Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Free Writing Apps You've Got To Try

By Ronda Simmons

Like many writers, technology is not always my friend. After wasting hours on Facebook getting up to speed with what my second cousins are thinking about having for lunch, I tried to go web-free. Big mistake. There are scads of apps available FOR FREE worth the time to look at as writers. Here are my latest favs.

Hemingway Wasn't Known for His Tact.

The Hemingway App

Just like Papa himself, this app does everything you need and nothing you don't. Compose within in the app or cut and paste from another program and the Hemingway Editor will count your use of passive voice, adverbs, and complex sentences. 

A real life saver when you're under a deadline, as I usually am. The neat thing is the results will be color coded and easy to understand. It will also grade your writing by its readability, the higher the grade level, the harder your writing is to read. 

It will also count your words, sentences, paragraphs, characters, and how many shots of whiskey it took you to write that mess. Maybe not that last one.

As a fun little exercise, cut and paste some Faulkner into the Hemingway Editor. Ernest will not be amused.

Faulkner Didn't Seem too Long Winded in Response.


Grammarly does some of the same things the Hemingway Editor does. For all of Grammarly's basic features, the premium version provides more, but costs you money. 

Whether it's worth the extra jingle is up to you.
The advantage Grammarly has over the Hemingway Editor is in Grammarly you have the ability to create, paste or upload documents which you can save to your account. 

Grammarly also does a great job of finding misspelled words and suggesting replacements, which the Hemingway app doesn't do as well.

Graphic Organizers Are A Useful Way to Trick Your Brain. is a brainstorming program simple to use and super cute. That new novel or screenplay you're outlining can be easily mapped out with different colored bubbles you can move around and link to other bubbles any way you'd like. 

Depending upon how your brain works and if you like to diagram, this may be the tool for you. You don't even have to create an account unless you want to save your work. 

The name says it all, but don't discount this little gem of an app. Besides counting your words (and sentences and paragraphs, etc.), this also has a nifty keyword density feature to help track how often you use certain words. A great tool for avoiding overuse of those pesky crutch words.

Write That Scene

Write That Scene calls itself the best cure for writer's block and it just might be. It is chock-a-block loaded with tutorials for any scene you can imagine. Want to write a zombie scene or a Sherlock Holmes case solving scene? Perhaps something a little sexier? You'll find what you're looking for at Write That Scene. 

Some tutorials cost a small amount (we're talking dimes here, people) but most are free. It's like having an older and wiser writer take you by the hand and explain the key elements of any scene you might want to write with room for you to fill in your answers to critical plotting questions. You can save your work and link scenes together. Write That Scene is an app to remember when you're stuck.

Believe it or not, Pinterest is a great resource for writers. Just search for Writing or Characters and a wealth of information will appear. It's also a good place to get a lot of information quickly on any topic you need to research.  

Writers can also pin links to their blogs, articles, or other outlets.

You'll need to be stronger than I am, however. The last time I went to Pinterest to get a writing prompt I spent two hours noodling around and all I had to show for it were Halloween costume ideas (in July) and directions for making salads in mason jars. 

Admit It. This Looks Mouthwatering.

Some other sites include Medium and Wattpad. If you're not into maintaining a blog or website these are places to post your ideas and work. Medium is generally non-fiction and Wattpad is for fiction.

The interweb can be a black hole for the easily distracted, but if you stay focused and know where to look, it's a great place to find tools to help your writing.

What are some of your fab finds?


Janetta Messmer said...

Thank you for sharing this list. I'm going to a few of them right now, but promise not to stay too long. I need to write. :)

David Sharp said...

Awesome list! I admit, I like taking criticism from a computer program. Mostly because it can show me necessary corrections I don't have to admit to a real person having made. And when I disagree with the feedback, I can say, "What do you know; you're a stupid computer?"

John Garvey said...

Great tips, Ronda. I use Hemmingway and Grammarly religiously so based on that I'm eager to check out your other suggestions. I'll probably avoid Pintrest to avoid the social media wormhole, thought. Are you familiar with Pro Writing Aid ( I got a reliable recommendation but haven't tried it yet.

Laura Mahal said...

"You're killing me, Smalls." I pride myself on doing all of this in my head, Ronda-no-H!
Okay, okay, I'll give these apps a try. (Aren't you people scared that Hemingway will retract his loan of all-purpose-muse-ness if you run your writing through software named after him? No?
All right. I'll branch out from my old-school ways and try s'more routes to writing success.)

Penny Leigh Sebring said...

I like Pro Writing Aid as well. It has some features Grammarly doesn't but it misses some errors. It misses several of the comma errors that Grammarly catches, but I love the overused words and adverb features.

Kerrie said...

This is a great list of resources. Thanks Ronda!


phil lighbothe said...

A lot of good book review formats! Read more on my page!

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