A recent search for a specific type of site to help me build new characters led me down a rabbit hole. Normally, that would make me much less productive, but I have found a treasure trove of websites for writers.
Bring Characters/Places to Life
There are a few different places you can use to create a picture of something entirely new. I love this site for making character pictures as references, instead of stock photos or whatever pops up on Google Images.
thispersondoesnotexist: every time you reload the page, this site generates a headshot of someone who doesn't exist. This is great if you're thinking about a character's personality or age and don't have specifics for their facial features yet.
Night Cafe: this is an AI art generator that takes your text prompt and generates an image for it. I tried it for various scenery, like "forest" or "cottage." It takes a minute for your requested photo to load, but no more than maybe five for the program to finish the picture.
Art Breeder: this website has endless images of people, places, and general things. Users can blend photos to create something new and curious visitors can browse/download those images without creating an account. (But if you do want to make an account to create your own, it's free!)
Find Random Places on Earth
You might prefer to set a story in a real-life environment so you can reference that place's weather, seasons, small-town vibe, or whatever you like. If that's the case, try:
MapCrunch: the homepage generates a new location each day and gives the location/GPS info in the top left of the screen. To see more images from previous days, hit "Gallery" in the top left.
Atlas Obscura: hover over or tap the "Places" tab, then hit "Random Place." A new page will load with a randomly generated location on the planet, provide a Google Maps link, and tell you a little bit about the place.
Random World Cities: this site makes randomly selected lists of global cities. Six appear for each search, although you'll have to look them up to find more information about each place. You can also use the site to have it select countries, US cities or US states too.
Vary Your Wording
Thesauruses are great, but these websites have some pretty cool perspectives on finding just the right words for stories.
Describing Words: tell this website which word you want to stop repeating and it will give you tons of alternative words that mean the same thing. It typically has way more options than other sites I use.
Reverse Dictionary: type what you need a word for in Reverse Dictionary's search box and it will give you tons of words that closely match what you want. It also lists the words in order of relevancy, starting with a word that most accurately describes what you typed. (There's also an option to get definitions for search results!)
Tip of My Tongue: this website is phenomenal. It lets you search for that word you can't quite place by a letter in it, the definition, what it sounds like, or even its scrambled letters. A long list of potential options will appear on the right side of the screen for every search.
Hope this helps when you need a hand during next writing session 💛
Hello darlings! Today's story was brought to you by Stella! Darling thank you so much for all your support!
Prompt: Pride of Place
Tilsie knew what she looked like.
She as a short, chubby cook, with hair that was fluffing out of her flour-dusted braid. Her shoes were sensible, and her dress was simple, with only a little embroidery around the hems to mark her position as the pastry cook of the whole castle. Her arms were thick with muscle, and her face was closer to round than it was to fine-featured.
When one was the chosen lover of the most beautiful woman in the world, such comparisons were inevitable, and while Atteila had made her opinion on Tilly’s body very clear, others were not so kind. Tilly knew she was a pretty woman, but she was the kind of pretty that married the miller down the road and put out a dozen children, not the kind that fell in love with a princess and spirited her and a prince out of a castle.
Now, however, it seemed that there was no time to indulge her own insecurities. Atteila and Hanver were counting on her. She couldn’t let them down.
So Tilly hastily pulled her hair free of her braid, shook as much of the flour out as she could, and shook out her skirts. There were some benefits to being clearly of the peasant stock. No one would mistake Tilly for a royal. She never thought she would be grateful for that.
The stables weren’t deserted. A pair of ragged men were rolling dice on a barrel, lazily guarding a handful of soldiers who sat in a line, bound and bruised from what had clearly been an attack they could not withstand. Tilly made eye contact with the nearest, a man named Nezza, who sometimes came to the kitchens when he had a free moment. Tilly slipped him the pastries that weren’t nice enough to serve the nobles, and in return, he went with her maids down to meet food deliveries for the kitchens.
His eyes went wide, but Tilly put a finger to her lips and eyed the two men, who hadn’t noticed her yet.
She wasn’t a fighter, but for Atteila, she would fight anyway.
Serving girls were never a threat. She didn’t walk like a soldier, or wear armor that would clank along as she walked. Skirts weren’t terribly convenient, but they were quiet.
The stove that warmed the stables was close to hand. The stove itself was cold, which was normal for summer, but there was always a small stack of firewood beside it. She took up a hefty branch, took to long steps out of hiding, and brought the branch down on the head of the nearest man. He dropped, unconscious in moments, and his friend staggered back, his eyes wide. He grabbed for his sword, but Tilly, armed and strong with terror, bashed him too. He tried to block, but bakers had strong arms, and he was off balance.
“Remind me never to annoy you, Miss Tilly,” Nezza said when she dropped her branch to untie him. “How did you get here? What are you doing here?”
“No time, are there more of them in the stables?” Tilly asked hurriedly and moved to the next soldier as soon as Nezza’s hands were free. He got to work on his feet and was soon raiding the two fallen men for their weapons. “How many came in the gates?”
“Close to fifty. A proper fighting force,” Nezza said grimly. He moved to the door and froze. “Get down; There’s someone in the bushes!”
“I know!” Tilly said and yanked him back inside before she hesitated. “You’re loyal, right? To His Majesty and the princess?”
Nezza narrowed his eyes at her but nodded slowly. Tilly waited another moment until the rest of the soldiers nodded too.
“Right,” she said, and whistled, three short notes that carried further than anyone expected. Perfect for catching the attention of a maid in a noisy kitchen. Or for calling two royals out of hiding. “I brought some friends from the kitchens.”
“Princess Atteila,” Nezza whispered, and knelt when Atteila and Hanver ducked into the stable. Atteila reached for Tilly’s hand and pulled her close when Tilly took it. “We feared you lost. How…?”
“We were in the kitchens when the attack came,” Atteila explained and pulled him to his feet with her free hand. Hanver joined the soldiers in getting everyone untied. “Tilly took us out through the scullery and into the gardens before we could be captured. Is there word of my father, the king?”
“None, your highness,” Nezza said, clearly uncomfortable but the highest-ranking soldier in the room. Two of his fellows dragged the men Tilly had knocked out into one of the stalls and tied them tightly. “We were taken before we could raise the alarm. Please accept our humblest apologies for our failure.”
“I would not expect any ten men to hold against fifty,” Atteila told him kindly, and squeezed Tilly’s hand. “We must retake the castle or escape, but I know nothing of war. Is the castle lost?”
“We outnumber the ragged lot a dozen to one if we can get to the barracks,” Hanver suggested, the only one of them who had actually been to war, and who had, despite his father’s opinion, a decent head for tactics. He shrugged one shoulder when Nezza looked at him questioningly. “The castle has a large number of soldiers assigned here on rotation. They must have been blocked into their barracks or they would have already taken the castle back. So where are the barracks?”
Her part done, Tilly wrapped her arms around Atteila and held on tight.
Perhaps it wasn’t so bad to be the one who faded into the background. Now, they might just have a chance to fight back.
community self-esteem boost time: reblog, reply, or send me an ask with a line from your writing that you’re proud of. not anything super long— i’m thinking a sentence to a paragraph at most. there doesn’t need to be any context to it; just that you’re proud of your work!
there is a love that lets go, but i don’t think it’ll ever leave me entirely.
i won’t surrender my heart to the stones.
when my scrunchies and my polaroid and my band-aids are left in the shelves of your room, i hope you think of me. not as someone you lost, but as a heart you’ll always have in a bittersweet - but mostly very sweet - way. maybe i even left pieces of my heart in those shelves, too.
you carefully placed that polaroid onto the corner of your tv screen.
i wanted to ask of you not to forget me, but i can’t be that pretentious.
you told me to be okay and i said i would. i will. i am always okay. i’ll survive, somehow i always do.
i won’t surrender my heart to the stones.
you smiled. it was saddest smile i ever saw. your eyes were bloodshot and i think you didn’t want to cry. i know you never do - you didn’t have to.
when you hid your head in the crook of my neck and asked me for a hug, i wanted to hold you until all the broken bits of your heart could come back together. but i’d have loved you with all the broken pieces anyway, i’m sure.
“i think someone hurt you very very badly and now you don’t want to let someone else in. i get it. you can’t let me all the way in.”
you told me i was right.
“i wish i wasn’t.”
“she was the first person i ever said i love you to. those two years,” you said, voice cracking, steady eyes. “those two years wrecked me.”
it’s okay. it’s okay. it’s okay. i love you. it’s okay.
the sweetness of it all makes it worse. the tenderness that lingers.
i didn’t lose anything. you know my heart is too big for my hands, it spills out everywhere and pours and pours and pours. there will always be love there. there will always be love.
you asked me if i hated you now. you said it’d be okay if i did.
i love you too much, i said. that’s what my mom told me once, too, scolding me at the top of her lungs, “you love too much.”
“are you a photographer?” “no…? you know that.” “…… Okay but just answer ‘why’.”
+ character a blatantly flirting and character b answering everything bluntly and 100% seriously
“okay. okay, this may be going out on a limb here, but do you like… like me?” “YES.” “oh. i see.”
^ my heart goes <33333333333 when characters finally confess something big and ###that character that silently freaks out simply goes “oh…….. huh. i see.” while rubbing their chin in thought
character a’s love language is teasing so naturally character b thinks character a hates them so then character a has to explain that no when i said you looked like an oaf i meant like, a loveable oaf that like, i want to date. By the way oaf means you in this case
“did it hurt when you fell from heaven?” and a clueless “… what are u even talking about” response
“i’m trying to flirt!” “i know, i’m trying to flirt back!” “THATS WHAT IM— wait w—”
characters with different love languages and that prospect being why neither of them knew the other was flirting
idiots in love but also… flirty character x character who knows they’re flirting but wants to make them work for it
BUT ALSO….. flirty character x character who is just nonchalant like oh hmm okay yeah cool interesting anywayy
main character leaves a room with their friends and their love interest is waiting outside like “hey. there you are.” with the biggest most bright smile and all the main characters friends see it except our mc is completely blind to it
enemies to lovers with blatant flirting BECAUSEEEEEEE one character would just be flirting outright at this part in the enemies to reluctant friends to lovers journey (see my enemies to lovers post :)) and the other would be so confused and would not want to believe they’re flirting because they hated each other two months ago
example in case of enemies to lovers blatant flirting : “i made you something.” “………………….. *squinting reallllly hard* why.”
character b just being clueless and character a being like “OKAY GODDDD i like you!!!!!!!! ive been trying to tell you this for foreverrr!!!!!” and character b kissing them yes that escalated quickly yes It needs to happen
character being done and just being like “i’m flirting with you. okay? i’ve been flirting with you for like the past year!”
so, fun story (/s), I accidentally deleted my entire tumblr account. I managed to restore the blog name right away with a new account, but everything I'd ever posted and reblogged, everyone I followed and who followed me - it's all gone. I had the account for years, and I think it's safe to say I'm pretty upset.
anyway, if you're a writeblr (I don't mind if you don't post original content frequently or at all, neither do I) or if you know we used to follow each other, please, please reblog this post so that I can build my account back up. thanks for your help.
There'll be a moment when you realise you're 27 when yesterday you were just 17; and you wouldn't be able to tell how a decade passed away and your life got divided into before and afters. The fury of youth will subdue and nothing will really change but everything will feel different when you look at old photographs and blurry videos taken on cheap mobile phones. Scents will remind you of childhood and certain friends you don't talk to anymore, hangouts will become reunions and mom's burnt pie will become the best food you ever had. And I know on some days you won't be able to show anything of those 10 years but I hope you remember to breathe, and let go of the knot in your chest. I hope you go out in the sun and live a little, because tomorrow is 37.
Edit- I added the visualizer for this piece on my YT, check it out here
A magical girl anime, But in a turn of events, instead of the group of girls that are clearly meant to be the main characters, the magic is cast onto a group of stereotypical high school guys who have no clue how or why this has happened to them, or how girls deal with such tiny clothes.