another throughout our day?

Gayle Sliva said...

Sylvia - Thanks so much for this list. I've bookmarked all of these items for future reference.

The Blogger Formerly Known As said...

Very useful list, thanks for taking the trouble to let us know.

LKHarris-Kolp said...

21. Sylvia Ney's "Writing in Wonderland" blog...

Thanks for all the useful information you share with us, Sylvia!


J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks for this.

Kari Marie said...

I use ywriter and love it.

Angela Felsted said...

What a great list. Gotta love the urban dictionary, I just can't read it when my kids are in the same room. :)

L.A. Colvin said...

I've heard a lot of good stuff about Duotrope and I use ywriter and find it very good.