Vision: A Resource for Writers

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Website Review:

Seventh Sanctum

By J. A. Marlow
Copyright © 2009 by J. A. Marlow, All Rights Reserved


http://www.seventhsanctum.com/

Writing prompts are little snippets of information which can be used as inspiration. There are many types of writing prompts out there, such as picture or photo prompts, prompt-a-day blogs, challenges, various lists, and generators.

Generators are typically Java- or PHP-based scripts that produce random results on a defined subject. One advantage of generators is a simple refresh of the page or a click of a button can provide all new results. They can inspire scenes, plot points, details, world building, and help spur writing in the face of writerís block.

Seventh Sanctum (http://www.seventhsanctum.com/) brings together over 100 generators organized into categories. They range from silly and fandom to serious and original, and all levels in between. The generators are offered free and thereís no claim to ownership over anything produced by them.

When using the generators available on this site, be sure to look for any drop-down menus, as these can help refine results. Also, give yourself flexibility in adopting what is generated.  By their very nature, every generator will give unusable results along with the good ones. Donít be afraid to take bits and pieces from the same generator or from several generators. Then string them together in a manner which works for you. Above all, keep your mind open to the possibilities. You never know what will spark the right idea.

Below are a few generators that turn out consistently usable results. The list is by no means exhaustive. A word of warning: this site can be very addictive. Be prepared to spend a while exploring it.

Whole Story Ideas

Writing Challenge Generator

(http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=writechallenge)

This generator is very nice for one specific reason: generalities.  Instead of details, it lists elements your imagination can then string together. Many of the results are not tied to a specific genre or location. As such, it has the potential of being very useful no matter your preferred genre.

Quick Story Idea Generator

(http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=quickstory)

When it says Ďquick,í it means it. Three or four sentences are produced which give general information. Many of these can be used in multiple genres.

Lost Civilization Generator

(http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=lostciv)

With the help of a drop-down box you can specify the types of results as either ĎFantasyí or ĎScience Fictioní. Iíve found several good ideas among the results to use not only for lost civilizations but also for contemporary species in a science fiction story.

Fantasy Race Generator

(http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=fantasyrace)

 Some of the results of this generator are truly hilarious. However, by generating several possibilities at a time and mixing and matching, itís possible to get a start on interesting races you can then expand upon.

Alien Race Generator

(http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=alienrace)

 This is the Science Fiction version of the above generator. As before, mixing and matching from several will give you the best results. This is also great if you are writing on a draft and need a throw-away new race, such as for a canteen scene.

Villain Generator

(http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=villain)

Need a little help with motivation, goals, and/or background of your villain? Come to this generator to see if anything sparks the imagination. The Villain Generator offers several options: Evil Magic-Users, Mad Scientist, and Supervillain. Be prepared for hilarious results among the more serious. To help out, also take a look at the Supervillain Theme Generator (http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=supervillaintheme), which offers interesting simplified villains.

Specific World Building Generators

Quick Name Generator

(http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=quickname)

There are a lot of name generators out there, but not many will bring results of both a first name and a surname. This one does. As such, it can be a huge help in finding names for your characters during the planning stage. Itís also helpful if you need to quick name for a walk-on character. A drop-down menu allows you to choose male or female.

Ship Namer

(http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=shipnamer)

These names are more suitable for ocean vessels, but you can also find among them ideas for spaceship names. Not all the names produced are useable, but they can often spark other ideas. As an alternate inspiration also try the Pirate Ship Namer (http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=pirateshipnamer).

Vehicle Generator

(http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=newvehicle)

This generator offers one word vehicle names. It almost inspired a steampunk plot-bunny for me (which I donít write) before I managed to push the name into another novel already in the works. Itís useful for science fiction, steampunk, cyberpunk, and perhaps a little fantasy.

Academic Realm Generator

(http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=academic)

Need a quick name for classes at a college or university? Along with the bizarre, this generator also provides with some that could show up at an institution near you. For pure fantasy, be sure to look at Academic Magical Realm Generator (http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=magicrealm).

Strange Phenomenon -

Magical Phenomena Generator

(http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=magicphenomena) and Space Phenomena Generator (http://www.seventhsanctum.com/generate.php?Genname=spacephenomena)

If you need a name for a strange phenomenon, come to these two generators. A high percentage of the results are useful, and you might find them inspiring entire story lines.

Iíve covered only a few of the many generators available on Seventh Sanctum. Be sure to look at the generators for weapons, materials, technology, genre names, and settings. Itís worth your time to browse through all the categories at least once. The site is active and new generators are added regularly. The site also links to other generator sites across the Internet.

Take a look and be inspired!