I recently discovered Stumbleupon, a web tool that brings up random web pages based on your interests when you feel like seeing what’s out there on the internet. If you choose to, you can mark these pages with a ‘I like it/I don’t like it’ rating, which helps Stumbleupon refine your ‘stumbles’ closer and closer to the type of pages you generally like most. It does the thinking for you and in my case, has come up with some fantastic pages.
I added Stumbleupon to my toolbar a few days ago, with the settings, ‘Writing’ and ‘Linguistics.’ Now, I am an ADDICT. I have found some really great sites through this web tool and I want to share them with you.
Now these links aren’t your typical, ‘learn how to writer better’ type pages. These are some writing sites that can become valuable writing tools for you while planning, drafting and editing.
Keep an eye on this list, as I’ll add to it as I discover new and interesting links!
— The Non Verbal Dictionary of Gestures, Signs, Body Language and Cues You can look up a specific action like shrugging, a head tilt, crossing the arms, etc and find out what the action is most commonly used for and what it signals to other people. A great companion to the Emotion Thesaurus.
—Writing Realistic Injuries Everything you need to know about injuries and their symptoms (burns, blood loss, broken bones, head trauma, the works).
—Visuwords An online visual thesaurus that outstrips any I’ve seen available on the net. It’s free as far as I can tell, uses colors and symbols to show what every associated word is (adjective, noun, verb, etc), how the words relate to each other and meanings of each word. AND this puppy has way cool ‘word bubbles’ that you can move around, zoom in on and generally have fun with as you find the right word you’re looking for.
—Food Timeline Need to know what foods were eaten in the first century? When potato salad was invented? What people in Shakespeare’s time ate? This is the place! Scroll down for more historic recipes and the price of certain foods at different time periods.
—Cliche Finder Just type in some of your work and this tool will find the cliche’s for you–what could be easier?
—Confusing Words Think affect/effect; lie/lay type stuff. Here you can look up a word you’re having trouble with and find out exactly how to use it–a handy reference.
—Synonyms for Commonly Used Words This is pretty neat, especially if you’re in a hurry. And I should mention that if you are specifically looking to strengthen common verbs, Becca and I have a tool for that right here at Writers Helping Writers: the Weak Verb Converter Tool. And if you need to get rid of those crutch words we all tend to overuse (look, gaze, was, thought, felt, sigh, etc.) then try the Crutch Word List.
Please check out out TOOLS FOR WRITERS page for many more helpful lists and downloads built just for writers!
Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.