Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Writing Wednesdays - Websites and Programs

This week, I thought we could take a look at programs and websites designed to help you write.  I have used all of these at one time or another, to varying extents, and hopefully at least one of them will be of use to you!

Write or Die - possibly the most famous writing tool, this website requires you to set a word goal and a number of minutes, and then start typing.  If you don't type fast enough, you will be punished with scary sounds, and even (if you select Kamikaze mode) the words starting to delete themselves.  There is also a reward mode, which gives you custom images as a reward, and you can also create a writing environment in stimulus mode.  Not all of this is available for free, but the simple fear of your words unwriting themselves is often motivation enough to keep typing.

Written Kitten - a personal favorite of mine, this free website works like the reward function on write or die.  You can set it so that for every 100, 200, 500 or 1000 words you write, you are rewarded with an adorable picture of a kitten. (Don't worry, there's a puppy version too!)  I love this website, but a note of caution - it can somewhat throw off a violent or ...physical(!) scene if you get a particularly sweet picture of a kitten.

750 Words - the idea is simple - you commit to writing 750 words a day, and are rewarded with badges for managing it.  This now requires a subscription, whilst previously it was free - however the first thirty days trial is still free, so you could give it a go.  I find this useful for committing to a set number of words, but I find my writing flags once I reach the magic 750.

Scrivener - A program for writing and arranging scenes, Scrivener sells itself as a useful tool for composing and structuring documents.  The idea is that you both plot and write in one program.  Whilst I don't doubt that it is useful for some people, I find myself wishing that I could layer plot lines more easily.  Another program with a thirty day trial (if you do Nanowrimo, and win, you often get a 50% off code!)

Writers Cafe - I am fond of this (although I'm still on the limited trial version) because it lets you view multiple plot lines at once.  I use it just for planning though - I'm quite happy writing in word.

X Mind - This is a free and very useful mind mapping program.

Habit RPG - I use this for general organisation, as it lets you set goals, and rewards you for achieving them.  It has functions for things that need to be done (projects to finish), daily goals (write x words per day) and habits (write an extra x words per day).  This really has helped me a lot, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.  Plus it's got a great community, quests, guilds, challenges... it's well worth a look.

Nanowrimo is a huge part of my writing life, and a fantastic writing community.  I will be saying more about it in a couple of weeks, but let me start off by saying that at it's most basic, it is challenging you to write a novel in a month.  Scary, but surprisingly achievable!

I'll finish with saying congratulations to my friend LJHamlin, for getting her first short story "Nurse Levi" published today!

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