Never did I think I would become such a lover of plotting websites, as I have always been and will always be a notebook fanatic. I use pen and paper for every part of a story, and they always boost my creativity more than using something on the computer.
But the advantages of using certain websites and online software cannot be ignored.
You can use digital tools only if that's your preference, or you can scribble out your wild thoughts in your notebook, and then transfer them to a more streamlined and organized software.
Not only can you use digital tools to make your thoughts neater and more easily accessible, but you can also use them as inspiration. Multiple websites, blogs, and digital tools were created with authors in mind. They have tips and tricks you can use to further your plot along and intensify it.
Don't have many plot points figured out yet? Some of these have prompts that can get your gears moving.
Many of these sites I knew about before writing this post, but through researching for this, I've discovered and fallen in love with even more.
So I hope that's the case for you all too!
These can both be used the same way. I have a whole other post about the many incredible uses of Pinterest for writers here, so I won't go into detail. Tumblr can be used the same way in that instead of users having boards, they have blogs. And these can be filled with prompts and advice on developing your plot.
This site is run by Faye, a psychology graduate, and focuses mainly on creating your best characters and thus, your best stories. I love her Inspiration Station, which is a page consisting only of resources and advice posts.
Well-Storied is a blog and advice treasure trove run by author Kristen Kieffer. It's a blog I can spend hours on and not regret it. From building a plot to anything else you could ever possibly need to write your story, you can find it here.
Another blog run by another author, Bryn Donovan uses her experiences and knowledge to teach other aspiring writers what she's learned. Filled with advice all the way from writing prompts to your final edits, it's a one-stop shop for writers.
Most writers are aware of National Novel Writing Month in November when writers around the globe band together to write their own 50,000-word novels in 30 days. But what you may not be aware of is their Nano prep page, which has tips and blog posts posted all year long to help writers prepare to achieve their goals in November.
The primary function of this site is an online course that writers can use to finish their novel. But their less hyped blog page is what I'm going to recommend to you. Filled to the brim with well thought out posts about anything writing-related, it can help you every step of the way.
This site is a God-send. Run by blogger Sara Ridley, you can find advice, incredible blog posts, and downloadable worksheets (most of which are free). I'm a part of her Writer's Tribe and am so glad I am.
If you're ever feeling really strapped for ideas, whether it be for your main plot or any other tiny ideas, generators can be a great tool. This is my favorite site for them. At this one site, you can generate random story ideas, choose a specific genre and have it create a random blurb, or even generate character names or song lyrics. Simply put, it's hella useful.
Similar to the last site I mentioned, this site has multiple generators to urge your story forward. There's one for plot ideas, for plot twists, and even first lines. They say their ideas may not make much sense but can get your creative gears working. And isn't that all you want?
As the name suggests, this is a site filled with-wait for it-writing prompts. While not a generator for the above two, this blog has a specific category filled with posts that'll prompt your writing. Some posts will give you specific dialogue to incorporate or simply a plot idea. Not only that, but the other writing categories on this site are just as useful.
This Tumblr page is incredible for super random ideas that could be applied to any sort of writing idea. With posts telling you to incorporate three certain things into a scene, or a certain type of character, this page is super entertaining to scroll through.
Using worksheets for your writing may seem a bit middle-school, but trust me, they work. I won't go into detail on each three of these websites because they each accomplish the same thing in their own genius way. But know they all have (FREE!) worksheets that can help you build your story's plot and anything after that as well.
If I were to truly express my love for this website, we'd be here all day. So I will simply leave it at this and also link you to a further in-depth post about it here. This website is the entrance gate to all things MBTI, which basically breaks down everyone's personality into--wait for it--one of sixteen personalities. It's the best way to create characters and, for those slightly narcissistic like me, learn more about yourself.
If you're writing a novel located in a real-life city, it needs to be accurate. You never know who'll be reading it and if they're from that city or not. My favorite way to do this is using Google Maps.
You can add favorites to the locations you'll use more than once, use the directions feature to get your character correctly from Point A to Point B, and even get inspiration for places in that city you could use in a scene.
Like the characters name generator I mentioned above, this site also features a setting name generator. If you choose to go the fictional setting route, this will be SO useful for naming all your story's locations.
I have yet to write a post solely on my love for this software, but trust me when I say it's coming. While not free, this software by Literature and Latte is something I splurged on a year or so ago and have never regretted (even when I was begging my mom for groceries).
It keeps everything for your story, including location notes & research, plot outlines, (literally EVERYTHING) in one easily accessible location.
Want to try a free trial? You can use my affiliate links if you'd like (or simply click the link above if you'd prefer). Here they are:
Created by a writer herself, this website contains multiple different plotting methods condensed into one "Novel Launcher" that will help you plan out your novel.
Like Scrivener, this software isn't free. Instead, it's a monthly subscription service that allows you to safely write your novel both online and offline. It's also filled with features such as distraction-free mode, chapter & scene breakdowns, as well as automatic backups to Google Drive and Dropbox.
This software offers three different versions, the most basic of which is free. Similar to both Scrivener and Novlr, it's a one-stop shop for everything your novel could need.
Outlining & Mapping
Trello is something I've always heard of but never tried for myself until researching for this blog post. It's simple but also incredibly useful and versatile, and I've already created a board for the novel I'm working on. The software consists of one main board that trickles into multiple sub-boards, all of which you can use for parts of your novel such as plot points, random ideas, and even character inspo.
Lucidchart is geared more toward visual people, those who'd rather lay all of their plot points in a diagram or flowchart. While they have paid accounts, you can also use the most basic account for free. I'm not a huge flowchart type of person, but I did test it out for this post and it was definitely easy to get the hang of.
And there they all are. My fingers are exhausted after typing all of this, but I know how useful this list could be to some of you writers out there. Simply researching for this post introduced me to new tools that I'm excited to learn more about.
Let me know in the comments some of your favorite online plotting tools. I'd love to check them out and maybe include them in another post like this down the line.
Thanks for reading, and happy writing!