I’m always on the lookout for new online tools and awesome writing websites and I do my best to bookmark them as they are discovered so I can revisit them and share them in various places down the road.
So today I’m going to share five new writing sites, tools, resources and games that I have recently added to my long list of favorites.
I found this interesting experiment on StumbleUpon recently and had hours of fun playing around with it immediately afterwards. There went my afternoon, damn it!
While I won’t claim to have completely mastered this odd little tool, I’ve sure had fun trying to figure it out and find a legitimate use for it. While I was rather impressed with the homepage demo, I have yet to replicate the awesomeness myself.
Referring to itself as a collection of tools to create expanding texts, that’s pretty much exactly what it allows you to do. What starts out as a mere three word sentence (“I made tea”) expands until it reads several paragraphs long and tells an entire little story.
You’re only allowed to use 140 characters in the starting sentence, so it’s the same as if you were composing a tweet, which I’ve never been a huge fan of doing because I hate the ridiculous character limitation.
Nevertheless, I tried plugging in some of my own quotes by cutting them down to the fewest possible words that still made a coherent sentence and then going back and adding the rest so that it appeared when you clicked on the original words to expand the rest.
Here are one of my own examples.
The original sentence reads:
“No one knows what they do in a situation they are in.”
Six clicks later and it becomes:
“No one truly knows what they will do in a certain situation until they are actually in it.”
This one is especially fun. Are you into writing poetry? If so, you’ll want to be sure and check out my recent post with advice for poets, but after you’re done reading that, head on over to play a round of Haiku Hero to get your poetic juices flowing.
With three different modes of play and three levels of difficulty to choose from, I opted to play the hardest setting in the Survival mode myself.
The game gives you challenging rules that you are supposed to follow, such as using lots of a certain letter or only using words with less than two syllables total in your haiku.
After each round, it gives you a score based on how well you stuck to the rules and you keep getting new poem assignments until your time runs out. I did pretty well and thought it was a really fun game that requires flexing your mental muscles and coming up with creative poetry.
You gotta love the play on words here, right? Memeoirs is a neat service that turns your emails into a print book that you can order from their website.
So we’ll talk the sweet aspects first. They support all major free web-based email services including gmail, AOL, Yahoo and AIM. You login to your account through their website and choose which contacts you want included in the book and then specify a time frame.
Then they generate a print ready book made up of all the emails from that time and between you and the selected contacts.
I’m probably stating the obvious when I say that this would make an awesome fucking gift for someone special, especially considering you can personalize it so that it only contains the emails between you and the person of your choice.
The only major downside I noticed was that you have to provide a rather large image file for the book cover and it must be the right dimensions. In fact, I think you have to provide the image files for the front back and the whole shebang.
So unless you’re a graphic designer or know your way around Photoshop, that might be a bit of a pain since you wouldn’t want to order a book with a shitty looking cover. You could probably outsource it on Fiverr for cheap though.
The Naipaul Test
Okay, this one is a little different than the others but I found it somewhat fascinating. Apparently some pretentious man claimed that women are inferior writers and made a bold statement about his own flawless ability to determine the gender of a writer within a paragraph or two.
I’m not sure I buy it. He obviously sounds like a freakin’ moron, but someone was cool enough to put together this little test to see if you are able to tell female from male by reading just a paragraph of fiction.
I scored horribly on it myself, to be honest. I doubt anyone will do particularly well at this without cheating. Share your score in the comments if you take it.
Test Your Vocab
Ever wondered how many words you know? This site aims to help give you an estimate based on a fairly quick and easy test in which you simply check the box next to words which you know the definition of, leaving the ones you are unsure of unchecked.
Any native English speaker should definitely check every box on the first page of the test, as they start out incredibly easy and basic. The next page, however, is full of shit that I either have never seen at all or which I’ve seen but would not be confident enough of its definition to use it in speech or in writing.
The damn test told me I only have 30,900 words at my disposal, which doesn’t seem like that many to me. Then again, I figured it would be considerably less than that. I figured somewhere in the range of 2 – 4 words, at most. Fuck and shit being the two most familiar to me. I feel like an overachiever.