Writers Apps.

Nov 29, 2020


The Top Ten Writing Apps for Writers for 2021.

#1. ProWritingAid

It just gets better and better! We enjoyed a live session with its founder recently - available for writers of The Novelry at our Catch Up TV. The app analyzes your writing and presents its findings in over 20 different reports (more than any other editing software). You can keep track of your writing style with a neat integration of ProWritingAid and Scrivener. ProWritingAid imports your Scrivener folder into its platform and gives you a detailed analysis of how you're writing. I use ProWritingAid for that final finesse. Here's their latest news: they have launched a new Word add-in for Mac users. It was their most requested development for years! Find out more about the Mac add-on here.

Now, what else? Their sexy new summary format! That's what, and it's why ProWritingAid tops our list of apps for writers this year! Congrats to the ProWritingAid team.

#2. Scrivener

The original big project planning writing app. Almost all novelists have come across this. Tailor-made for long writing projects, Scrivener banishes page fright by allowing you to compose your text in any order, in sections as large or small as you like. Our members at The Novelry can enjoy a 20% discount on Scrivener at our Members' Library.

#3. Dabble

A new entry for 2021. A simpler version of Scrivener for those under time-pressure or technologically challenged! Many of our writers now enjoy using this. Dabble organizes your manuscript, story notes, and plot. Dabble simplifies story. It provides a plot grid, plot lines (subplots), and plot points. It helps you set word count goals. Write in the desktop app on your Mac or Windows computer at home. Write in the browser at work or offline over the weekend. It syncs to the cloud. Dabble keeps a full copy on each computer and one in the cloud. These copies sync with each other when they are online. Includes a dark mode. A distraction-free simple way to write. The standard plan is $10 a month. Pricing here.

#4. Grammarly

A must-have for writers. Install the plug-in and everything, even social media, gets a clean sweep before it goes out. Go premium. It's worth it. I consider this an essential and like the way it checks everything I do as I write online. I wouldn't press 'enter' or hit 'send' without it. The latest news is that you can now use it within a Microsoft Word Document, and install it in your desktop, or use it on your browser or mobile. For sheer elegance of purpose, I prefer Grammarly to help me look smart.

#5. AutoCrit

AutoCrit analyzes manuscripts according to six categories: dialogue, strong writing, word choice, repetition, compare to fiction, and pacing and momentum. The software dynamically adjusts your editing guidance based on data from millions of published books across many different genres.

What I love about AutoCrit is the design of the summary report which includes a word cloud and enables you to take a look at the health check for your prose at a glance. It offers a nice natural voice read-aloud feature too. You can, at the flick of a switch, pluck out them adverbs and passive phrases, should you wish. AutoCrit picked out my overused words in a way I've not seen so obviously shown before. 

"With AutoCrit, you can compare your work directly to real, published fiction from some of the top publishing houses in genres such as Mystery/Suspense, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Romance. Want to know who uses more adverbs, you or Stephen King? Now you can find out!" 

There's a free plan too. Love it. Try it. 

#6. The 'Book in a Year' ®  Plan

The complete program for writers old and new at The Novelry. A year of complete guidance and support to write wisely and fulfil your ambition as an author. The Novelry will lead you through the creation of a sound and appealing story idea onto writing a novel, then revising and editing your first draft. You will complete and hold in your hands a final draft ready to pitch to agents with our dedicated help and support every step of the way. Choose the safe and smart way to stay on track and achieve your ambition to get that book done. Sign up here and save 20% on the prices of courses when sold separately. 

#7. Wordkeeper

A writers' statistics tool for iPhone and iPad. Keep track of all your writing projects and stick to your deadlines with a multitude of useful statistics. Share your progress and stay motivated. Available on Apple and Android here.

 #8. Shortlyread.

Surely not! You wouldn't use this would you? Writer's block? Not something we're familiar with at The Novelry! But if words fail you, this will fill them in. At $14.99 a month. It defies belief. Check this out. So I inputted the opening lines of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and asked Shortlyread to do a little more. And here's what it's AI wrote based on that small sample. I think it mimics the phrasing very well considering its machine-made:

Part of me dreads to think where this could go, but hey, you remain author and get to edit it, right? And it's all in the edit! When you want to craft a fabulous final draft, head on over to our Editing Course!

#9. PickFu

Want to get feedback on your story pitch or your novel title? You can run a poll using PickFu to a minimum of 50 respondents in the USA from $50. You can narrow your audience to heavy book readers of fiction, and other criteria to check your candidate titles against your prospective readers. 

The comments give you food for thought, allowing you to see what inference each title is cueing. You can see how each title performs against age groups and genders. 

You can get feedback on your book premise or description too. You could run the poll against 500 people. Given the audience targeting features, I think this would be useful right at the beginning of scoping out an idea. (Don't use it for feedback on your work! Work at first draft with a dedicated author mentor, and never expose first drafts to the foolishness of 'workshopping!')

#10. Otter Voice

Record conversations using Otter on your phone or web browser. Now integrate with Zoom! Get real-time transcripts and, within minutes, rich, searchable notes. 

Otter AI faithfully transcribes voice to words. I was stunned watching it automatically finesse and correct the word before my eyes. You can import recordings too and get a notification when the transcript is ready. You can use this app for free and get 600 minutes of transcription time. For less than $10 a month you can export files as documents, skip silences and sync all your files via Dropbox. It's the ultimate tool for dictating your novel or getting reality recorded and onto the page.

Use it to collect the cadence of conversations and the sounds around you to bring 'buttoned-down detail' to your prose. Unlike Just Press Record or other recording apps, the words appear before your eyes and make sense and next to the words is a second by second timeline making it easy to locate passages. A replacement for two apps - voice recording and dictation. Get it here.

And finally, stay healthy. 

Date and save your manuscript daily and keep it on the cloud, and keep your equipment clean. I dote on this baby. CleanMyMac  (they also offer CleanMyPC). I'd probably have bought a new Mac had it not been for this gorgeous app which rids me of my data grime and keeps my RAM moving. I wouldn't be without it. For me this is an essential.

Free Tools for Writers

Because sometimes it eludes the best of us... Whether you're writing ads for Google, SEO titles, or working on the big novel, sometimes you forget quite how to title it. Head to Capitalize My Title. Phew. Job done.

 WordcounterSo many writers worry about what their word count should be for their 'genre'. Tell a great story regardless of how many words. If you're going commercial you're going to want to hit 70k, but literary's much broader as a range. It's surprising how many favourite novels have low word counts. Sometimes a short book can feel very long, and a long book can feel short! Check them all out for free here. 

A cheap and cheerful way to check your writing is offered to you with the compliments of the charming Count Wordsworth. Check the number of times you use a certain word. You may be surprised and what seeds you're sewing in the subconscious of the reader! In the first book of The Bible “behold” occurs more commonly than “there”, “as”, “went” and “we”. For an analysis of the cunning repetitions of words to seduce the reader in The Great Gatsby, you may enjoy this blog article.

In search of an idea for that novel you're meant to write? How about writing one you never meant to write. Try the Random Logline Generator! I hit the page while writing this and found the idea for my next novel in less than 5 seconds. 'A telephone operator gives advice to the anachronistic adopted daughter of a magician in Scotland.' Why have you been fretting over your big idea for so long, you will ask yourself.

When you wake from a gripping dream, look it up and decode it. Writing is one way of finding out what's going on in your head, but dreams are the flash fiction reading of your troubled psyche and can save you some pondering in prose and provide a jumpstart to creativity. Like many writers, I started writing when I started writing down my dreams. Dreammoods App is a free app, and it's on the money more often than not.

For a thesaurus beyond compare if you're writing historical, I strongly recommend the Oxford English Dictionary which will who you what words were used when, but the bog-standard Thesaurus is great and here's another kid on the block for you - Onelook.

Check the differences between drafts very simply with Diffchecker. (Find those old darlings, and restore them to draft 58.)

Scope out the timeline planning for your novel with Mindmeisterthe mind mapping tool or with Aeon Timeline. The latter syncs with Scrivener, but I find it's encroaching too much on what Scriv does best. I prefer Mindmeister for getting a good oversight of my story development and I show you how to use it for yours in our Ninety Day Novel course.

Many of us use Canva for design work and to create some of the working tools we use at The Novelry to visualize the novel. It's a must-have, really if you want to create a social media presence. 

You can bring all those highlighted passages from your Kindle or iPad iBooks into one place with Readwise. 

Shortcuts for keyboard symbols? Look no further than here. Boomark it.

Free ebooks for your Kindle? At Standardbooks.org here.

Get a health check on your novel chapter by chapter at a glance by looking at the verbal DNA with Wordclouds.com. If you're writing a novel you're going to want to see in that cloud our main focus of interest writ large. Remember, a novel ought to have the names of people we're following up loud and proud in your cloud.

Gifts for Writers You Love.

With courses starting at £95 or $125 - including our new Memoir Course - what better present for your loved one with a book in them? Check out our gifts - sent instantly worldwide - with a personalised gift card to one lucky writer from someone who believes in them - almost as much as we do at The Novelry!


🙏 Please share this article with your writer pals and via social media. Lots of goodies here to make life sweeter.

Happy writing,

The Novelry.

🎉 Our HUGE congratulations to our writer Gilli Fryzer who wins the Mslexia Short Story Competition 2020!

🎉 Our HUGE congratulations to our writer Carrie Jade Williams who wins the Financial Times/ Bodley Head Essay Prize 2020


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