Tools of the Trade

This list will probably look different for every writer, but here are some of the tools that I can’t write without. These, along with several others, are linked on the right side of my personal writing blog, Prospective Writer. In this post I’ll explain why these resources are invaluable to me. and

When I’ve been using a word excessively, or if I use a word but I’m not quite sure if it means what I think it means, or if there is a precise word that I know exists for what I’m trying to say but I can’t seem to pull it out of the depths of my brain, I plug in variations until I find what I’m looking for.


Probably not the most reliable source for information, but it gives me a starting point, a foundation, which I then build from. And actually, new scenes and plot twists have resulted from stuff I’ve read in Wikipedia articles.

I am abysmal at coming up with names. At my job, I see a lot of names, so I collect the ones I like, but sometimes I exhaust my list and need a fresh supply. I often use this site to find names based on what I want a character’s name to mean, or if I know I want it to start with a particular letter. This site also has a brilliant section on Character Names, Tips for Writers, that I read through now and then to remind myself that not every one of my characters needs to have an exotic name.


Sometimes I need mood music. And sometimes it’s a nice distraction if it keeps playing crappy stuff I don’t want – then I can spend time cultivating the perfect mood music station by disliking and skipping the stupid songs.


I include this because so much of what I write is influenced by what I read, and without Goodreads, I’d be lost in a sea of all the books I own, need to read, and have read. There are also author pages, ratings for books (which is useful when searching for a reputable book about writing), book summaries, and I can keep track of what books all of my friends are reading


You can learn how to do anything on this site. Taught me how to pick a lock. I think I needed this information for a character once…honest!

The Confabulators

Last but not least: my writing friends. All those blogs you see linked in the corner on the right? Yeah, them. I’ve learned a lot about writing by reading their blogs, and they are especially wonderful to bounce ideas off of and to offer feedback on my drafts. I wouldn’t be the writer I am without these wonderful folks.

Sara is a Kansas-grown author of the fantasy and horror persuasions. She is convinced that fantastical things are waiting for her just around the corner, and until she finds the right corner, she writes about those things instead.


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