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I Spent Quarantine Gathering the Best Writing Websites

As an aspiring writer myself, I’ve spent some time over quarantine trying to practice my skills. As a result, I’ve found a few websites to help improve your writing skills.

How to get into the writing mood

Thinking about writing is always easier than actually writing. Thankfully, there are a few excellent sites that always help me to get into the productivity mood. I’ve written about Flora before, but Flora really does help. Being able to grow your own garden by being productive is conducive to my writing process. For more writing specific sites, I like Zen Writer, which plays music or ambient noise as you write, and Written? Kitten, which gives you a cute picture of a cat whenever you write a certain amount of words. I cannot stress how many times I’ve used this for papers.

Worldbuilding

Notebook.ai is *the* website for fiction writers. It allows you to easily worldbuild, storing information about your characters, creatures, locations and history. One of my favorite features is the continuity check feature; this allows you to keep a list of important plot points and facts you can easily reference back to while writing. WordAnvil is also very helpful because it lets you create your own maps and add audio as you write so you can throw in sound effects in your work! (Best of all, both sites are completely free …)

For writing character voices, characters of color, etc.

One of my favorite parts of writing is creating your own character voices and making unique people. Whenever I create characters, I usually build off of established archetypes, or ask myself questions about the characters. Writing World also has a wonderful resource for creating unique character voices so they don’t all sound the same.

Another great resource for character creation is Writing with Color. Writing with color is my favorite website for writing about characters of color, bilingual characters or characters of other religions and nationalities. It’s run by a very responsive moderation team who are always prepared to answer questions about your work. It’s a great way to find sensitivity readers as well. Some of my favorite pages are here (how to describe skin tones) and here (for writing blinginual characters). Yumpu has a list of slang words in other languages as well, if we’re on the topic.

Genre fiction

I write mystery fiction most of the time, so having resources specifically for the genre you wish to write is crucial. For mystery and crime, I rely on Havocscope (provides the prices of illegal items in the world), Writer’s Forensics Blog (answers questions about crime scene cleanup, how the law works and other related forensics topics) and just plain old Web MD. Some other genre fiction resources include ProjectRHO (perhaps THE writing resource for sci-fi writers, as it describes how rockets are made, mechanics of space travel and more), and the History Quill (list of primary source and secondary source documents for historical fiction writers).

Grammar

Grammar may be the least fun part of writing a book, but it’s still very important (obviously). For this part, I highly recommend using Scribens. Scribens is a free grammar checker, but it works better than Word. Scribens counts your words, corrects misspellings, fixes incorrect verb usage and also helps you follow typography conventions. Unlike Word, however, Scribens explains exactly WHY the sentence you wrote is incorrect. I find this more helpful than Word because it helps me avoid that issue for future works.

What are your favorite writing resources?

Megan Kelly is a psychology major at SUNY Geneseo. She enjoys writing articles about whatever interests her at the moment, so don't expect any consistency.
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