Shine Writing Resources

The Shine Story Engine

We at OddFish Games love to write. We eat, sleep and breathe writing. As part of the writing community, it’s important to give back.We have compiled a list of writing tools, apps, books, and videos that have influenced and helped improve our own writing. If there is a resource that helped you improve your craft as a writer, but it is not yet on this list, please send it to us for consideration.

Writing Tools and Apps

NaNoWriMo has been a part of our lives for many years. It has been a valuable resource, community, and challenge that has helped us all grow as writers. We highly recommend making it one of your go-to writing resources. OddFish Games is not affiliated with NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a yearly creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. Participants strive to author a 50,000-word manuscript between the first and last day of the month. Writers who would like to participate in the event must register to do so on the NaNoWriMo site. They may also post information about their novels, including excerpts and synopses. The larger community at NaNoWriMo offers writers a place to seek advice, criticism, support, and information on honing their craft.

Adventure Scents

Adventure Scents are scent special effects that add a new multisensory dimension to your favorite books, movies, and Tabletop RPGs. From Mummy’s Tomb to Welcoming Inn, our scented beads are long-lasting and require no heat or flame.

Chaotic Shiny

The Chaotic Shiny site has name generators aimed at people who game, write and otherwise need names for the fantasy worlds they create. Writers may use this to help push past writers block or flesh out names of civilizations, religions and more.


Causality is a writing app that allows authors to visually develop their story, allowing for an overview of complex stories. A Story Sequencing Engine analyzes all the events in a story, locates plot problems, and suggests logical solutions. Causality is available starting at $7.99/mo., or $5.99 a month when paying for a full year upfront.


Dabble is an online and offline, cloud-based writing platform for plotting your story, writing, and editing. It offers organization tools and is available for use via Windows or Mac apps, and may also be used through your computer’s browser. Aspiring and professional writers alike may test Dabble for free during a 14-day trial. After the trial period, the writing platform will cost $9.99 per month.

Fantasy Name Generators

Fantasy Name Generators site contains over 1300 name generators, description generators, guides, and other tools that writers might useful. Visitors will be able to use generators for fantasy, real, place, and pop culture names, as well as description generators and others.


Grammarly is a writing app that writers of all types may use to proofread and edit their documents. It live-checks for spelling, grammar, punctuation errors, and plagiarism. Grammarly also makes sure the document is easy to read. It explains each suggestion’s reasoning so that the writer may make informed decisions about how and whether to correct the issue.

Hemingway App

The Hemingway App highlights and corrects grammar, sentence structure, checks fluency and sentence structure to help writers’ text read and look better. It also teaches writers how to write better and produce tighter and neater prose.


Inkarnate allows Fantasy Authors, Map Enthusiasts and Game Masters to turn their ideas into fantasy maps with an easy-to-use online map-making platform. There is also a $5 a month plan and a $25 a year option in addition to the free plan.

One Stop for Writers

One Stop for Writers contains writing tools, lessons, tutorials, worksheets, and a vast description database. Their database includes emotions, emotion amplifiers, negative and positive traits, character motivations, talents and skills, physical features, emotional wounds, occupations, weather, settings, symbols and motifs, textures, shapes, colors, and patterns. There is a free 2-week trial. Subscriptions to One Stop for Writers start at $9.00 a month.


Notion provides databases, Kanban boards, wikis, calendars, and reminders as organization tools. Writers may use these components to build their own knowledge and detail management system, take notes, project management, and more.


Scrivener is a management system designed for authors. It is a word-processing program, an outliner, and allows for the organization of documents, notes, metadata, concepts, and research. Scrivener is available for free during a 30-day trial period on macOS and Windows. After the trial period, it will cost $49 on macOS and Windows. Scrivener is available for $19.99 on iOS. Additional bundling options are available on their website.


Beautiful, immersive, dynamic music and sound effects for creating atmosphere with tabletop games. Syrinscape evokes every aural possibility conceivable, from otherworldly forests and musty vermin-filled dungeons to distant shorelines and more.


Thesaurus.com is an extensive and free online thesaurus created and maintained by Dictionary.com. With millions of synonyms and antonyms in their database, writers may use this resource to improve their mastery of the English language and find the exact word they’re looking for.


Typora is a configurable and simple document editor with Markdown support, including keyboard shortcuts for formatting options, and an intuitive live editor that hides the Markdown formatting syntax after it is typed.

World Anvil

World Anvil is a set of world-building tools that help writers create, organize, and store their world’s setting. Writers may use it to write their novel or craft their RPG campaign. World Anvil includes novel-writing software, informative articles, historical timelines, interactive maps, and an RPG Campaign Manager.


Reference Books

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

The Hero with a Thousand Faces combines the author’s understanding of comparative mythology with modern psychology insights. Author, Joseph Campbell, outlines the Hero’s Journey, the universal theme of metamorphosis and adventure found throughout nearly all mythology and contemporary hero stories. Campbell also explores the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction, the Cosmogonic Cycle.

The Writer’s Journey

The Writer’s Journey is a definitive resource for screenwriters, writers, and novelists. The revised third edition provides additional observations from Vogler’s work on mythology’s influence on modern stories and films.

The Heroine’s Journey

The Heroine’s Journey illustrates the modern woman’s self-definition in a civilization where she has been assigned labels in keeping with patriarchal values. The book pulls from fairy tales, myths, goddesses, ancient symbols, and more. Murdock elaborates on the necessity of feminine values in contemporary western culture.

The Hero’s 2 Journeys

The Hero’s 2 Journeys delves into two different approaches to storytelling. The “Outer Journey” consists of the vital structural ideas behind every successful plot. The “Inner Journey” is the more in-depth character journey that elevates the story, such as Vogler’s view of the Hero’s inner need to be invisible at first, only to be revealed to be the Hero by the end of the story’s progression.


Screenplay covers the fundamental structure of emotionally satisfying screenplays and is considered the film industry’s gold standard. The book covers everything, from memorable character creation to writing authentic dialogue, from concept to finished script, and beyond. Screenplay contains the essential guidelines that will help all screenwriters sharpen their skills and sell their projects.


In Story, Author Robert McKee explains how all the parts of a screenplay fit together and the relationship between structure and character. McKee elaborates on the screenwriting theories he covers in his workshops. Some of his celebrity alumni include Quincy Jones, John Cleese, Davie Bowie, and Gloria Steinem. Writers, executives, agents, and producers consider his lecture series to be necessary for learning the techniques of writing for the screen.

Save the Cat!

Save the Cat! is the ultimate insider’s guide from showbiz veteran Blake Snyder and is used by screenwriters worldwide. This candid look inside the movie business contains rules for making scripts more satisfying and ideas more marketable. Topics covered include “the seven immutable laws of screenplay physics,” “four elements of every winning logline,” “mastering the 15 beats”, how to get back on course with rules for script repair, and more. 


Brandon Sanderson’s Writing Lectures at BYU

Sci-fi and Fantasy author, Brandon Sanderson shared a series of Lectures he held at BYU on Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy. The lecture videos, which are hosted on YouTube cover the following topics:

  • Lecture #1: Introduction
  • Lecture #2: Plot Part 1
  • Lecture #3: Plot Part 2
  • Lecture #4: Viewpoint and Q&A
  • Lecture #5: Worldbuilding Part One
  • Lecture #6: Worldbuilding Part Two
  • Lecture #7: Short Stories (Special Guest Instructor Mary Robinette Kowal)
  • Lecture #8: Worldbuilding Q&A
  • Lecture #9: Characters
  • Lecture #10: Characters Part 2
  • Lecture #11: Character Q&A
  • Lecture #12: Publishing Part One
  • Lecture #13: Publishing Part Two


MasterClass is a streaming platform that allows anyone access to watch or listen to hundreds of video lessons with the world’s best instructors and includes writing, acting, music, sports, business and leadership, photography, cooking, sports lectures, and more. Video lessons are available anytime, via smartphone, Mac or PC, Apple TV, and FireTV.

Suggest Resources

This page is intended to be a living document. Do you have a tool that has helped to sharpen your skills as a writer? Please send us your suggestion so that we may add it to the Shine Writing Resources.

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    October 16, 2020