One thing that drives all writers is the desire to create a truly amazing story, one a reader can’t put down or forget.
It’s why we’re always learning to deepen our storytelling skills – we want that next book to be our best one yet.
But the learning curve can be frustrating, and it’s hard when so many things are competing for our time. Becca and I know this first hand as we’ve been studying story craft for almost 20 years.
We’ve been sharing what we know for a long time now, both here and at One Stop for Writers. Time is precious, and we want every writing session of yours to be a great one. If you only know us by our thesaurus books, you might be surprised to know we’ve built other tools to help writers think like a story expert so every aspect of their story is as strong as it can be.
Character Builder Tool
This tool at One Stop for Writers contains massive characterization databases for personality traits, emotions, skills, motivations, backstory wounds, physical features, occupations, and more, so planning original characters is incredibly easy. Even better, this tool uses psychology to show you how each element or quality you choose will alter how your character thinks and behaves, meaning it will be much easier to write their actions and responses in ways that line up with who they are.
Did we mention the Character Builder also identifies key details as you brainstorm and builds a character arc blueprint for you? See this tool in action >>
Story Map, Scene Maps, and Timeline Tools
Every writer has their own process when it comes to planning a story or novel. Some prefer to fully outline a story tip to toe so they know exactly which events they are writing towards, and see how plot and character arc work together. Story Maps is great for this, especially as it helps you navigate story structure so you end up with a strong story foundation. Visit Story Maps >>
Scene Maps look at planning at the scene level, which can be great both for micro-planning and diagnosing what’s not quite working in your novel. This tool shows you all the major elements a scene should have, and then you can make quick notes about each scene, stringing together as many as you like.
Finally, for Pantsers who prefer less planning, we have the Timeline Tool, which is great for jotting down ideas about possible scenes without structuring them too much.
Like Scene Maps, the cards can be moved around, so play with the order as you storyboard ideas, track events like a series of murders or stops on a character’s quest, and more. Check out the Timeline Tool >>
Real-world or not, every story has a foundational “where” and it’s up to you to know this reality inside and out, whether it’s Middle Earth or Chicago.
We created choose-your-own surveys where you drag questions to answer about your story’s where, creating a custom survey. Putting thought into the cities, people, places, government, travel methods, climate, magic, and other key details etc. will help you write settings with authenticity and avoid logic problems that could pull readers out of the story. Find out more >>
Ideas come to life through description, and the more focus and meaningful the detail, the better readers can imagine what’s happening to the characters they’ve come to care about. But it’s all about choosing the right details, ones that work hard in your story.
Our show-don’t-tell THESAURUS is the largest of its kind, supplying you with non-stop ideas on how to showcase your characters, locations, and story events so readers feel part of each scene and experience. Explore the THESAURUS database >>
With so many story elements to juggle–plot, pacing, characters, theme, symbolism, arc, dialogue, subtext, story structure and more–getting a novel from that first idea to a publish-ready novel is a huge undertaking. In fact, many writers stop before a story is complete because they got lost along the way, felt stuck, or believed they couldn’t get the story to where it needed to be.
The Storyteller’s Roadmap is the cure for unfinished novels because it guides writers step-by-step through planning, writing, and revising so they always know what to focus on, and have the tools, resources, and knowledge to get past any difficulty or struggle. Visit the Storyteller’s Roadmap >>
Templates, Worksheets, and Generators
Some writers prefer Templates and Worksheets to help launch their imagination and focus on one thing at a time. We’ve put together some innovative ones that go further than what you might typically see elsewhere.
And if you need an extra brainstorming nudge, the Idea Generator can help you round out a character with a secret or hobby, give you ideas for plot complications, suggest story stakes, and more.
Tip Sheets & Check List Database
Taking a story from good to great is done when we optimize everything we can. Our Tip Sheet Database is packed with ways to improve your story and troubleshoot problems. Come download a few – no subscription needed >>
Is It Time to Try Something New?
All of these tools can be found at One Stop for Writers, so if you’d like to try any of them out, activate the free trial and see if these are a game-changer for you. But if you already have a process that works and feel you have no real struggles on the writing front, keep doing what you’re doing now, because it’s clearly working for you!
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.