Five Online Tools for Writers I Actually USE!
There's no shortage of online apps and tools geared toward writers, but here are five that I rely on. I've used ALL of these, and most of them I use on a regular basis. If they're not in your writer's toolbox already, you'll definitely want to check them out!
Application: Research for comp titles
Where to find it: www.arbookfind.com
This is a great search tool to research the books you may want to comp to in a query. Simply go to AR BookFinder and type in the title you want to research. Not only will the website give you a short synopsis of the book, but it lists topics and subtopics, and (drum roll, please........) WORD COUNT! I don't know about you, but I find it so helpful to know the word counts for the published books in my genre/category!
Where to find it: editminion.com
EditMinion is a a web-based copy editor, brought to you by the same people who created Write or Die. Simply cut and paste your chapter into the editing box and EditMinion analyzes the text by highlighting weaknesses such as adverbs, clichés, overused words, passive voice, and homonyms. See below for an example of what the the analysis looks like using the first few paragraphs of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:
Application: Fun and editing
Where to find it: www.wordle.net
This site is just plain fun! It creates personalized word clouds, which is a neat way to look at your story/chapter/whatever. But did you know you can also use word clouds to identify overused words? Try it out at Wordle, and see which words show up in your cloud! The larger the word, the more prominent it is in your text.
Where to find it: trello.com
Trello is a project management site (and mobile app) where you can create separate boards for each of your WIPs and then populate them with lists and cards, much like a digital cork board. I really like it for the early stages of brainstorming. I'll create a board for a new story idea and then populate my lists with categories like: characters, scenes, research... I try to keep the description on the face of the card pretty brief and then I use the inside of the card to keep track of more detailed notes (dialogue, scene info, etc.). And I love that you can move the cards around, so if you type in a bunch of random scene ideas you can re-order them once your outline starts coming together.
Where to find it: www.voicedream.com
Cost: $9.99 - $14.99
Originally designed for people with reading disabilities, Voice Dream is a text-to-speech mobile app that reads your words for you. It connects super easy to Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.
Hearing things out loud is an incredible way to catch typos, and so I use this as part of my editing routine for all my drafts! Not only has Voice Dream saved my butt from typos approximately 47,000 times, hearing the written dialogue being spoken (by a voice that isn't mine) tends to highlight things like repeated and awkward phrasing.
This is the only program on my list that isn't free, but it was worth every penny of the $10 purchase price (which, if you think about it, is about the same as it would cost to buy a book on writing craft), and I use it ALL THE TIME!
So what do you think? Do you use any of these apps/sites? Are you excited to try them out? Tell me what's in your writer's toolbox. Do you have any recommendations you can't live without? Leave a comment below. :)