The days of the old pencil to paper technique for mind mapping to start a writing project is on its way out with the creation of websites such as www.bubbl.us and www.mind42.com. It doesn’t take much to get started with either one, and they work similar to Microsoft Paint with a very simple point and click interface that will remind you of the pen/paper technique.
Search engines such as google.com are used to find anything and everything you need to know to research your writing project, especially geographic information, actual dates or specific references, and languages and customs, too.
Once your research is complete and you’re building your story, naming your characters can be a challenge. Go to websites such as www.babynames.com to find not only names but their meanings, too, because you might just come up with something that can add a double meaning and an extra level of depth to the eccentric villain.
Good writing is at the top of your list, and there are some great software products for authors that will help you. Microsoft Word is very useful. It’s a great word processing tool and includes features for spelling and grammar check, identifying word count, and formatting. It even includes built-in link to a dictionary and thesaurus. Page sizes can be created that are compatible with standard book sizes so you can see how the words will fit on the actual pages. You can also track changes as you re-edit.
A comparable software specifically designed for the writer is Storybook. Storybook is a free novel-writing tool for creative writers, novelists and authors. It’s great at helping you to keep an overview of your multiple plot lines while you’re writing, and you can track your central characters, minor characters, and locations as well. Plus, if it crashes mid-sentence, each input you entered is automatically saved so you won't lose any data. Download a free copy and check it out.
Finally, check out the great self-publishing sites that offer print-on-demand services, such as www.lulu.com and www.inkubook.com, to get your work to the masses.
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