The Letter Writer
Image by rita banerji via Flickr

This is a guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes for OnlineCollege.org.

Technology has made it much easier for writers to research, create, and publish poems, plays, novels, essays, and short stories. The web is full of free writing software, brainstorming tools, outlining applications, grammar guides, and other hi-tech tools designed to make writing sessions less complicated and more productive. Here is a list of 20 hi-tech tools and resources that almost any writer can use.

  1. yWriter- Designed specifically for novel writers, this writing software splits your manuscript into scenes and chapters. yWriter has an easy-to-use interface and is free to download.
  2. RoughDraft- RoughDraft is a free word processor for writers. Features include a built-in grammar checker and spellchecker, instant back-up, a simple print system, importing capabilities, shortcut keys, a comprehensive help system, and special modes for plays, screenplays, novels, articles, and short stories.
  3. OpenOffice- OpenOffice is an excellent open source suite of office tools for writers. It includes a word processor, spreadsheet maker, database creator, and more.
  4. Writeboard- Writeboard is a web-based whiteboard that’s perfect for collaborative writers. It can be used to collaborate on copy and compare different versions of a document.
  5. KTouch- KTouch is a free touch-type program that can help writers get more done. The program teaches users how to type faster and more accurately.
  6. Evernote- This free note taking system is great for writers who want to outline their writing, write character notes, or quickly jot down ideas for later use. Evernote can also be used to clip and share notes on the web.
  7. Remember The Milk- Although this app wasn’t created specifically for writers, it does work well for creating an online writing schedule or to-do list. Remember The Milk will even send you reminders via email, SMS, or IM.
  8. Mindmeister- Mindmeister is a free mind mapping tool that can be used to brainstorm and create visual outlines.
  9. LooseStitch- LooseStitch is a good place for writers to brainstorm, create outlines, fine tune ideas, and get feedback from editors or friends.
  10. My Writers Circle- My Writers Circleis an online forum for writers. The forum offers a place to chat, ask questions, find jobs, get critiques, and much more.
  11. The Imagination Prompt Generator- This free generator for writers prompts the imagination with a starting sentence, phrase, or idea.
  12. The Story Starter- With more than 300 million “first sentences,” The Story Starter is one of the best places online for writers to get new ideas and writing prompts.
  13. Glypho- Glypho is a great practice site for writers. Users can jot down a story concept, get plot and character ideas from people around the world, and work with other people to create a collaborative novel.
  14. VisuWords- VisuWords is a graphical dictionary/thesaurus for people who love words. It defines words and displays associated words and concepts.
  15. Merriam-Webster — America’s foremost publisher of language-related reference materials provides one of the best dictionaries and thesauruses available for free on the web. The site also has other resources writers will enjoy, such as a vocabulary-building word of the day and free word games.
  16. Urban Dictionary- Unlike most dictionaries, the Urban Dictionary focuses on defining slang words and terms.
  17. Grammar Girl- The Grammar Girl podcast is perfect for writers who want to improve their grammar and sentence structure. Each podcast episode features a simple trick for remembering the most pesky grammar rules.
  18. Writer’s FM- Created specifically for writers, this online radio station broadcasts music, author interviews, and tips to get published.
  19. Book Marketing Network- The Book Marketing Network is an online social network for authors and publishers.
  20. Booksie — Writers can use Booksie to create and publish novels, stories, poems, and other written works. Booksie allows users to track readers, receive and respond to comments, build an online profile, and communicate with a fan base.

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