Your Personal Toolbox
In case you’re in need of a serious kick in the pants, here are some programs, books, and software that can help you out in finishing your novel. Whatever your problem, there’s a fix!
New! Plottr: Plottr is a simple and intuitive outlining software for novelists. It allows you to choose from a selection of popular templates to give your book a stronger structure before you start writing.
Fictionary: Fictionary is an online developmental editing program. Here you can take a large-scale look at your novel and work on your pacing and scene construction.
Autocrit: Autocrit is an online editing program that compares your writing with your chosen genre standards. Upload your novel and watch the editing magic begin--just beware, there might be an overwhelming number of improvements to make.
Draft 2 Digital: When I’m formatting, laying out, or publishing an ebook, this is my one-stop miracle shop. D2D walks you through the difficult and obscure parts of creating and publishing ebook, as well as providing a storefront where you can direct all your readers to their preferred shops online!
Your First 10,000 Readers: This system run by Nick Stephenson is incredibly helpful for mastering the post-publishing arena with your books. Check it out if you want some practical tips.
Grammarly: I’ve been using Grammarly for a few years now, so I think it’s graduated to being an official “resource” for me. Access to this awesome editor/proofreader is free, but the premium subscription offers a lot more and is especially useful for serious writers.
Novlr: This resource is an online platform for writing books. Excellent service with terrific options–online or offline writing, any device, and multiple export options. Check it out!
The Stinkyink Guide to Publishing Your Own Book: This nifty guide is an excellent free resource that walks you through the entire self-publishing process, including ebooks and physical books, rights and legal management, and marketing. It’s easy to search if you want quick advice and recommends some excellent services.
Writeordie.com: I use this site frequently when I sense myself beginning to lag. Basically, you set a word goal and a time limit and then the program threatens you whenever you stop for more than a second or so. It’s intimidating at first, but your productivity will skyrocket!
NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month (November, also Camp NaNoWriMo twice a year). This website offers great advice year-round. Browse the forums, check out the offers, and if you successfully participate you can get some sweet deals on services!
Scrivener: This swanky writing software is available for both Macs and PCs, and it’s amazing. It uses many of the same features as Yarny, but more with templates and outlining systems easily in place and a way to store summaries of every scene for quick indexing. Absolutely worth the price if you like looking at your work from different angles!
Dramatica: Dramatica has a ton of helpful tools that can help you sort through issues in your story that you might not have even known you had. How do your characters contrast each other? Is the tension at your climax just right? How focused is your novel? This is quickly becoming one of my “must-haves” for aspiring novelists, so check it out!
Scribophile: If you’re wanting a fresh pair of experienced eyes (oxymoron, I know) to look over your draft, this online critiquing group is as good as it gets. And the basic account is free. You help others with their writing and get help with yours–it’s that simple.
Pro Writing Aid: I can spend hours every day drilling through this free online editing software. First you some of your writing into a box, and Pro Writing Aid generates reports and nitpicks everything. I was shocked at how many simple fixes my sample chapter needed that I hadn’t seen after hours of editing! It’s fast, easy and it knows how to write.
Writer’s Diet: There are many fitness sites out there that can give you a report of your general health based on your diet and exercise daily. Now there’s one for your writing. Paste some text into it and it will tell you what areas of your work are thriving and what areas are flabby.
I Write Like: This isn’t so much a writing tool as it is a writing evaluator. See which famous authors write like you and what the strengths are to your kind of writing. I got Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club.