Listed here are a number of online resources that should be of use to writers. Resources range from online dictionaries to software that might help you organise or backup your writing. I’ve also listed some books that any aspiring author should at least take a look at.
For ease of use this list is divided into sections, with the links organised accordingly. Most of the links are UK-based, but all should be relevant to writers from any country. Except where indicated, all of these resources are free to access and use. I have only included paid resources that I am certain are worth the money they cost to access.
If you can think of a resource for writers that might be at home on the list, please drop me an email.
Spelling, Punctuation And Grammar
An online textbook covering all aspects of punctuation use, with clear explanations and examples for each.
A database of often-confused words. It provides definitions and clarification for each entry.
The online presence of “The world’s most trusted dictionaries“. The site allows you to look up words in English and other European languages.
An online dictionary with a search function that allows you to enter a definition or concept and locate a suitable word for it. For example, a search for “barrel maker” leads to the word “cooper”.
A comprehensive and surprisingly up-to-date guide to slang. An international user-edited resource. Although somewhat crass at times it is often the quickest way to find the meaning of a new slang word.
Writing Guides And Tools
The Bookshelf Muse provides a thesaurus with a difference. It lists a wide range of emotions along with the physical actions that can be used to show each one.
A comprehensive, sortable database of UK literary agents and publishers. Requires a small yearly fee, but is one the best resources available for finding a literary agent.
A comprehensive listing of literary magazines and small presses. Frequently updated and with in-depth statistics. One of the best ways to discover new publications. Requires a monthly fee.
William Shun provides a comprehensive guide to formatting all different kinds of manuscripts, including templates and printable examples.
An excellent resource that lists agents and publishers and flags up those that might be less than reputable, as well as listing outright scams.
A directory of publishers and literary magazines, with a particular focus on genre writing. Regularly updated, and carries listings organised into paying and non-paying categories.
A powerful and comprehensive ebook library manager. Allows you to store, convert and edit most formats of ebook on your computer. Free and open source.
A free suite of software including a scriptwriting package and several media pre-production tools. Most likely to be of use to screenwriters.
A minimalist “writing environment” free from some of the distractions provided by more fully-featured word processors. Allows you to focus entirely on what you are writing.
This service provides free online storage, and allows you to access your files from any computer. Excellent for making backups.
An online word processor. Useful for saving your documents so that they can be accessed from several computers, or collaborating remotely with others.
A freeware alternative to Microsoft products. WRITER (part of the Open Office suite of programs) is a fully-featured word processor.
An open-source desktop publishing program. Very versatile and easy to use, although it still suffers from some bugs and errors.
A writing programme that allows you to organise chapters and research materials with ease. Available to try for thirty days, but thereafter requires a one-off payment.
A blog publishing platform. You will require your own web hosting in order to use this software. Various plugins make this a very versatile tool.
A free online encyclopaedia. Useful for research, although it is important to remember that articles may be edited by anyone and as such are not always reliable. It is worth checking sources before using any information.
A guide to writing by best-selling author Stephen King. Provides straightforward, practical advice about writing, as well as a partial autobiography of King himself.
Invaluable and concise tips on how to write in a clear and focussed fashion. Essential reading for all writers, although much of the advice within applies more to essay writing than it does to fiction or poetry.
A sensible discussion about the best way to run a writers’ workshop, along with an introduction to freewriting and a complete theory on writing.
Lists many publications and publishers to be found in the UK. The first stop for any writer looking to publish their work. A new edition is brought out every year.