Tools To Help You Get Started Writing

Once upon a time, there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

The Pixar story format.


What you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to write about an event in your life that made you feel some particular way. And what you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to get the audience to have that same feeling.

Pete Docter -Pixar director

If you're struggling with what to write, maybe a few minutes spent with these tools will get you started.

Sometimes starting on top of another work, like a magazine or a book, rather than on a blank piece of paper produces something interesting you wouldn't have thought of. Maybe a Palimpsest is something you could make. 

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In textual studies, a palimpsest is a manuscript page, either from a scroll or a book, from which the text has been scraped or washed off so that the page can be reused for another document.
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Partisan Thesaurus
It depends on which reference you use.
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Rory's Storycubes
Physical prompts to get that story started

Sometimes starting from another text can be really helpful. The Project Gutenberg has thousands of stories you can download and use for inspiration.

Simply find something that catches your eye and flip the genre, for example, Moby Dick but in space, or Alice in Wonderland as horror.


Almost everyone has at least a dozen excuses why they can't just write that thing they've been wanting to write. These tools can help you get started, keep going, or do more.


The Reedsy site has lots of wonderful writing prompts if you really have no idea where to start.

But if you know what you should be writing but the pesky internet keeps getting in the way.... KNUCKLE DOWN, turn off notifcations and try CalmlyWriter for a few hours.

If you know what to write, but can't find the words, try dictating your piece using the Dictation tool below, or Google Docs have a dictation feature in the menu Tools > Voice Typing. It's a surprisingly good way to get those first few paragraphs started.

If you want instead to just do a little every day, you might consider using Penzu, a blog-like personal diary, except the posts aren't published to the world. Dedicate a fixed amount of time every day to write what you can and at the end of the month you will be amazed at what you have produced.

And finally, Talk To Transformer is a fun way to let AI help your story along. 


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Talk To Transformer
See how a modern neural network completes your text. Type a custom snippet and see what is generated

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Thousands of writing prompts. Try one.

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Private Diary or Reflective Journal. Emails a useful "nag" message every day, which can be a useful reminder.

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Easy online dictation. Speech to text

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Character Generator
Creates characters, with characteristics you may use somehow.

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Minimalist distraction-free text editor. For when you just need to get on with it.

This tool also lets you save to Google Drive or to your desktop.