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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Stuffs For Us Writers (Part One)

Decided to have a short post of nifty sites, programs, and the like that I have discovered that could come to great use for some of you guys out there.

I've already mentioned this program, but it is worth mentioning again. Freemind is a mindmapping program. Here's a picture of one of my mindmaps for a military scifi idea I have--updated from the last one I had shown. (click the image to see larger version)

This program I randomly discovered has become one of my favorite little tools. This program allows you to put little post it notes on your desktop. Perfect for keeping track of all the writing stuff I have to do. I love it. It also apparently has a feature where you can send notes to other users provided they are added to your friends list. I haven't used it yet, but sounds like a cool idea to me.
Here is a pic of my desktop with StickIt running. (Click for larger image)

What better a program to have than a portable dictionary on your desktop? Wordweb is an awesome software program that comes in a free version and a pro version ($29). It's a great program to have on your desktop while writing. With a click on the icon in your taskbar you can start searching for a word right away.

What about stationary?
Well, what about it? Are you craving strong little journals and notebooks that can withstand a nuclear explosion and still won't let your ink or pencil smear? Then you should probably be looking into Moleskine's. A little pricey, but when you think about it, it's not a bad deal at all in comparison to the competition. Moleskine notebooks come with acid free pages, a hard cover, threaded binding, a nifty place keeper, an back cover inside pocket for keeping stuff in, and a lovely elastic band for keeping it closed. You can get lined, blank, or even squared pages. There are many sizes and styles too. Check them out. Large: $14.95 Small: $9.95
Now, if you are wanting to go for a cheaper notebook, you can try the ru Journal from Xonex. Now, these are blank paged pocket journals in the same fashion as the Moleskine, only a little flashier and without the legendary reputation. $5.00
Now, I wouldn't recommend anyone go this direction unless they intend to make good use of it. If you aren't very serious about your writing, don't bother forking out the money for any of these items. It falls upon the dilemma of placing value on the item rather than on the writing and really if you aren't serious you might as well be spending $0.25 on a regular every day notebook than one of these.
But if you are serious, I can definitely recommend the Moleskine as a good start. I've enjoyed mine thoroughly thus far.

Critique Circle
I've mentioned this lovely place before, but I have to bring it up again. This is one of the best places to go for online critiquing. It's completely free, but there is a pro account that offers a few more features that in all honesty most of us will never use unless we are in desperate need for an organized system for personal critique groups (something I brought up before as an idea). Check it out!

The Gender Genie
This site has been passed around quite a bit I think, but I find it rather interesting to allow this little web app to attempt to figure out whether you are male or female based on a sample of your writing. Go on, give it a try. Take a short story or chapter from your WIP and throw it in. According to the site (using Ch. 14 as an example) it says that I am male by a margin of almost 1,000 points (which isn't saying much really).

The Official Seal Generator
This has absolutely nothing to do with writing, but I couldn't help but put it in. It's such a nifty idea. This site allows you to create a little seal with a whole slue of options. I made a couple below. Go ahead, put them on your website. It's not my attempt at shameless promotion...not at all. Honest. Okay, it is, but I think it's completely adorable how you can create these little things.

Go on, put it on your site, wrap some HTML tags back here on them, and there you go. Or just look at them and say they are pretty.


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  1. Anonymous8:58 AM

    StickIt is now installed on my computer. :D I never thought about anything like that, but now I realise that I needed one! Thanks for the link.

  2. Anonymous10:01 AM

    I have a mac, so sadly none of these programs will work for me, although it does have its own form of post-it-notes. But that Gender Genie site sounds really neat! Thanks for the link. I'll visit it once I get home...stupid school Firewall...

  3. Anonymous8:45 PM

    "Macs are evil..."
    Oh, ouch. :D No, they're not. Lindsey seems to think the same as you, but it's never crased on me and it does what it's supposed to do.

    That Gender Genie site got the correct answer a little over half the time. It seemed to be more correct when longer passages were given. But twice it overwhelmingly thought I was a girl. :) Still, it's a neat idea. Maybe it'll get improved over time.

  4. My windows PC hasn't crashed on me either, and I leave it on all the time. And contrary to what the mac commercials will say I have no had a single virus beyond the occasional trojan that might happen from say downloading a corrupt file.
    Remember also that the reason mac doesn't get viruses is because they aren't programmed for Mac due to the limited circulation of Mac PC's. If Mac's were anywhere near as common as Windows PC's you can be sure there would be a lot of viruses. The sad part of that is when someone actually does make a good virus for Mac it will likely devastate the entire Mac market. Sadly, Apple is not prepared for what Windows went through in the earlier days when programs like Norton, etc. first saw the light...and likewise it would incapable of surviving such an attack due to its already rocky sales (which are actually rather stagnant in comparison to the iPods).

    Anyway, sorry, I'm just not a Mac fan. Not because Mac's aren't good, just because people tend to love them for ignorant reasons. I'm not saying you're ignorant Andrew, I'm just saying people in general. You're a writer so likely you are one of the very rare super intelligent Mac users...

    I love that gender genie thing myself. I'm apparently borderline male, which is weird.

  5. Yes, I've used Freemind quite often for writing, and I've got several writers doing it as well. Very useful tool.

  6. Bryan: It's great for organizing information, that's for sure.