10 Ways to Utilise Online Writing Tools

During the month of November, many of us will spend a lot of time participating in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. This can be a difficult task to undertake and without the proper tools, you can find yourself in a pickle. Fear not, however! This week's 10 Ways article focuses on ten of the best writing tools that the internet has to offer the brave novel writers who choose to undertake the NaNoWriMo challenge!

1. Word Counter

The key element of NaNoWriMo is the word count and although it may not be as important at other points in the year, a word counter can be interesting to any writer! Word Counter is a simple, no-nonsense counter. All you need to do is paste your story into the box provided and the site gives you an instant breakdown of your work. As well as giving you counters for almost everything, it also shows you how many times you use certain words. Super-helpful if you're looking to find out whether you really have used over-used specific words!

2. Grammar Check

Although most word processors include an in-built spelling and grammar check, some will not. For those of us without these in-built features, turning to the online world is the best thing to do. Grammar Check does exactly as it says on the tin – it checks your work for spelling and grammar errors, as well as giving some more stylistic changes as suggestions. A deep check costs money, but the Free Check button on the site allows those of us who can't afford to subscribe to a grammar checker a wonderful service anyway!

3. Thesaurus

Struggling to find alternative words for red? Used the phrase childlike too many times in one paragraph? Check out Thesaurus, a free-to-use online thesaurus that provides you with wonderful alternatives to simple words! As well as including a list of alternate ways to say something, you can also use Thesaurus to check for the opposites of the word you type in and words with similar meanings.

4. Write or Die

Looking for the motivation to write, but unsure of how to go about it? Why not try Write or Die, a vaguely amusing and completely evil piece of software that forces you to write! Although this can be downloaded onto a desktop or tablet, Write or Die is also available online by toggling the settings and then pressing the 'try' button. Be warned, however – pressing the try button locks you into a writing state where, if you don't type, you'll be pestered by a cacophony of sounds and mildly disturbing images!

5. Draft

As a completely free online drafting application, you'd expect Draft to have little-to-no important features to define it. However, this clever little application has all of the features of a regular word processor plus one unique selling point – Hemmingway Mode. When in this mode, you cannot delete anything, which is great for those of us who are concerned more with editing pieces of our work away than we are writing it!

6. Charahub

Organising characters from books can be difficult, as can finding a decent character survey. Charahub offers both of these, complete in a cute little design! As a free-to-use site, Charahub offers a lot of organisation for character biographies, as well as including comprehensive lists of questions to allow you to further develop your character.

7. Cliché Finder

The dreaded cliché is something that all writers attempt to avoid at all costs. However, we can't remember all clichéd phrases ourselves, and that's where Cliché Finder comes in! Simply paste a few paragraphs into the box provided, hit 'find cliché' and check the page for any red markings. If you're all grey, you're all good. Any cliché phrases will be shown up in red.

8. LitLift

There are literally hundreds of places to write stories on that offer a fantastic range of tools for writers. LitLift is one of those tools. Acting like an online backup system, this word-processing tool not only allows you to save your work externally to your computer, but also offers facilities to place character biographies and plot-lines. Handy if you're looking for an all-in-one way to keep your work organised!

9. Oxford Dictionaries

Stuck on what a word means? Looking for interesting or challenging words? The Oxford Dictionaries website is an all-encompassing dictionary service that is available online! Not only does this handy tool search the entire English language (UK and US), it also contains a small number of online dictionaries for other languages such as French and Italian. Super-handy if you're looking for words in other languages!

10. Writer's Digest

This may seem an unusual one to include – a lot of people view Writer's Digest as a site for more established writers. However, some of the information included in the articles that are updated regularly on this site is invaluable to both established and budding authors! With articles split into different genres and some pretty famous names appearing, it's definitely worth checking this site out!

Special thanks to silent hearts. and Goddess of Muse for editing!

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