Browsing Tag

tool time tuesday

Tool Time Tuesday: Mid-Year Review

Tool Time Tuesday

Every other Tuesday, we talk about the different tools available for writers to make life easier (theoretically 😉 ).

We’re going to do things a little different this week. We’re going to have a recap of the TTTs we’ve had this year. So if you missed one, here they all are:


We only had one TTT post in January, because it was a new feature, so Scrivener has this section all to itself! Scrivener is — hands-down — the best writing environment for me, and a lot of other authors. If you’ve found it intimidating, don’t worry. You don’t have to learn everything about it. Learn what you need to do your work, and don’t worry about the rest.

Tool Time Tuesday: Scrivener


The spotlight for February was on two of my absolute favorite tools ever: The Writing and Revisions Tracker Spreadsheet by Jamie Raintree and Write or Die 2 by DrWicked. The spreadsheet, if you missed that TTT, lets you track both word count of your draft and/or number of pages revised, not just for one project, but eight! If you geek out on spreadsheets like I do, you don’t want to miss this one!

Write or Die 2 is a fabulous tool that will show you exactly how many words you can write in a given time frame. This can be really important for planning your writing time, particularly if that time is limited. Plus. you can proudly boast of how many words you can get down in an hour when you’re actually writing and not cruising around Facebook 😉

Tool Time Tuesday: The Writing and Revisions Tracker Spreadsheet

Tool Time Tuesday: Write or Die 2


March saw a couple organizational tools: OneTab and Aeon Timeline 2. OneTab is great for organizing and keeping tabs on websites you want to read or have handy. Instead of keeping dozens of tabs open in your browser (I’m not the only one who does that, right? … Right?), you can send them all to OneTab and still have access to them later.

Photo courtesy of OneTab

Aeon Timeline 2 is amazing for keeping track of your story’s timeline, scenes, your characters, and the relationships between your characters. You’ll find it really helpful especially if you’re very visually oriented.

Tool Time Tuesday: OneTab

Tool Time Tuesday: Aeon Timeline 2 


Duotrope had April all to itself, due to my travel schedule. Duotrope is a subscription site which houses a database of markets, particularly (but not exclusively) for short stories. You can get information on the submission call, deadlines, guidelines, and if enough people have entered their information, how long it generally takes to get a response, how acceptance-friendly they are (or how exclusive, depending on your viewpoint), as well a lot of other information.

Tool Time Tuesday: Duotrope


We had another single-TTT month in May. And it was Writing Inspiration Month here. I posted about Ancient Origins, a website that tends to fire my imagination, even if its headlines are a little click-baity. There are a lot of interesting bits about archaeology, history, sociology. And it can fire your imagination to ask, “What if…?”

Tool Time Tuesday: Ancient Origins

Did you utilize any of the TTT tools this year? Got any writing-related tools or websites that you just can’t do without? Drop a comment below and let me know!


Stay awesome!




Photos courtesy of Jamie Raintree.

Tool Time Tuesday – Writing Inspiration Version: Ancient Origins

Tool Time Tuesday

Every other Tuesday, we talk about the different tools available for writers to make life easier (theoretically 😉 ).

Today’s Tool: Ancient Origins

Platform: browser

Cost: $0

What it does:

I love websites that kick start my creativity, that inspire my muse, and spawn ideas. Writing inspiration is a big thing for me!

I ran across this website because someone retweeted an interesting article. And then I got lost down the rabbit hole!

Now, I don’t take everything on this site as gospel. The titles are a bit click-baity and the writing is definitely sensationalist in nature. However, the stories are interesting. I use it as a jumping-off point. I find cool history to delve into, fascinating stories of people and events, fun posts about weird tools and implements.
This isn’t just for historical writing though. If you’re writing fantasy, you can definitely get ideas for how to create your governing system, or events that you can model for your own civilizations. There are some nice articles about unexplained phenomena — these can be the basis of horror stories, fantasies, or mysteries. You can take an old mystery and either modernize it or set a detective story in that era. You could even have that mystery come to haunt us in modern times.

You can definitely find some great writing inspiration here 🙂

Check out some sample headlines from Ancient Origins:

She Met the Devil, Escaped a Dragon, and Survived Several Attempts on Her Life: The Remarkable Story of St. Margaret of Antioch
Tibet’s Valley of the Kings: What Hidden Treasures Lie Within This Imperial Tibetan Graveyard?
The Ancient Kingdom of Colchis: A Legendary Land of Plenty, Conflict, and the Golden Fleece
The Brutality and Delicacy of Samurai Armor: Superior Protection with a God-like Aesthetic

Can you find writing inspiration in those? I can see it without even having read the articles! (But I do want to read the articles 😉 )

Where to get it: Click the linky

Do you have a writing tool that you absolutely can’t live without? Drop a line to me down below and tell me about it!


Stay awesome!




Photos courtesy of Ancient Origins.

Tool Time Tuesday: Duotrope.com

Tool Time Tuesday

Every other Tuesday, we talk about the different tools available for writers to make life easier (theoretically 😉 ).

This week’s TTT is more about a resource than a tool.

Today’s Tool: Duotrope.com

Platform: web browser

Cost: $5/month or $50/year + 7 day free trial


What it does: Duotrope has been around for a long time as a database of short story markets. You can find magazines, e-zines, and anthologies that are looking for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and even art.

Duotrope has a great search function that allows you to search by genre, market type (magazine, antho, etc), payment/royalties level, and a lot of other options.

If you’ve already got some stories written, or if you’re looking for inspiration, you can go to the Theme & Deadline Calendar. This gives you a listing of the publications with chronological deadline dates (upcoming) and the theme of the stories their looking for. I’ve used this for inspiration more than once!

Probably one of the most useful features beyond the search function is the ability to see how long a market takes to respond and what their acceptance rates are. Now, this isn’t reported by the market itself, but by Duotrope users (which means it’s only as accurate as people’s participation).

When you get a response from a market, you go to their Duotrope page and click the Submission/Response link on the right. It will take you to a form where you can enter all the relevant info: the piece of work you submitted (which you have to enter on a separate form, but which is kept, so once you enter it, if you submit to multiple markets, you can just choose that work), when you submitted it, when you got a response and what that response was. Then Duotrope compiles that information along with other people who’ve entered the stats (provided there is enough input data) and displays the totals on the market’s page.

For example, you can see stats for Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine below as of this writing:



What I’ve noted above are just the highlights. You can also find editor interviews, stats that show you the fastest responding markets, as well as what users favorited the most. There’s also a stats page that breaks things down into market types and whether they charge fees to read. So tons of great info!


Where to get it: At any browser near you! Duotrope.com

Do you have a writing tool that you absolutely can’t live without? Drop a line to me down below and tell me about it!


Stay awesome!




Photos courtesy of me!

Tool Time Tuesday: Aeon Timeline 2

Tool Time Tuesday

Every other Tuesday, we talk about the different tools available for writers to make life easier (theoretically 😉 ).

Today’s Tool: Aeon Timeline 2

Platform: Mac & Windows

Cost: $50 and comes with a 20 day free trial

What it does:

Lets you map the timeline of your story, along with all your characters and where they fit within that timeline. You can also manage the relationships among characters, all with a great visual display.

This is a really cool tool, especially if you’re writing a larger, complex story. You can create characters, include pivotal moments on their personal timelines, and track their appearances in your story.

Looks! Pictures! 🙂

Like to see what your characters look like? You can also include pics (and links) in your entries.

You can do the same with settings — create an entry for them and then associate scenes with that setting. You’ll never lose track of where an event happened in your story ever again!

Create characters, settings, and events.

As implied above, you also create events or scenes along your timeline, and you can see your entire story as it looks in time. Another cool feature of Aeon Timeline is the ability to nest events, so you can see exactly what contributes to each scene. This also is a great help in making sure you’ve closed all your subplots and don’t have plot holes.

When you create events or characters, you can give them a “birth date” and so you can track the age of the character or events through the entire story. And you’re not limited to our own time or our way of tracking time. If you’re working with a spec fic story, you can create your own calendar with your own dating system, as needed.

Aeon Timeline 2 & Scrivener! Two great tastes that taste great together 🙂

One of the coolest aspects of Aeon Timeline 2 (and what eventually led me to get it) is that it integrates with Scrivener, so you can have your entire timeline right there, as you write.

That was a huge factor in its overall use. I don’t really like having to open multiple files to handle a project. I like everything to be in a single place. And this integration allows that to happen for my timeline. Great, great perk of this software! 🙂

Where to get it: The Aeon Timeline website – A note: One cool aspect is that when you purchase the program through the website, it covers both Windows and Mac licenses, so you get copies of both. So while Aeon Timeline 2 is available in the Apple AppStore, if you download it from there, rather than the program’s website, you won’t be able to get a complimentary copy in Windows format. So just keep that in mind as you’re buying 🙂

What do you think about Aeon Timeline 2? Do you have a writing tool that you absolutely can’t live without? Drop a line to me down below and tell me about it!


Stay awesome!




Photos courtesy of Aeon Timeline.

Tool Time Tuesday! OneTab

Tool Time Tuesday

Every other Tuesday, we talk about the different writing and organizational tools available for writers to make life easier (theoretically 😉 ).

Today’s Tool: OneTab

Platform: This is a browser extension and is available for Chrome and Firefox. (Sorry, IE users!)

Cost: Free!

This one isn’t strictly writing related, but it’s a great organizational tool for your research or for when you have all those tabs open and are feeling really overwhelmed.

What it does:

OneTab gives you the ability to take all your open tabs and shrink them into a single, easily used webpage with links to each of your previous tabs. Here’s how it works:

To send all your open tabs to OneTab, simply click the funnel icon that shows up in your browser’s toolbar. This creates a Onetab with all of those sites in one grouping.

Photo courtesy of OneTab

To send a single tab to OneTab, right-click on the site and choose OneTab -> Send only this tab to OneTab. You also have the option to send all tabs except that one to OneTab, or all tabs to the right or left of that tab to OneTab.

Once your tabs are in OneTab, you can drag and drop to reorder them, including moving them to other groupings. The only way to create separate groupings, though, is to send more than one tab to OneTab. But once you’ve created the new grouping, moving the links is simple.

I really find this grouping feature to be the most useful, and I think it’s especially helpful for writers as an organizational tool. You can group all of your research tabs by subject; you can group together conferences and conventions; you can have an ongoing list of blogs you like to read. This makes OneTab pretty powerful for keeping all that information organized and easily accessible.


OneTab is defaulted to deleting the link once you click on it to open a tab, but you can disable this in the Options. What doing that means is you can have a grouping of commonly used links and keep it, without having to re-send it to OneTab every time you use it. If you choose to leave the default of deleting the link once it’s opened, you can always override that on an individual basis by right-clicking and opening the link in a new tab. This will keep a single link in OneTab without deleting it.

Want to share your OneTab? That’s super-easy. You can click on “Share all as web page” in the upper right hand corner. It will create a web page with all of your OneTab groupings/links on it. You can share by copy/pasting the URL or, if you want to share via your phone or tablet, you can scan a QR code to get the URL. Handy way to share your new organizational tool, huh?

Where to get it: You can get it for the Chrome browser or the Firefox browser.

Do you have a writing or organizational tool that you absolutely can’t live without?

Drop a line to me down below and tell me about it!


Stay awesome!




Tool Time Tuesday: Write or Die 2

Tool Time Tuesday, Writing

Tool Time Tuesday!

Every other Tuesday, we talk about the different tools available for writers to make life easier (theoretically 😉 ).

Today’s Writing Tool: Write or Die 2

Platform: web, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS

Cost: Free to use on the web or $20 for desktop versions or $9.99 for iOS

What this writing tool does: In short, it makes you write.

Write or Die is one of the writing tools that’s been in my box for a long time. I’ve been using the paid version since v1; and v2 has added some bells and whistles that I don’t really use much, but the strength of this tool is that it encourages you (very strongly, if you set it up that way) to stop lollygagging and actually get words down on the page. How does it do this? Well…

There are a lot of options for how it encourages you to write, which makes it really customizable as far as writing tools go. But the general gist is this: you tell it how long you want to write and what your word count goal is for that session. Then you tell it what consequences you want if you’re not writing. Version 2.0 also adds rewards for accomplishing your goal. I don’t use the rewards too much — which are mainly adding nice photos to your writing page or playing good sounds or music. I find these to be a distraction, so I don’t use them, but I am sure a lot of people love it. That’s what makes this a great writing tool. There’s something for everyone!

I respond better to consequences when it comes to keeping my fingers moving on the page and here there are a couple different options. You can go with Startle mode, which begins when you stop typing. You get a short grace period (which you set) and then your screen turns pink. It gets systematically darker over the seconds you continue to not-write, until it becomes bright red. At that point, the program starts making the most obnoxious noises. All this continues until you start typing again.

Kamikaze mode, which, of course, you can set (or not!) used to eat yWriting tool for the iPad and iPhone too!our words when you stopped typing. But Dr. Wicked has made a change there too. Now it just disemvowels your words. Yep. It removes all the vowels from your words. How’s that for freaky?

There are a lot of other little bells and whistles, like custom playlists and persistent writing stats to keep up with your productivity. It also tracks average words per minute, all time highs and lots of other stuff. It’s a really great little writing tool!

I definitely wouldn’t get through National Novel Writing Month without it! It’s also useful in one of the steps I outline in my post Get More Writing Time: Find It in the Margins that went up yesterday, as a matter of fact!

Where to get it: Write or Die 2

Do you use Write or Die? Let me know in the comments!

Do you have a writing tool that you absolutely can’t live without? Drop a line to me down below and tell me about it!

Stay awesome!




Photos courtesy of Dr. Wicked.

Tool Time Tuesday: The Writing & Revision Tracker Spreadsheet

Tool Time Tuesday

Every other Tuesday, we talk about the different tools available for writers to make life easier (theoretically 😉 ).

Today’s Tool: Jamie Raintree’s Writing & Revision Tracker Spreadsheet

Platform: Your favorite spreadsheet program

Cost: $8 — and SO worth it!


What it does: Allows you to track your daily writing on multiple projects, both new writing and revisions.


This stuff is amazeballs, no joke. Jamie’s spreadsheet allows you to set up to 8 different projects and create both overall and monthly goals for each (the monthly goals is new for 2017!).

Click for larger image

There are 12 monthly pages (obvs) and on each page, you have a calendar that shows you how many total words you’ve written each day on all projects, based on the chart you use on the lower half of the page. In the Writing column, you input the number of words you’ve written each day on that project. In the Revision column, you put the number of pages revised. I suppose you could do words, but that’s really hard to assess in revisions, so pages make much more sense. Then these are all totaled up across projects for the daily/weekly totals above.

In the top right quadrant of the monthly sheets, you get graphs showing your progress toward your monthly goal, color coded for each project.

The very last page is the Year End sheet, which shows you all your monthly totals, as well as the yearly total and the percentage complete based on the goal you set. You have this for both your writing and your revisions.

Click to enlarge

If you’re like me and you find motivation in visual signs of progress, this is the spreadsheet for you! It’s not always easy to see how far you are when you’re writing. But this tool really lets you see how great you’re doing (or where you need a bit more work 😉 )!

This sheet is always open on my desktop and I can’t recommend it enough!

Where to get it: You can find it at Jamie Raintree’s blog! She even has a video showing all the cool stuff it does. Tell her Venessa sent you 😉

When you do get it, let me know what you think about it in the comments!

Do you have a writing tool that you absolutely can’t live without? Drop a line to me down below and tell me about it!


Stay awesome!




Photos courtesy of Jamie Raintree.

Tool Time Tuesday: Scrivener

Tool Time Tuesday

Every other Tuesday, we talk about the different tools available for writers to make life easier (theoretically 😉 ).

Today’s Tool: Scrivener

Platform: Windows, Mac, iOS

Cost: $40 (Windows), $45 (Mac), $20 (iOS)

What it does:

Scrivener does it ALL! If you’re in writer circles, you’ve likely heard of Scrivener. It’s an all-in-one writing tool. I like to call it a digital writing notebook. In additional to housing your stories, it also can keep track of your character sketches, your settings, your outline (if you do that sort of thing 😉 ), and pretty much any research or background material you need to store for your writing. And it’s all kept in one place — your project.

Now, Scrivener does have a bit of a learning curve and can seem daunting when you first open it. But there are lots of tutorial videos scattered all over the net, as well as online courses you can take in order to learn more about it. But I think most writers can work out the basics in about thirty minutes. And then you can figure out the other things you want to use in bits and pieces.

Some awesome features:

  • Easy organization of research material — all in one place!
  • Split screen – you can view your research/background material/outline at the same time you’re writing your story
  • Corkboard – for those who are visually inclined and like to move things around; when you move your cards, it rearranges the writing too
  • Outliner – makes it easy to write from an outline
  • Text editor/compiler – you can write your story in whatever font you like with whatever spacing you want. When you print, you “compile” to a separate document for printing, rather than printing directly. This allows you to assign whatever formatting you want to the compiled document. There are even preset compiles for different e-book types!
  • Writing targets & statistics – this is one of my favorite parts! You can easily see how many works/characters you have in any given section or selection of sections. And you can set a target work/character count per section or even per day. Great accountability tool!
  • Full screen – for those of us easily distracted, the full screen mode blocks out everything else, so we can focus strictly on our writing
  • Automatic backups – never lose work again!

There are even more features than listed here! Collections, Scrivenings, Snapshots, etc.

I keep all my writing in Dropbox, so that I can access it anywhere and on any of my machines. I haven’t tried out Scrivener for iOS, since I’m an Android girl, but I’ve been using Scrivener for Windows for several years now and I do all my writing there, from stories to blog posts to class materials.

Where to get it:

Scrivener for Windows

Scrivener for MacOS

Scrivener for iOS

Do you use Scrivener? How do you like it?

If you don’t, are you planning to give it a try? Let me know in the comments!