Poster My Wall
If I had to give up all the other writing tools, I think I would still keep Poster My Wall. This website lets you create posters with all kinds of special effects for free. The free version has a small watermark in the corner; but I've used it for countless War of Loyalties desktop backgrounds, as well as blog illustrations and even a birthday card. There is nothing more fun than using an easy and inspirational poster-making tool so you have something nice to look at while you're writing.
|I know. It would look better with the character picture.|
|War of Loyalties|
|Hope That You Remember Me|
Pinterest is awesome. One of these days I plan to create a public War of Loyalties board. For now, I tuck away quotes and character pictures and objects that the characters love onto secret Pinterest stashes.
But, in the meantime, you can check out my Micheal board, an Irish novella which I have completed, (story snippets/characters are at the bottom of the board.) And my Hope that You Remember Me board, a Scottish novella which I plan to write sometime this spring.
Whenever I feel dry of creativity, or rather lonely in the midst of fictional characters, I find something to refresh my heart and pin it to a Pinterest board. Pinterest is where you can keep a stash of writing manna that catches your fancy, and better yet, caption it so you remember why you pinned it in the first place. I have also done a lot of historical research on Pinterest: clothing, medicines, houses, pictures of the Spanish flu victims, pictures of Folkestone. It's incredible for finding and cataloging the historical tidbits you need to remember.
I discovered Spotify thanks to a casual mention by Suzannah Rowntree, and oh, boy, has it been a blessing. I don't like listening to music that's been added to YouTube without the artist's permission. Spotify seems to be fairly reputable, and it has been a relief to find a place where I can make music playlists and let them inspire my work. You get an odd bad/adult ad just like YouTube, so if you're young, please beware and ask your parents first. I generally mute the ads. But if you're looking for a good music resource, this one works. I have everything from Andrew Peterson to CCM to instrumental hymns to Celtic galore. Some days I listen to a character song on repeat, and other times I listen to music that lets my brain process what's going on in life so I can concentrate on my writing instead.
I've used everything to write my book from pen and ink to Microsoft Word. Over the Christmas holidays I switched to Scrivener, and it is my new Happy Place. Scrivener allows you to organize your research, writing, and character pictures into one program. You can do split-screen so you can write and look at a character picture at the same time. You can label each scene as 'done' or 'still in process'. And the word processing portion is just like Word, so you don't have to learn a new layout. It even imports all your computer fonts into the program. You can also use its name generator, thesaurus, and 'find and replace'. It has a handy 'snapshot' feature, which will take a snapshot of your current draft so you can restore your text back if you don't like your later edits. Sold on it yet? It's only $40, and if you win NaNo, you'll get a discount coupon.
I prefer my writing to be clean, crisp, and understated. Whenever I have gone off the emotional diving board in story form, I have deeply regretted it for months afterwards. This is where Hemingway Editor comes in. Hemingway highlights all your adverbs, words that can be simplified, and sentences that are very hard to read. It doesn't force you to change them, but it finds them for you so you can weigh whether they add or subtract from your story. So much easier than searching for passive voice and adverbs in Microsoft Word, and it really helps you trim the unnecessary word fat. I got the desktop app for $5, but you can also edit your work right on the internet website, if you prefer, though you'll have to copy it to Word when you're done to save it.
|from Martin Chuzzlewit, by Charles Dickens|
I recommend this site with caution. Please do not go on it without realizing that there are some pictures that aren't good. And I mean, not good. But if you know how to search right, then you'll do ok. Use the same caution you would use searching for pictures on Pinterest. Teacup is fine. Blonde girl is not. In fact, searching for any kind of people isn't the best idea, though I still do it on occasion.
I use this site for my blog photos now, and will continue to do so. The pictures are high-quality, completely royalty-free, and require no attribution. I want this blog to be known as a royalty free blog. For the most part it is; I have to go back and fix a few pictures, but I have that on the list to do soon. Pixabay photos are beautiful, inspirational, and there are plenty of good ones to choose from. Like I said, use caution, but know that this resource is out there. It's also connected with the Poster My Wall website, which is quite handy.
These are the tools I have used on a consistent basis for the last couple of years. They have suited my needs, my budget, and my writing styles. I love them all, and I hope you find them useful as well! :)
What are your favorite writing tools?
P.S. Oh, yes. And I also use the sticky notes program to keep track of plot ideas. But that system needs a little ironing out: