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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Online Writing Tools

I just can't keep these great online writing tools to myself any longer. These are two of my favorites, so check them out.

Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing - I do not think there is a grammar question I have asked that I haven't been able to find through Grammar Girl. This site is amazing - the grammar advice is sound, and it is right at your fingertips, so hop over there and do some exploring. Make sure you have lots of time because you might become addicted, and you could probably spend hours browsing this site.

Grammar Girl has a blog on which she regularly posts issues related to grammar (234 posts to date). If you have a specific topic you are looking for, she has a search box - type in your topic and click "SEARCH" and all of her posts which address that topic will be listed. She also has a daily tip that you can subscribe to through e-mail or read on her Web site. The top-five tips she currently has listed are:
  • affect versus effect
  • who versus whom
  • lay versus lie
  • ending a sentence with a preposition
  • "all right" versus "alright" - one is a word, one is not (do you know which isn't? Check Grammar Girl to find out)
I've added Grammar Girl to "WRITING LINKS" on the left sidebar, so you can access it from our LWC blog with just a click.

Dr. Wicked's Write or Die is an awesome tool to help keep your fingers moving. The idea is to use your own negative reinforcement to achieve your writing goal. You set your own time parameters (for example, 500 words in ten minutes), you select a consequence (gentle, normal, kamikaze, or electric shock), and you select a grace period (forgiving, strict, or evil). Then you click on "Write" and you start writing. If you don't write fast enough to achieve your goal in the time period you selected, your consequence will be enforced.

This is so darn cool - you have to give it a try. You don't have to sign up, just click over, put in your parameters, and start writing. You can link directly to the parameters input screen by clicking the picture below or on the right sidebar of this blog:

Write or Die

To learn more about what Write or Die is all about, click this link: About Write or Die

Here are the consequences pasted directly from Dr. Wicked's Write or Die Web site:

Gentle Mode: A certain amount of time after you stop writing, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
Normal Mode: If you persistently avoid writing, you will be played a most unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.
Kamikaze Mode: Keep Writing or Your Work Will Unwrite Itself

I like the normal mode (I'm not brave enough to try kamikaze). If you stop writing, after a certain amount of grace time (whatever you selected) the screen will turn to pink, then darken until it turns bright red. Once it turns bright red, if you are in normal mode, obnoxious music will force your brain into action - if for no other reason but to stop the horrid music. If you want to save your material, be sure to C & P it into Word - Write or Die does not save your writing beyond your current activity.

Oh, and if you're asking why would I want to write under such stringent circumstances, review this blog post for the answer.

If you have an online writing tool you love to use, share it with me, and you may see it posted on the Living Writers Collective blog in the future.

Post by: LWC Director, Karen Aldridge. Visit her personal blog at My Writing Loft.

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