Here are a few of the things I use the most often when writing, for assistance and inspiration.
The Novel Factory
I write everything using this software. Full disclosure, I designed it, and my company developed it. I undertook the not insignificant task of creating my own software for writing because I felt that nothing out there really did want I wanted. All the existing options either required a huge learning curve (ain’t nobody got time for dat), were way too complicated for my needs or were butt ugly. Hence – the Novel Factory. It’s still in its infancy, but one day it will be the best novel writing software in existence (mwa ha ha ha etc).
Ah, sweet thesaurus.com. The first favourite on my bookmarks toolbar and probably the site I visit the most often. My internet history is a swathe of that icon, like towers of gold nuggets. And before you bring it up, I know all about that Stephen King quote: “Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule.” But I don’t care. Even masters can be wrong, and anyway, perhaps old Stevie could take a little bit of someone else’s advice ‘don’t use a hundred words when one will do.’ Or a thousand. You see what I’m getting at. Anyway, you want to cut your arm off by following the advice of a bestselling, internationally famous, mind-bogglingly succesful author, and not use a thesaurus, then… uh, whatever.
If there’s anyone that needs a publicity shoutout, it’s that adorable little underdog, Google. But, since they added ‘more like these’ their image search has become even more indispensable than it was before. I love to have images of everything I’m writing, from characters to landscapes to buildings to little gadgets and trinkets. Whatever you can think of, someone else has painted one, blueprinted one, photographed one or built one and it’s got loads of lovely detail you would never have thought of.
Following on with the image theme, Deviant Art is a great place to go for inspirational fantasy images for characters and locations. There is quite a lot of dross on there too (including infuriating moving gifs, which should be banned) and I strongly recommend against reading any of the writing on there unless you want to be gagging at the cliche-riddled, adolescent, wiffly grammarlessness faster than you can say ‘my bodily secretions are less drivelly than this’. I’m not saying there isn’t good writing on there – I’m just heavily implying it.