Writers today have it easier than writers of yesteryear. Gone are the days when you head to the library if you need to do research. Now, Google is your go-to tool. You no longer have to traipse about, carrying a heavy dictionary and thesaurus with you – now we have built-in spelling and grammar checking and Word’s thesaurus. Aside from these obvious writers’ tools, you’ll find many more that can improve your writing as well as efficiency.
Here are six of our favourite suggestions:
- Reedsy Book Editor. This production tool takes care of the formatting while you’re still writing. Write, edit and export to PDF or ePub. Collaborate with your editor online – there’s no need to email draft after draft, your work can be shared in real time. Track changes, drag and move chapters, and keep the typeface consistent. Your finished book can be ready for distribution as an e-book. And the best part – this is a FREE app!
- Plottr lets you visualise and plot your storyline to keep your thought process on track. No more sticky notes and pinboards full of dishevelled bits of paper. (An annual fee of US$25.)
- Storyist is ideal for novelists and screenwriters. It comes with manuscript and screenplay templates allowing you to focus on the writing, not the formatting. Sketch out a story with index cards and then customise the plot, character, and setting sheets. (Free trial for 14 days, US$59.99 license fee for macOS or US$19.99 for iOS.)
- Grammarly comes with both free and premium plans. Grammarly is your ‘English teacher on your shoulder’ app. What’s great about it, compared to just using spell and grammar check, is that when it makes suggestions, it tells you WHY, so you’ll learn from your mistakes.
- ProWritingAid takes the advice offered by Grammarly up a notch. It makes suggestions on style, such as reducing filler words and extensive use of passive voice, enhancing the flow of your writing. (Free trial with limited features, US$79 yearly subscription.)
- Scrivener is the go-to app for journalists, authors, and academic writers. Tailor-made for long writing projects, Scrivener allows you to compose your text in any order, in sections as large or small as you like, and decide where to place it later. Get your ideas down when inspiration strikes, growing your manuscript organically. It’s the online version of a ring binder, allowing you to file under sections and rearrange as and when you like. (Free trial, US$87 license fee for Mac or Windows, US$19.99 for iOS.)
- Apps that are similar to Scrivener are Ulysses (Mac), iA Writer (all platforms and yWriter (Windows).
Every industry has its tools to improve performance and efficiency. As great as these are at making your life as a writer easier, apps can never take the place of a great writing tutor, mentor, or coach. Whether you’re interested in short-form writing, such as magazine articles, or want to tick writing a novel off your bucket list, The Writers College has just the course for you.