Diving For Pearls

Online writers' resources by Ingrid Bruck

Ingrid Bruck is an editor at Between These Shores.  She was a featured writer in BTSA Issue #2. Her column is devoted to online writer resources. She found her own writer support community online. Writing this column is one way of "paying it forward". 

Diving for Pearls: Online Writers Resources

BTS Books strives to be a writers resource. Toward that end, we invite writers to share their information, link, and news of interest for the literary community. 

Email your pearls of resources for writers to:

Ingrid Bruck, Network and Resource Editor


May 2020

Words Words Words: Online Writing Resources



When you write, you orchestrate in words. Many online resources are available to help you.


After your first draft is finished, it’s time to edit. You review every word and image in the poem. Trim off the fat. Make each word earn its place. You ask yourself, Are the verbs muscular? The words, latinate? Can you hear music? Does light dance in the words?  Can you taste, smell and touch them? Do the words convey magic? Or trip your tongue and make you stumble? Have you found the perfect words? Until you do, the writing is not finished.


There’s a lot of online resources to help with better word choices. These tools are sources for nous, adjectives and verbs with spark and heft. Use these online tools to pare down your words, find the core of your work, showcase the dance, the fight, the flash of ah-hah and Oh! 


Online word writing tools:


Use an online dictionary to check out a word’s meaning. Merriam Webster and Cambridge English Dictionary are two good ones. Example: What’s the meaning of the word “rain”?



Use a synonym or antonym finder to avoid word repetition and keep your word selections fresh. A synonym is a word with a similar meaning; antonym means the opposite, a great resource when you are seeking juxtaposition. I often use Merriam Webster Thesaurus and thesaurus.com.  Some writers I know favor PowerThesaurus. Example: Search for synonyms of the word “rain.”  https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/rain.  https://www.thesaurus.com/browse/rain.  https://www.powerthesaurus.org/rain/synonyms


Visual dictionaries are great for obtaining specific vocabulary associated with a word. Say you are writing an extended metaphor about a concrete object, go to Visuwords Online Graphical Dictionary. Example: rain https://visuwords.com/rain   Or search VisualDictionaryOnline.  http://www.visualdictionaryonline.com/  Note: this program requires AdobeFlash to play.


OneLook is a tool to help you find associated words, phrases and near-rhymes by typing the word in the search box, adding an asterisk (before/after). Word associations can deepen your writing. Example !: rain* Yields: https://onelook.com/?w=rain*&ls=a. Example 22:  *rain  Results:  https://onelook.com/?w=rain*&ls=a


Homonyms are words that sound the same but have different meanings. These words help add layers of meaning to what you are writing and broaden the scope of your writing. Check out : Homonyms: 150 words with more than one meaning. http://home.alphalink.com.au/~umbidas/homonym_main.htm


Wordnik. Use Wordnik to shake up your word choices. This resource contains noun/verb forms, meaning, synonyms, etymologies, literary examples.  Example: rain. https://www.wordnik.com/words/rain


For pure etymology, a review of linguistic history and usage examples, a go-to source for many is Online Etymology Dictionary. Finding suitable word associations can add depth and multiple meanings to your words. Example: rain. https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=rain


Rhyming words or near-rhymes are necessary for many types of form poems. RhymeZone is a great source for rhymes, near rhymes, phrases and homophones. Example: rain. https://www.rhymezone.com/r/rhyme.cgi?Word=rain&typeofrhyme=perfect&org1=syl&org2=l&org3=y

The search for rain includes ten different lists by word length (1-10 syllables).  


Working with a form like a sestina, you need good words that will play off each other. To generate some words for a start, pull out one of your failed poems and enter the text into a Word Cloud Generator.  WordItOut is a good one. The program generates a picture map of the most used words. To see how this works, place the text in the search box. Example: Take the text of Mary Oliver’s Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me and generate a word cloud.  https://worditout.com/word-cloud/create


Want to add the surreal or magical realism to your words? Try incorporating seven or more words produced by RandomWordGenerator.  https://randomwordgenerator.com/


Does something you wrote appear tired or pedestrian? Want a mod-feel and post modern snap? Take a failed draft and spice up the nouns with the N+7 Procedure of Oulipo, a program that substitutes each noun with the seventh word below it in the dictionary to create a startling word effect. You may wish to work some of the generated words into your finished draft.  See:   http://presurfer.blogspot.com/2013/01/poetry-generator-n7-procedure.html


Do you want more word tools? Trisch Hopkinson wrote, 10 of the coolest online word tools for writers/poets.  https://trishhopkinson.com/2019/11/09/10-of-the-coolest-online-word-tools-for-writers-poets/

And Don't Forget...

High Quality Journals (No Fee to Submit)


Between These Shores Annual- Open: January 1 - June 30, 2020



Gold Dust Magazine  -  two editions per year, in June and December. They don't accept simultaneous submissions and recommend you submit two to three months prior to the publication dates.     http://www.golddustmagazine.co.uk/Writers.htm


Poetry Breakfast- Subscribe for a daily poem in your inbox. Submission Guideline:



Rat’s Ass Review- Open: Aug. 1-Sept. 30, 2019  Those published receive an invitation from Editor Roderick Bates to join a fine workshopping site.   



Verse-Virtual— supportive poetry’s community that accepts submissions the first ten days of the month.   https://www.verse-virtual.com/submit.html


General Information About Where to Submit (Fee & Free to Submit)

Submishmash Weekly by Submittable- subscribe to receive the posts  


Entropy Magazine: Where to Submit: June, July & August 2019



Erika Dreifus- subscribe to Practicing Writing Blog



Trisch Hopkinson- subscribe to her writer’s blog - Trisch emails weekly blasts of information about writer opportunities  https://trishhopkinson.com


NewPages - subscribe to receive information about writer opportunities and places to submit https://npofficespace.com/newpages-newsletter/

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