Standard writing tools:
- Dictionary.com – includes a limited etymology of words, and helps you look for the word you really meant if you misspell it while typing it in. Also provides entries from three different dictionaries for each word. Links directly to Thesaurus.com.
- Thesaurus.com – incredibly robust thesaurus. Links directly to Dictionary.com
- Antonym.com – Synonym and antonym finder. Not very robust, but better for antonyms than Thesaurus.com.
- Wikipedia – Online user-edited encyclopedia
- RhymeZone – rhyming dictionary that sorts results by syllable for faster rhythm matching.
- Online Guide to Grammar and Writing – maintained by Professor of English Charles Darling at Capital Community College – great for a quick brush-up on the grammar rules you might have forgotten.
- Britannica.com – provides information not only from the encyclopedia itself, but also from a large number of other websites, including magazines and newspapers.
- The Online Slang Dictionary – provides definitions to those weird words you have no idea how to define.
- Acronym Finder – provides definitions for all kinds of acronyms, even technogeek and hacker ones.
- Writer’s Market (online) – provides access to thousands of publishers, agents, etc. for a $3/month fee. The print edition is the tool of many a freelance writer, and the online edition should make publishing even easier.
- Random Name Generator – based on the US Census results.
- Seventh Sanctum – tools for writers, gamers, and artists – seems to be mostly fantasy-oriented. Has a great collection of name generators (can you tell my personal demon happens to be naming things?)
- Complete Idiot’s Guide to Publishing Science Fiction – a very well-written book that helps you find and keep your focus, choose a medium (short story or novel), write the darned thing, and publish it. Tips are geared toward sci-fi and fantasy writers, but many apply to any genre.
Not-so-standard writing tools:
- Fantasy Name Generator – Randomly provides a list of fantasy-style names for use in science fiction/fantasy writing. Includes an incredible advanced name generator that allows you to put in a template (I want all names to start with A’ and be followed by consonants, and end in a’, for example) so that all of a certain type of character can have a certain type of name. Very awesome.
- The Babelfish – Online translater of all things language – an absolute must for those of us who have barely mastered our native tongue.(The name, btw, comes from the Bablefish in the great Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. If you haven’t read this, well, you just haven’t lived.
- Writing Contests – Kirabug has mentioned these in previous idea posts. They’re ongoing – check ’em out.
- Time & Date.com – provides calendars and date tools (like the number of days between two dates) for making sure that your characters are sticking to a realistic schedule.
- Word Detective – a column listing the origins of words for the curious.
- National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – a website where thousands of people meet every November 1 and attempt to write themselves a 50,000+ word novel by midnight November 30.
- Handy Latin phrases