Thursday, March 7, 2013

Brain Candy for Writers

From Cheryl's Writing Crate

One of my passions, other than my family, my dogs, my writing and reading (what can I say, I’m a passionate gal!) is surfing the net for interesting information.  I have discovered so many random fun facts, neat hobbies I never knew about, a collection of mouthwatering recipes, dozens of unique and colorful ways to decorate my home, endless health and nutrition articles—well, the list goes on and on.

A couple of weeks ago I was randomly perusing author websites (yet another passion—finding out what makes other authors tick!), and I came across an unbelievable find!  A creative website for writers called The Bookshelf Muse which is dedicated to helping writers via descriptive tools, knowledge sharing and support.  I felt at home immediately, and I just had to share one of those tools that I am now enamored with—Braincandy for writers.  This is basically a collection of awesome, eclectic links for writers covering everything from soup to nuts in a writer’s world. 
Angela Ackerman is co-author of The EMOTION Thesauraus, A writer's  guide to  character expression.

Here are some of the links that I found so very interesting and helpful.  Once you check these out be sure and visit the site for yourself.  (Hey, we writers need to stick together!)   I hope you’ll be as impressed and taken with it as I am. 

Specialty Dictionaries: Need to know more about a specific subject like boats, wine, music, Oil and Gas, mythology, etc? OMG, awesomeness, right here.

ISBN: Looking for a book and want to know who published it? Is your book similar to something on the market and you want to see what other books are published on the same topic? Want to look up a publisher or imprint to get an idea of what they currently publish? Great way to research!
Senses Word Pack  & More Senses Word Packs: Here's two neat little list of words for Taste, Smell, Sounds, Textures and Sight. It might help you brainstorm an exact match for your character's experience.

Character Archtypes: A list of 140 different archtypes. I know--140? I had no idea there were so many out there in the big bad world of fiction and film, but here they are. This is probably the most complete list I've ever found.

Food, Past and Present: OMG people. This is so much more that a simple Food Timeline. You have to see it to believe it. If you are writing about any point in history and want to know exactly what crops were available, what people in different countries ate and how it was prepared then BAM, this is the place. 
Confusing Words: Death to Homophones! Affect or Effect? Complement or compliment? Or maybe you just get stuck on those words that are difficult to pin down a meaning for. All you do is type in a word and it helps you with the meaning. Quick and easy!

Self Control: Do you find yourself checking email , Facebook, Twitter, etc when you're supposed to be writing? Of course you do! And if you're like me, you probably bemoan the fact that you need to have the Internet on to research bits of info as you write and so the temptation to 'peek' at other stuff can't be circumvented. Enter Self Control--it blocks your Facebook, Email, etc for a set period of time that you choose while leaving your Internet accessible. No more excuses! (Note: I just found this so haven't used it yet, but it looks great, doesn't it?)
Nonverbal Dictionary: Know all those non-verbal gestures (a blush, a bobbing Adam's apple, a chin jut or crossed arms, etc) that slip our minds when we need them most? Well this dictionary has got you covered. All the possible human gestures are explained and many shown, which makes it an excellent companion to the Emotion Thesaurus (in sidebar).

Synonyms for Commonly Used Words:
 Here's some alternatives for those bland or overused words we sometimes dump into our MSs like Bad, Get, Go, Have, Look, Move, Put, Take, Show, etc. Great for that final polish.

OneLook Reverse Dictionary:
 Okay, I'm breaking my rule on not posting anything I've linked to before, but ONLY because this resource is one I would crumple up and DIE without. I love how I can search for a word or idea that is kinda-sorta-ish what I need and then get a huge host of other words that are related to it. I use this often for my Thesaurus Posts, for example, because I can type in the subject I'm focusing on and often get a slew of content that is directly related to it.

Thanks so much to  and The Bookshelf Muse for allowing us to repost these great tips!  Have you found a certain link on the web that is like Braincandy for your writing?  Please share with us here in the comment section and above all, keep on writing!

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