Must-Have Software Tools for Writers

must-have tools for writers

Are you a writer? Well, I am, although I still haven’t written a fiction book. But I do have some tech-related eBooks published on Amazon so I know what it’s like to write a whole volume. And I can tell you that even when your head is buzzing with ideas, putting them down and structuring them isn’t at all easy. It’s a myth that writers simply get their notebook and a pen out of their bags (or an iPad) and write, write, write until lo and behold – a book is born.

Writing is hard work so it’s only sensible to use the right tools to make things work out faster and to be more productive. So, here’s my little list of software tools for writers that are hugely useful. I won’t list the obvious Google Drive, Word, etc. – you already know about them!

Scrivener

I bet you’ve heard about Scrivener. After all, it’s by far the most popular program for writers. As Scrivener itself puts it, it’s the software to help you “see the forest or the trees” – it’s just so customizable and versatile. You can use it as:

  • a scrapbook to type in your ideas
  • a book outline tool to create the structure for your future book
  • a tool to develop your characters
  • a distraction-free typewriter
  • and much more

Basically, it’s a tool where you can write any section of your book at any time, then piece it all together, add references if you’re writing a research-based work, and then export the final result in a number of different formats. True, there is a certain learning curve (sure there is – there are just so many features!) but it’s worth it.

Scrivener comes with a free trial and the full version costs $45. It works on Windows, Mac, and iOS.

Manuscript

If you are not ready to invest in writing software just yet, check out Manuscript. It’s open source and free, and it has a lot of features that will help you with your book. Its key features are:

  • an outliner
  • a distraction-free mode
  • a novel assistant that helps you use the snowflake method to develop your story
  • a frequency analyzer
  • index cards
  • graphical display of your storyline
  • highlighter
  • and more

Manuscript works on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Novlr

Novlr claims to be software “built by writers for writers”. The most amazing thing about this app is that its development is feedback-based. This means that there is a feedback form on their website and that once enough people suggest a certain feature, it gets added to the next release of Novlr. It’s an online-based tool, so you don’t need to download anything.

With Novlr, you can write both online and offline, and be sure that your work gets saved automatically as you type. The app uses triple backups to prevent your work from being wiped out by a crash.

The main features of Novlr are as follows:

  • a focus mode
  • offline writing
  • Dropbox backups 
  • word count
  • organize chapters
  • multiple novels
  • outlining
  • goals and targets
  • publish to eBook
  • and lots more

Novlr comes with a free 14-day trial and the full version costs $10/mo. or $100/year.

StoryShop

If you want to write better stories faster, then you should check out StoryShop. This visually attractive app streamlines your writing efforts with the help of these features:

  • a story planner
  • a writer where all your references are at your fingertips
  • a character planner where you can fully craft your characters and develop them
  • a tool to help you keep everything in order when writing series
  • a place to keep your research and references
  • a bonus tool with story templates, character development questions and more

Like Novlr, StoryShop is a subscription-based app. You can try it for free for seven days and then it’s either $8.25/mo. if you pay annually, or $9.99 if you pay monthly.

ProWritingAid

Now, this is not like the apps I mentioned above. ProWritingAid is more like Grammarly for professional writers. The Editor tool analyzes your writing a lot like a human editor would and helps you make your writing better. It can help you with grammar, style, word overuse, cliches, repeats, transitions, and more. There is a built-in thesaurus and a plagiarism checker to make things even better. ProWritingAid works on Windows and Mac, and it integrates with popular software like MS Office, Chrome, OpenOffice, Google Docs, and even Scrivener.

ProWritingAid can be used for free but you can only edit a limited wordcount. The pro version costs $50/year and you can get a lifetime membership for $175.

My advice is to start with Manuscript, the free app, and see how you like it. After all, you want a tool to help you with your writing and not waste your money. Scrivener is also a very solid choice but it can be a bit difficult to learn, so it may not be for you if you want to keep things simple. Anyway, I hope you found this post useful and I’ll cover mobile apps for writers in my next post. Stay tuned!

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