By now, the start of February, you have probably settled into whatever new writing routine you promised yourself that you would stick to this year. (Or maybe you haven’t, I’m not judging). Whatever state your writing life is in right now, there are always things that we need a bit of help with to make it better. I’ve collected together seven great apps for writers that could go some way towards helping you meet your goals for the year, and every single one has been used and approved by one of us Vultures.
Named after the master of no frills writing, Ernest Hemingway, this app does exactly what it says on the tin. Paste a piece of writing into the app, or type directly into it, and it will make suggestions as to how you can trim long sentences, cut down excess words and keep your text pacy.
I like how these different categories are marked by colour to make them easier to interpret.
For you if: you’re guilty of overly long sentences and flowery descriptions. Not for you if: you think Hemingway is overrated, and description rules.
Grammarly have been running a pretty hard core advertising campaign lately, so there is every chance you already know about them. Grammarly is like a next step up word processor. Not only does it catch your grammar, punctuation and spelling errors, it also points out when you’ve strayed into the passive voice, and offers suggestions for better words that you could use. I like how this app could be a lot of things at once for a lot of different people.
For you if: you’re writing a lot, all the time, and want to keep yourself on track. Not for you if: you still have nightmares about that Microsoft paperclip who was always interfering.
The Character Story Planner is a phone based app, so you can do a ton of work on your story on the go – I don’t know about you guys, but I get loads done when I am on the bus. This app is another that does exactly what it says. If you like to write by getting to know your characters, then this is the thing for you. You can go into so much detail about them, from the simple stuff like names all the way through to their relationships with other people and everything in between.
For you if: meticulous planning is your jam. Not for you if: you prefer to plant the seeds and let them grow.
This is an app I found after taking part in NanoWriMo a few years ago, and really enjoying the word counter that is a part of that challenge. Pacemaker planner is just as good as the inbuilt Nano one; it allows you to set your goal and track your progress, as well as telling you how much you need to do on any given day in order to keep on track. Another really great feature is that you can adjust your pace based on your own real life schedule, for example by telling the planner that you have more time to get some words down on the weekend. That elevates this app above even the Nano tracker.
For you if: having a set goal really helps you to feel motivated. Not for you if: you will spend more time stressing about your numbers than you will writing.
Celtx is a specialist app designed solely for script writers, and it helps you format at the same time you are writing, no matter the type of script. It covers screenplays, plays, audio plays, and comic scripts, and that is just on the free version. I have used Celtx a lot in the past and found it to be super helpful, especially as it saves you a lot of time formatting. You can collaborate with other scriptwriters too, and leave comments on each other’s work.
For you if: you’re new to scriptwriting and want to get a feel for how one should look. Not for you if: you’re writing super long documents on your phone as it can be quite hard to scroll on mobile.
We’ve all been there – sometimes the hardest thing about writing creatively is coming up with an idea, especially when you’re tired. I love a good writing prompt myself, and this app provides some good ones. What I like about this app is that the prompts are provided by other writers around the world, and that you can save past prompts to your own list if you want to think longer about one of them. I also like that there is a specific category for ‘first line’ prompts, as I usually find that these are the best way to take and idea and just run with it.
For you if: you are having a bit of a creative brain block. Not for you if: you already have an overflowing notebook of ideas to work on.
Noisli is a background noise app that could help you to focus on your writing, whatever you’re working on –as well as being great for other stuff too. There’s a lot of background noise apps, but what I like about this one is that it offers you a dozen sounds and lets you ‘mix your own’. You want to feel like you’re in a café and you can just hear the patter of rain outside? You can do that. You want to feel like you’re in a forest full of birds during a thunderstorm? You can do that, too.
On a purely aesthetic level, I also just like how this app looks. The colours are very calming.
For you if: you’re a big fan of highly personalised white noise. Not for you if: you’ve trained your brain to write only with a highly specific playlist in the background.