Online Inspiration for Writers by Matt Mansfield

While I put great stock in my imagination as a writer, I also know that creativity is a hungry beast; one that forever hunts for inspiration.

Happily, there’s tons of inspiration in my life. Heck, my four kids alone provide me with enough weekly drama and comedy to fuel a book or two!

Sometimes however, I need a specific type of inspiration, one tailored to my particular need at the time. This is when I head online.

Online Inspiration

One of the reasons I always head to the web is because of all the handy tools I can find there. When I need inspiration, there’s one type of tool in particular that I love: the generator.

You see, from plots to character names, drinks, and even locations, people have built generators that are especially useful to writers. Over the rest of this post, I’m gonna introduce you to my three favorite sources of generators.

Hold on there! Before we dive in, consider this point:

Generators are built to give you specific results (e.g. a name, a character description). You do not need to use that specific result, though of course you can.

However, I believe that doing so actually limits the effectiveness of online generators because when I use a generator, I’m looking for inspiration, not answers.

In my case, I typically click a generator’s button multiple times, taking in all the different results until I’m inspired by one or a combination of results. Then it’s back to writing.

Also, one word of warning: generators are great fun to play with so make sure you watch the clock or your writing time will be but a memory.

Ready to discover the generators? Then let’s go!

Seventh Sanctum

Seventh Sanctum is my favorite of the generator sites. As you can see, they’ve got tons of generators for all your needs. Each sub-menu item links to a whole group of related generators so there’s a lot under the hood here.

Seventh Sanctum

My favorite sub-section of Seventh Sanctum is the Writing one. This is where you’ll find all the plot generators, from the Romance Story Generator you see below to the What-if-inator that generates alternate history lines.

Seventh Sanctum - Plot Generator


Another fully-loaded generator site, Springhole offers a ton of generators indexed into categories:


One Springhole index page I find myself using often is the Worldbuilding Generator Index:

Springhole - Worldbuilding Generator Index

Chaotic Shiny

Finally, Chaotic Shiny is loaded with generators that you won’t find anywhere else. Aside from the map generator shown below, they offer generators for diseases, taverns, cities, martial arts, spaceships and much, much more.

Chaotic Shiny

Set Forth!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief tour of the generators you can find online and I hope they provide you with the inspiration you need when you need it!

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