The Writer’s Toolbox: A Giant List of Resources

by on June 6, 2015

All the tools, apps, sites and books to make you a great writer. From writing inspiration to advice from the professionals – we’ve got you covered.

Writing Apps

Novel and Manuscript Writing

Scrivener – The best book-writing software ever, period. Features an amazing story outliner, manuscript compiler and text editor. (Mac/Windows, $30-$45)
yWriter – The best free novel writing software for years, yWriter is a solid replacement for Scrivener. And best of all, it’s free. (Windows, free)
WriterDuet – A slick, web-based scriptwriting software with a beautiful UI. (Web, Free-$89)

Minimal/Distraction Free

Byword – The best distraction free writing software for the Mac. (Mac/iOS, $11.99/$5.99)
iWriter – Less customizable than Byword and therefore even less distracting. Like Byword, it also supports makrdown. (Mac/iOS/Android, $4.99-$19.99)
Q10 – A great free Windows alternative to the minimalist Mac writing apps, complete with delightful typwriter sounds. (Windows, free)
OmmWriter – A writing app like no other. OmmWriter is completely unique – it features calming music, a beautiful editor and typography to create a focussed, meditative writing environment. (Mac/iPad/Windows, $5.11)

Journaling Apps

DayOne – This is my favorite writing application ever. DayOne features a beautiful interface and daily journal-writing prompts, making keeping a journal not only super easy, but also fun. (Mac/iOS, $4.99-$9.99)
Penzu – A freemium web app with powerful features such as email reminders and customizability. (Web/iOS/Android, Freemium)
Flava – A personal scrapbook for your life. You can save moments in the form of entries and organize your life as a timeline. (iOS/Android/Chrome)


Evernote – I have been using Evernote ever since it launched, and now I can’t imagine my life (and The Unlearner) without it. It keeps me sane. (Mac/Windows/Android/iOS, Freemium)
Simple Note – Evernote without the bloated features. (Mac/Android/iOS/Kindle, free)
Notational Velocity – Note-taking at the speed of light. (Mac, free)
OneNote – Microsoft’s note-taking app has its cult following (me among them) for its superior organizational abilities. (Windows/Mac/Android/iOS, Free)
WorkFlowy – A radically new way to organize your thoughts, to-do lists, projects and more. You have to try it to see how great it is. (Web, free)
Google Keep – Google’s colorful and super-fast approach to note-taking. (Everywhere, free)

Writing Tools

Hemingway – Analyzes your writing to remove the chaff, Hemingway-style.
ClicheFinder – Analyzes your writing sample and highlights the cliches.
TypingWeb – the best resource to learn Touch Typing. (I learnt on TypingWeb and I love it.)
Fantasy Name Generator – Fantasy names, Evil-Sounding Names, Lovecraftian Names, they’ve got them all.
Visual Thesaurus – Thesaurus like you’ve never seen before.
Character Development Worksheet – Create, know and live your characters.
Wordinary – Find any word in the English langauge.
WordCounter Check for and rid your writing of overused words.
Sublime Text – Geared towards programmers rather than writers, Sumblime Text is indispensable to both. I have it open at all times to file my random links, pastes and thoughts.

Prompts and Inspiration

/r/WritingPrompts – from “You have the ability to Copy & Paste in real life. What do you do?” to “It’s the year 2057. Queen Elizabeth still reigns. People are getting suspicious.” these are some of the best prompts you’ll find anywhere.
Writer Digest’s Prompts – Huge archive of weekly writing prompts.
PlotIdea Generator – Interesting plot-lines at the click of a refresh button.
Seventh Sanctum’s Story Generator – Generate stories by category: from sci-fi to fantasy to romance.
New York Times’ 500 Prompts for Creative and Personal Writing – New York Times’s excellent list of 500 writing prompts. This should keep you writing for years.
Flickr’s Explore Page – Flick’s Explore page can spark many a creative trail of thought.
Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows – An amazing list of made-up words for beautifully intricate sorrows: a treasure mine of inspiration.

Writing Communities

Critique and Feedback

CampusDiaries – An amazing place for students to share their stories, ideas and talent.
Wattpad – The web’s largest community of writers
Writer’s Cafe – One of the web’s oldest writing hangouts.
/r/writing – Reddit’s own writing community.
Medium – A platform, not-a-publisher and a network. Medium is the future of publishing and you should be in on it.

Writing Advice

The Unlearner‘s Writing Advice Archive – Our archive contains advice from the literary greats, from Orwell to Bradbury.
Nathan Bransford – Writer and former literary agent Nathan Bransford has one of the best writing blogs on the internet.
MIT’s Open Courseware – Over a hundred free courses from one of the best schools in the world – everything from rhetoric to creative writing.

Best Books on Writing

The Unlearner‘s Top 10 Essential BooksThe Unlearner‘s own humble list of top 10 books to help you become a better writer.
Amazon best-sellers

Bonus: Author Blogs & Tumblrs

Neil Gaiman
Stephen Fry
Patrick Rothfus
George RR Martin
Austin Kleon
John Green

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