This guest post is by Ben Ellis of www.b3n3llis.com.
A lot of “app talk” in the world of writing revolves around the main applications used to compose your piece of writing, such as Scrivener, iA Writer, and my weapon of choice, MOApps’ Write, plus a whole load of others too.
I use a few additional apps to help me research and record things when I’m out and my notebook or laptop are at home. These assistant apps are ones you can fire up on your phone or tablet when a moment of inspiration hits you or you need to double-check something. Now you don’t need to worry about always remembering a pen and paper … just keep your battery charged.
My poor spelling of words longer than five letters demands I use this app on a very regular basis. It’s easy to use, very well designed and the Thesaurus is great too. Although I only use it to find words that have slipped my memory—it’s no good filling your MS with a myriad of grandiloquent words you, your peers, or characters would never use in normal everyday life. This app’s free with ads and paid without.
The basic design means it’s not the most attractive app on your device, but it is one of the easiest to use. For someone who doesn’t write poetry I use this surprsingly often. It comes at a small cost.
Everyone should have a backup in the Cloud. This is the Big Daddy of the services available out there, but there are others. The main, fundamental point is: back up your stuff. Also, handy if you’re out and about and you want to review or add to a document of yours—you can access it and make an amendment to the live document from anywhere at anytime. Free for a basic account.
Now, you could use Mac’s native Notes app to record your story ideas, but that would be boring, right? So check out Nebulous. It’s especially built for writers, coders, and others to record ideas.
I only use it to note down ideas but it’s better than Notes, allowing a better filing system, plus it’s integrated with Dropbox so once you enter an idea, it automatically creates a backup in the cloud via your Dropbox account. Free and paid versions are available.
I’m glad I started writing during the Age of Wikipedia because I can’t imagine it any other way! This app gives you an intuitive way to navigate Wikipedia along with some added features such as a search history and related articles. It’s an effective and enjoyable research tool. Free but you’ll have to switch to the US store to get it (if you’re not already there).
MacFreedom and TV Guide
TV, along with the internet, is probably the worst enemy of a writer’s productivity. Vegging in front of a reality show or scrolling aimlessly through Twitter or an exe’s Facebook profile doesn’t get the next great novel of a generation written!
MacFreedom (for Mac and PC) blocks all internet activity on a laptop or desktop for a set amount of time, whilst the TV Guide app lets you see what’s on TV before you actually switch it on. MacFreedom is only $10 and the TV Guide is free. Your writing time is precious, protect it!
Yes, you could use Google Maps or Google Earth, but for a small cost you could immerse yourself into a beautifully rendered HD atlas and let your imagination travel the seven seas!
Gives you ideas and inspiration for names and the meanings and origins behind them. Anyone seeing you use it may have some questions for you, especially your other half. Free.
You can probably achieve the same results with most of these apps by just using a web browser on your phone, but where’s the fun in that?! Also, if you really like an app then go ahead and pay for the full version to encourage the developer to spend time on updating and improving it for you.
Do you use any of these apps? Or others we should know about? Share them in the comments.
Ben Ellis has completed his second novel, ‘Broken Branches’ a dystopian tale of controlled procreation, and is currently looking for an agent or publisher. You can find him online at http://www.b3n3llis.com and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/b3n3llis.