Tag Archives: workflowy

My Top 5 Writing Tools

Today I’m sharing some of the tools I use to write (apart from, you know, a laptop and Microsoft Word). I used to think that I didn’t need any extra things to write, and that just over-complicates things – but these really streamline the process and keep things organised.

Some of these were recommended by Ava Jae (who has basically the best writing blog ever. Follow her.)


Workflowy

This is such a simple concept for a website, but it’s completely changed my work life. I must use it twenty times a day. It’s literally just a To Do list, with expandable and hidden bullet points that you can manipulate according to what you’re working on.

My favourite thing about it is that it’s an app too, that syncs automatically with the website. Like a dork, for years I’ve been sending myself emails of my To Do lists to get them from my phone to my computer. This does that for me automatically now! No more emails to myself! I’m so happy!!

Every time I have a new little bit of an idea for a project, I write it in here first, and later compile it into my word documents. This is extra handy as I usually come up with ideas late at night or while reading other books, rather than when I’m sitting at my computer ‘working’!

I also use it to compile links of things I want to look at on a later date, which might be useful when writing, like this list of NASA sci fi terms.

Here’s my current writing list:

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myWriteClub

This is a website for writers which lets you personalise goals for writing or editing, and since I started using this site, it’s become a vital part of my writing routine. It has a lot of the same features as the NaNoWriMo website, but it’s available all year long and has less pressure.

It helps me keep organised, stops me feeling overwhelmed or panicking about how little time I have left to do things. Here are some of my goals. If you use it, you can add me as a friend here.

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Tumblr

This might not seem like an obvious one, but tumblr is actually the most inspiring and creative writing tool I have. I tag everything that reminds me of my books on my blog, and whenever I need inspiration or get stuck, I scroll through them for ideas.

Here’s some of my tags: The Last Beginning, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Ghost House.

The Emotion Thesaurus

13554235One of the biggest problem areas for writers is conveying a character’s emotions to the reader in a unique, compelling way. This book comes to the rescue by highlighting 75 emotions and listing the possible body language cues, thoughts, and visceral responses for each.

This writing tool encourages authors to show, not tell emotion and is a creative brainstorming resource for any fiction project.

There’s a whole series of these ‘writer’s guides’, and I’m not convinced by most of them, but this one is really useful. It’s often hard to isolate the physical reactions of people’s emotions, and this is a collection of lists of possible reactions. I keep it by my desk and flick through it when I need a description other than ‘he sighed’ or ‘she let out a breath’. Very useful.

Amazon | Book Depository | Foyles

Ambient Noise Generator

I’m currently doing my final set of edits on my third book, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. It’s set entirely on a spaceship, so I’ve been listening to this ambient spaceship noise generator constantly. It’s like white noise, but more atmospheric. It really helps me focus. I love this cave water one too (although my mum keeps telling me to turn it off because it makes her need to wee!).


In other news: New event announced at Waterstones Birmingham – Michelle Toy in conversation with Jennifer Niven and Lauren James,  18th November, 6.30pm, – Tickets available here.

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Superstar authors Jennifer Niven and Lauren James join us for an exciting evening of conversation with Tales Of Yesterday Blogger – Michelle Toy! They’ll be discussing the trials and tribulations of being a teenager of today, as well as first-loves, mental health and time travel! Expect plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and some serious business, ask your burning questions and get your books signed.

Jennifer Niven is the author behind the tear-jerkers All the Bright Placesand Holding Up The Universe. Lauren James is the author of the time travelling-romance duology, The Next Together and The Last BeginningThis event is £3. (ticket price redeemable against a copy of one book)

I’m VERY excited about this!

My Kate/Matt short story is now up on Wattpad. If you use the site, please vote it up for me? Thank you!

I love this blog post by Non Pratt.

I’m obsessed with this book:

Finally: I’m so sorry, America. ❤

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August favourites | WorkFlowy | Crazy Ex Girlfriend | As I Descended

Wow, it feels like a while since I did a proper one of these! I had to cut down this list so much because it was just getting ridiculous….why do I like so many things, really Lauren really.


Musical: The Lion King

I’ve been putting off going to see this for yeaaaars because tickets are over £50 and it never seemed worth it when you can just watch the film? But my friend and I went for our birthdays and it is excelllenttttttt. I cried within the first thirty seconds. Literally, as soon as the Circle of Life started playing and all the animals came out, I was bawling.

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THEY’RE SO MAJESTIC, HOW CAN YOU NOT CRY.

I cried when it played at the end too. It’s just so nostalgic – and it builds so much on the original! It’s got this excellent rustic aesthetic, and it embraces a lot more African culture than the film.

I went to see Aladdin too, which was also amazing. I hadn’t realised the Disney IRL musicals were so good. They’re a must-see for me from now on. If you can, get tickets.

TV Show: Crazy Ex-girlfriend

This TV show is on Netflix (those magical, golden words), and it’s just about to start the second series. I’m so excited I’m incandescent. It’s weird and excellent and so female focused that it’s a bit overwhelming to watch. Becky is such a flawed and complex character and I adore her. She’s a mess, but I support her in (some of) the things she does.

 

There’s one or two songs per episode, and they’re always a different musical genre, and they get better and better throughout the series. They pick some really great topics too, like UTIs and Heavy Boobs. There’s even a Hamilton style cabinet rap battle!!

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I have two favourite songs,  this one about getting a bad grade and this one about obsessive girl crushes.

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Also: THESE TWO. BLESS.

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Website/App: WorkFlowy

This is such a simple concept for a website, but it’s completely changed my work life. I must use it twenty times a day. It’s literally just a To Do list, with expandable and hidden bullet points that you can manipulate according to what you’re working on.

workflowy

Example from the website, obvs. My own list is way more scandalous. 

My favourite thing about it is that it’s an app too, that syncs automatically with the website. Like a dork, for years I’ve been sending myself emails of my To Do lists to get them from my phone to my computer. This does that for me automatically now! No more emails to myself! I’m so happy!!

I’ve heard people are using it for plotting stories too, which is an excellent idea as you can zoom in on particular plot points in as much detail as you want, and then zoom out again to view the general outline. Next time I plot a project, this will be my first port of call.

Book: The Last Beginning

In case you somehow missed it, I GOT MY FIRST COPY OF THE LAST BEGINNING.

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Isn’t it stunning? Isn’t it glorious? Isn’t it everything your heart has ever wanted? (Yes.) Only 20 days until its released and in your hands too! (Please buy it. I’m so proud of it.)

If that doesn’t count as a favourite, I guessss I can name a book written by someone else too. Sigh.

Book rec for real this time: As I Descended by Robin Talley

28218948.jpgThis retelling of Macbeth changed my liiife. It’s my dream read. Shakespeare and murder and problematic faves and hauntings and psychological breakdowns.

Maria (Macbeth) and Lily (the scheming Lady Macbeth) start on a path similar to the play – they are inspired to try to take down a competitor because of a prophecy told to them by a ghost (during a terrifying and amazing seance!).

From then on, it diverges a lot from the play based on the setting (a boarding school), the murder method (I’m going to leave this a surprise) and the characters (who are all SO COOL).

I honestly don’t want to say much more, because the joy is partly in working out how things are adapted from the play. It’s an incredibly nuanced reading experience, because you experience the confused mental breakdowns of all the characters through the prose. It’s so well crafted, I highlighted a line on every other page.

Lily is my now-and-forever favourite. She’s disabled, obsessed with achieving her goals, and completely unafraid of MURDER if it means helping her girlfriend. The bloodstained hands are so well done too. Agrh, Robin Talley!! You’re so great!


In other news: You can vote for me in Maximum Pop!’s poll on the best debut of the year (I KNOW.) until 30th September. I’d love it if you did!

I did an interview with What’s On and another for the YA Shot blog tour.

I’m obsessed with this picture of my new character Clove from The Last Beginning, drawn by my mate Sarah for my birthday!!! Clove is a grumpy computer programmer who knits to control her hyperactivity. She’s also got a crush on this girl she keeps seeing around campus, as seen sitting behind her…. 👭

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Finally – if you’re excited for The Last Beginning, you may just want to subscribe to my blog by email, which you can do on the right hand side of my blog. There’s some exciting things coming up over the few weeks, including some exciting announcements…!

Previous favourites: April | May | June | July | August | September |October |November |December |January |February | March | April | May | June | July


The Last Beginning will be published by Walker Books in the UK and Australia on 6th October 2016. It will be released in the US in Fall 2017 by Sky Pony Press.

Amazon UK | Book Depository | Waterstones | Foyles  | Hive 

You can add the book on Goodreads or subscribe to my mailing list for updates, or read the prologue on Wattpad.

More extras:

A rebloggable version of this post can be found here.