11 Best Writing Resources

writing resources
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Last year, I started reviewing writing resources for Curious Words. I’ve plowed through dozens of books and apps and software, sharing only the ones I found most beneficial along the way. After a year of doing this, here are my top 10 favorite writing resources:

I feel it’s important to note these writing resources are in no particular order in terms of ranking. Each one addresses such different aspects of writing that I felt unable to place them in a hierarchy.

From the Tech Vault

Grammarly

writing resource

Grammarly is a spell-checking software that I’ve found to be more reliable (though not fool-proof) than the general ones available. Because it has a Chrome extension, it checks your grammar in emails, social media, and more–except Google Docs.

Why it made the list:

While there is some room for growth, its current features really are beneficial. I love that it tells you why a change needs to be made, rather than just making the suggestion. Yes, to the grammar lesson, please! And its simplest version is free, which you just can’t beat!

The premium versions have payment plans ranging from $29.95 a month to $59.95 a quarter to $139.95 a year, and it expands the software’s ability to catch the more complex grammar errors.

Read my full Grammarly Free review here, and the Premium review here.

Writing Exercises App

Writing resources

This app offers a range of writing prompts categorized into first line, subject, character, and plot. They also provide extended writing support through their website, the link for which is available in the About This App page.

Why it made the list:

The app is simple and easy-to-use; it doesn’t have any distracting fluff. There are tons of prompts, and saving your favorites is a breeze. I also love that they have more features on their website that you can easily access while in the app. Oh, and–it’s FREE!

Read my full review of the Writing Exercises App.

Scrivener

Buy Scrivener for Windows (Regular Licence)

Scrivener is a writing software on steroids. In addition to word processing, it allows you to organize–and reorganize–your writing. It has manuscript formatting features, and brainstorming and research tools. It has so many features that even after all this time, I still feel like I am barely scratching the surface.

Why it made the list:

Maybe just reread my description? This software pulls some serious weight. Unlike other writing software options that charge monthly subscriptions, Scrivener is a one-time purchase of $40 (at the writing of this post).

Read my full review of Scrivener.

SimpleMind Free

Writing resource

SimpleMind Free is a mind-mapping app. You get a variety of mind mapping formats to choose from, including structured and free form templates. It also has a note feature so you can expand on your thoughts without cluttering up your map.

Why it made the list:

Once you’ve started brainstorming, you can easily drag and reposition your branches, which I love. It’s nice that I can keep the main screen of my map tidy while still having more in-depth thoughts held in the notes. And, as the name suggests, it’s free!

Read my full review of SimpleMind Free.

Offline Survival Manual

writing resource

Another free app! This app saves a collection of how-to survival information to your device that is accessible even if you don’t have a signal. It contains diagrams and instructions to build shelters and fires, and you can refine the information you view based off of factors like terrain or temperature. It even talks about assessing the friendliness of locals and what to do in the event they are hostile.

Why it made the list:

Obviously, this was not an app intended for writers, but I have found it to be not only interesting but helpful. One of my works-in-progress has a couple characters trekking cross country, and one of them is essentially a skilled survivalist. I am not. With this app, I have been able to depict his system more accurately. And, if ever I am lost in the wilderness, I’ll have a better shot now!

Read my full review of the Offline Survival Manual.

Evernote

writing resource

Evernote is a note-taking, resource-saving, brainstorming app. A few of its free features include 60 MB per month for new uploads, the ability to save PDFs, web pages, and images, and collaboration opportunities with their share options.

I loved this app, so I have been paying for the premium ($69.99 a year). That means in addition to the above features, I get 10 GB per month in new uploads, I can annotate those PDFs, access my journals offline, and scan and digitize business cards, amongst other features.

Why it made the list:

I use this app at least three or four times a week. Every week. I’m in it constantly, and I can’t say enough about how helpful it’s been in organizing my writing.

The free features alone are amazing; the Chrome extension is definitely my most-used active feature, with the quick note option on my phone coming in as a close second. I tend to be a tactile writer, so being able to handwrite my notes and then have Evernote translate them into typed ones is great, too.

There’s also the flexibility in price. There’s Free, Basic ($34.99 / year), Premium ($69.99 / year), and Business ($12 / user / month).

You can read my full review of Evernote OR use my referral link to try out Evernote Premium (it’s so worth it!).

MasterWriter

writing resource

MasterWriter is a web-based writing software that has word and phrase dictionaries. Writers can search for rhyming words, or phrases that contain a specific word, or phrases that are related to a given word. It has features that include idioms, metaphors, and onomatopoeia. Search results can be filtered by syllable, connotation, and part of speech.

Why it made the list:

Again… read the description. This software is super handy for tweaking your phrasing and organizing your writing. They, too, have a nice range of options for pricing, though it is still subscription-based. That means you’ll have to renew your license to maintain access.

The monthly license is $9.95, one year is $99.95, and a two-year license is $149.99.

But as a MasterWriter affiliate, I can offer you $20 off their 1-year and 2-year subscriptions with the link below! And you get a 90-day money back guarantee, so no worries if you don’t love it! CLICK HERE for your discount!
Not sure? Read my full review of MasterWriter.

From the Library

Screenplay: Writing the Picture

writing resource

Screenplay: Writing the Picture is a writing manual for people who want to write scripts for the big screen. It addresses topics like research, plotting, and character development, and it walks you through writing your first script in a step-by-step process.

Why it made the list:

Even if you don’t plan on being a screenwriter, this book offers a ton of features that are useful. Their commentary and exercises pertaining to character development, for example, translate across all mediums. They also have appendices with helpful information like a recommended reading list and cliches to avoid.

Read my full review of Screenplay: Writing the Picture.

Writing Monsters

Writing resource

Writing Monsters analyzes the best, creepiest monsters and walks you through crafting your own. It includes discussions of the origin and symbolic nature of monsters, common archetypes, and a monster creation form to help you structure your own creation.

Why it made the list:

Philip Athans does a nice job exploring elements common to monsters and guiding authors in the crafting of their own without making it formulaic. (Because who wants formulaic monsters? Yawn). I love that there is a downloadable form through Writer’s Digest; anything to help me stay organized!

Read my full review of Writing Monsters.

Writer’s Guide to Character Traits

Writing resource

Character Traits is a human behavior and personality type reference book written by psychologist Dr. Linda Edelstein. It addresses a wide range of issues relating to human psychology, including trauma and other influential events, and covers the influences different psychological issues and personality types impact behavior. She even accounts for the differences in childhood vs. adult trauma and psychology.

Why it made the list:

Developing well-rounded, believable characters is key to driving a strong plot. With Dr. Edelstein’s help, you can pick and choose key characteristics and write behaviors that reflect your character accurately.

It’s also easy-to-use and well-organized. She is thorough in her descriptions and analyses, and the index simplifies the process of accessing the information further.

Want to know more? Read my full review of Character Traits.

On Writing Horror

writing resource

On Writing Horror is a collection of articles written by the biggest names in horror writing, and it’s edited by the Horror Writers Association. Rather than a how-to manual, you get words of advice and guidance, as well as analyses of successful–and unsuccessful– horror story elements.

Why it made the list:

Reading the words of successful horror writers, many of whom I already looked up to, served to refocus my writing. Hearing about their struggles with multiple rejections was particularly inspiring and helped me reevaluate how I look at these “failures.”

I also loved the list of small horror publishers. That and the list of horror-focused conferences and workshops provide great directions for aspiring writers to head toward.

Read my full review of On Writing Horror.

What are your favorite writing resources? Share them below!

 

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