How do you write? Are you a pen & paper person? Or are you a jot-down-ideas-on-your-phone writer? For those of you on the lookout for nifty bits of tech to help you with everything from planning to writing the novel, here are some useful apps we have tried and tested with authors in mind.
1. For jotting down ideas: Evernote
Evernote is perfect for making notes. You can sync your devices, so you can make notes on your phone on the bus and pick them up on your tablet when you get in. Evernote can be used by one person or collaboratively, which is also useful if you’re writing with someone else.
2. For plotting and character development: Bubbl.us and Gliffy
Bubbl and Gliffy are free-to-use websites that enable you to easily create customised diagrams and charts to plot your book. Basically, it’s a techy version of the old post-it note on your floor technique, and is much less susceptible to be lost if someone opens a door, or accidentally lets the dog in.
3. For long-form writing: Scrivener
Scrivener is a well-known writing software that works for both Windows and Mac. It has plenty of effective tools to organise your research, notes, storylines and much more. Perhaps the best feature is the keyword search – no more wasted time trying to find that well-hidden folder with initial ideas in the depths of your computer. It costs $45 (approximately £26) so it’s slightly more expensive than the other apps on this list, but then again, it’s much more involved.
4. For distraction-free writing: FocusWriter
FocusWriter is a document creator like Microsoft Word with a stripped-down aesthetic that is distraction-free, whilst still providing all of the functions you need. You can set timers, alarms, writing goals, spell-checking or statistics. It’s free and works across Windows, Mac and Linux. Great for those of you who spend more time than is necessary worrying about what font to use for your characters’ handwriting instead of getting words down on paper.
5. For collaborating: Poetica
Need feedback from others on plot devices, characters or editing? Poetica was created to make collaborative editing much more effective. You upload or paste the file you need to edit, and share with whoever you want. You can then edit together at the same time, as you might do with a Google Doc.
6. For editing: Hemingway
If you find editing tiresome, Hemingway can make it easier and quicker. All you need to do is to paste in the text and Hemingway will automatically highlight problems in your writing, such as hard to read sentences, complex phrases and tense change. It’s a good place to start, but don’t rely on it to give you the same level of detail that a human editor can, if that’s what you’re after.