There are so many wonderful online resources for writers out there. It’s overwhelming trying to figure out which websites or programs are actually worth your money.
I’m pretty cheap. I don’t like to spend money on things unless I know they are going to make my life significantly easier. But One Stop For Writers is the tool that I will tell any writer to get a subscription to.
Just for the record, neither One Stop For Writers, nor anyone associated with the company, paid me to do a review. I pay for my subscription and get no kickbacks. This is just a product I recently found and fell in love with and I wanted to spread the word.
What Is One Stop For Writers?
One Stop For Writers is a resource website created by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. You might have heard of them as the writers of The Emotion Thesaurus, The Negative Trait Thesaurus, and others in that series. (Side note: I met Angela at a writer’s conference last fall, and it’s safe to say I completely fangirled. I tried to play it cool. She’s so nice!)
I already swear by their books, so I was excited to see what they would bring to a writing app. Your subscription includes access to many of their thesauruses, including some that you can’t buy individually. There are also a ton of digital plotting tools and downloadable templates and resources. I’ll cover those in more detail below.
My Quest for the Perfect Timeline Tool
It’s no secret that a plot timeline is the most integral part of my planning process. I’ve written about it here before. It’s the only part of my process that I've done on paper.
But my last plot timeline got crinkled because my dog laid on it, and then my husband spilled something on it. I decided it was time to go digital.
I spent hours trying out different free tools and had just about given up when I saw Angela Ackerman had posted about One Stop For Writers and mentioned the timeline tool. I immediately signed up for the two-week trial and I haven't looked back!
What Makes It So Special?
The timeline tool isn't all One Stop For Writers has to offer. There are so many features that I can’t possibly do them all justice in this article, so I’ll go section by section based on the website and cover some of the highlights.
With your subscription, you get access to every one of the thesauruses that Angela and Becca have written. That is a total of fifteen!
It includes the big ones that you can buy individually like The Emotion Thesaurus, The Positive Trait Thesaurus, and The Emotional Wound Thesaurus. The Setting Thesaurus combines their published books on urban and rural settings.
And there are so many others! Do you struggle with weather and natural phenomena? There’s a thesaurus for that. Character motivations? Check. Physical features, talents and skills, textures? Check, check, check.
To access them on the site, hover over “Thesaurus Collections” and select the one you want from the list. There are also keyboard shortcuts that you can use to access it easier. A list of entries will pop up. Click the one you need, and it pulls right up.
I think the thesauruses alone make One Stop For Writers worth it, but there are many more brilliant features besides.
The Stacks is the section where every other resource lives. First up, there are checklists and tip sheets on everything from symbolism to describing breath. There are even tips on when to show and when to tell. I counted forty-four tip sheets and checklists.
Then there’s the idea generator. This page is really cute. It looks like dresser drawers that you pull out, where each drawer has a topic like emotional wounds, hobbies, and quirks. You click a drawer, and you’ll get three suggestions. Don’t like those? Click the drawer to close, then open it again.
If you prefer to print out plotting tools, there are several to download in PDF or Microsoft Word on the Templates and Worksheets page. But the real power lies in the digital plotting tools.
The character builder is the single-most detailed character creation form I have ever seen. It covers backstory, physical description, emotional wounds, daily life, and more. You can even upload pictures for each character!
Then there is the story map. This is based on Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure. You’ll fill in details about each part of the plot, and it generates a lovely, organized visual of your entire plot.
The scene maps are similar. The formal scene map allows you to add scenes and plan the motivations, conflicts, stakes, and other crucial features. The informal scene map is basically the same thing with easier-to-understand terms.
The timeline tool is effective because it’s so simple. You can add a date or heading, then add more detail. It arranges in a horizontal fashion, and it’s easy to rearrange the events.
The last digital plotting tool is the world building survey. You can create a detailed questionnaire for elements of your world, from a vast solar system to specific magical items. There's a list of questions for each element and you can even add your own questions. That’s a feature I’ve never seen on another program.
If all of that isn't enough, the Stack has a page full of tutorials on different elements of writing and plot. There are forty to choose from!
Form and Function as a Writing Website
Even though there are a ton of resources, One Stop For Writers is not cluttered. It’s got a clean, self-explanatory format. If you do need some help, the Information Desk section has everything you need for how to run the site.
Your Workspace is where you keep all of your completed or in-progress plotting. You can create a new project and store your character builders, scene maps, and everything else in that project. The Workspace also hides a couple of other features, like the Character Arc Progression Survey and Settings at a Glance to stop visuals getting too busy.
My one complaint is that One Stop For Writers isn’t quite one stop. If it had a novel-writing program built in, I would call it perfect.
Oh, and if you’re wondering: the ProWritingAid Chrome Extension works on the website, too.
The Price: Is It Worth It?
One Stop For Writers comes in at $9 USD a month. You can get a slight discount if you get the six-month or one-year subscription.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. You won’t find this many resources anywhere else. I would pay the price just for the thesauruses or the timeline, and they are constantly updating and expanding what’s available. If you're still not sure, why not take it for a test drive for two weeks?
Which feature would be the most helpful for you? Let me know in the comment section below.