All work and no play makes Jack and any other writer a dull writer. And that's where this weeks websites come to the rescue. Plus, while playing, there's no telling what ideas may pop up.
First, Seventh Sanctum. (www.seventhsanctum.com) I love this site and could spend hours there playing with their generators. Actually, I have spent hours there, the time just seems to fly by. At Seventh Sanctum, you'll find dozens of generators for characters, places, names, skills, beings, organizations and much more. For example, clicking on "setting" gets you generators for adventure sites, lost civilizations, outer planes, realms, rooms (which is really cool) and tavern names. Some of the ideas/names generated won't be useable but may spark others. The pirate ship name generator is great too.
If you get stuck, you can always click on "writing" and get quick story ideas, themes or a writing challenge.
Next, Wordle. (www.wordle.net) This tool generates word clouds highlighting the words used most in text you provide. One writer I know uses this to come up with ideas by putting in poetry and looking for interesting word combinations or themes. Another use is to find possible titles since the most common, most frequently used words are emphasized. It's an interesting way to see your story. These designs can be printed out and used for whatever you like. Perhaps a t-shirt...
And for some inspiration, create your own newspaper headline at Fodey. (http://www.fodey.com/generators/newspaper/snippet.asp) Enter the name of the newspaper you like, add some text and you're a headliner.
Now, go play. But only for a little while. You've got work to do. :-)
** Originally published in the Long Ridge Writer's Group Newsletter on Jan. 17, 2011