So today I wanted to look at some totally free, internet based tools that I’ve encountered and found useful. A lot of the writerly tools out there are apps that didn’t work on one or more of my gadgets and/or were things I had to pay for. I’ve paid for writing apps before and been disappointed, so unless there’s a free version that blows me away, I don’t spend money on those anymore. Or software for that matter. So it’s just this MS word file and me tonight.
WordCounter.com - This first page is one I’ve had for a while. You plug in an excerpt of your story, set a couple of simple preferences and it will tell you your most frequently used words. This is obviously a huge help in identifying words that you need to change up so that readers don’t get tired of the same word appearing over and over again. TIP: Don’t paste your whole manuscript in there… It doesn’t work, trust me.
Readability Calculator – This one functions similarly as the WordCounter one, except it rates your material on how easily read it is. You can select from English, Danish, Spanish, Dutch and French, so if you’re working in a language that isn’t your native tongue it can help you gauge your translations. You get two scores and both are simply described on the page. My material usually scores around 9-12 for grade level and anywhere from 46 to 66 on the reading ease scale.
Cliche Finder - I’ve always said that you have to know the rules before you can break them. Generally cliches are a bad thing, unless you know how to use them. And you’re using the right one. I’ve found cliches I’d never heard of with this little search engine, like nervous as a cat in room full of rocking chairs, as well as some classics.
FreeRice.com – This one is by far my favorite. It’s a vocab page where you chose the word that means the listed synonym and for each correct answer, you’ve donated 10 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program. It’s an awesome way to pass the time, expand your vocabulary and do some good all at once. The more you answer, the harder it gets. My personal highest is level 38 of 60. I dare you guys to do better than me. I dare you.
And now, the runner up, MixedInk.com. It’s a runner up because I found it difficult to use and only the basic features are free. Granted, it worked fine at the basic level once I got it all set up, but it was more work than I wanted to put into it. But it did give me an idea.
I’ve hosted role playing exercises before, but it’s been a long time and I miss it. So I would like to cordially invite you all to a collaborative/could-be-role-playing writing session! (Yay!) We’re going to use Google Docs, and everyone interested will get an email link from my dreamweaver010 @ gmail.com account. I’m thinking a Saturday or Sunday afternoon would be best, but let me know when and what times works best for you. Submit a comment or in the submission box below, and I’m super excited to see you guys there! :D