Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Future Writing Tools

Or perhaps some of the list below exist already and I just haven’t heard of them yet? (In this ever-changing digital/virtual world, I try not to assume that a particular tool hasn’t already been created.) We authors already compile software packages and bookmarks of web sites that help us do our jobs more efficiently, custom-tailored to our interest areas or current projects. 

For example, lately I've been needing some Internet-related terminology and have been using NetLingo, which has several interesting options for finding terms and acronyms. Have you ever heard of a synthespian? How about a metoobie? How about a square-headed spouse? If not, browse awhile or subscribe to their word of the day and you may find yourself joining a collaboratory

So here is my wish list, and if any of these already exists, by all means let me know. 

The Readerator: Submit your latest draft to this online system and receive quick feedback on its quality including uniqueness, objectivity, accuracy, organization, flow, pacing, humor, and whatever other qualities you specify. 100% confidentiality is guaranteed. Of highest importance is the tactfulness of the Readerator’s response, naturally.

Word Volunteer: This on-the-fly handy feature in your word processor suggests alternatives to overly used words in your manuscript. “Pardon the interruption, but you’ve used confuse twice already. Would you like to substitute baffle, perplex, or flummox?

Pubalyzer: This handy service reads all existing works on your topic so you can avoid duplicating the angle of already-existing books, ebooks, etc. Reading level, type of illustrations (if any), sales figures, awards won, and many other aspects would be included.

The Anachronixer: With this technology, you can avoid mentioning a song from 1962 in a story set in 1961 and other temporal glitches.

The Deflattener: This search feature finds dull passages so you can liven them up with your preferred method.

Adverb Alerter: Do you tend to become horrendously, heartbreakingly devoted to your wonderfully-written descriptively delicious words the moment they appear on the screen? This is great way to tone down that purple prose. At least to lavender.

CommaFix: Please help me, I often have no idea where to put or not put them.

Undoubtedly there are many more tools waiting to be developed, but this is a good start. By all means add your own suggestions... the programmers out there would probably enjoy a good challenge.


Carol Hinz said...

I love these! I could sometimes use a Levelator. It would automatically analyize the reading level of a text and suggest changes for how to get it to the target reading level without sacrificing content or flow.

Gretchen Woelfle said...

LOL, Loreen. How about a Nodistractionator that alters your brain waves so that you don't even want to check email or the internet until a predetermined amount of writing has been done?

Unknown said...

As you can see I used “handy” twice in a row, which is why something must be done. I've already thought of a better name for the Word Volunteer... how about the RepeaterDeleter? Anyway, I would definitely use the Levelator and the Nodistractionator, too!

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Word Volunteer is a great one. I try not to repeat words (especially verbs) in a picture book manuscript, but you don't want to have to search for and replace each one individually.