Most writers would agree that pre-writing—e.g., brainstorming ideas, plots, characters, situations, scenes–is the best way to get the writing juices flowing, and actually get stories and novels to completed. Sometimes without a roadmap for where the stories might wound up, they may never get finished.
Of course, pre-writing can be done with simple pen and paper, but four iOS apps—Writers App, Werdsmith, Name Dice, and Writer Lists—may be useful tools for discovering plots, character names and traits, and keeping track of notes.
Writers App ($0.99) is pretty much a fully featured pre-writing app for keeping track of the ingredients that make up a story–a title, synopsis, premise, plot, character traits, settings, and general notes.
You organize and manage your individual stories like projects–each with its own list of story ingredients. All story projects are listed on the home page, and inside each project are individual spaces for notes.
You can change the font style and size, but the only exporting option is email; there’s no automatic backup to the iCloud.
For the most part, Writers App as an iPhone app may be very useful for brainstorming ideas while you’re on your on a train or bus commute, or when ideas come to you while lying in bed.
Werdsmith is a free app for the both the iPad and iPhone, but if you want space for more than 7 ideas and projects, you must purchase the pro version costs $2.99. Werdsmith is basically a two-part notes app.
One part is for developing writing projects, and the other part is for keeping notes. You can also establish word counts goals for yourself, and the app will display your progress in terms of percentages. In addition, you can set up a writing ritual—an alarm for what time of each day you should devote to writing.
Werdsmith also includes iCloud backup and the ability to export projects and notes via email. You can also archive your completed projects in the Portfolio.
Lists for Writers
Lists for Writers ($1.99), for both the iPhone and iPad, is sort of a toolbox of lists related to various elements of a story or novel–e.g., character names, settings, types of plots, types of clothing, parts of speech, and lots more.
Of course, lists in and of themselves don’t create stories, but they may be useful for brainstorming ideas or getting some inspiration.
As you browse lists, you can tap on a name, plot idea, or character description, and select to add it to your Note’s page. This way, you’re not copying and pasting while you are browsing for ideas. Your notes can be printed from the device and emailed.
If you’ve ever been stuck for character names, a little app called Name Dice is a one-trick point that delivers a random set of names. Just tap the screen or shake your iPhone or iPad, and Name Dice will roll out a new set of first and last names.
Granted, this iPhone writing app could use a few more features, such as the ability to select the gender of the name you’re looking for, or it could include perhaps another pair of nice—one set for male names and the other set for female names. But hey, it’s a free app and it could be useful for sparking name ideas.
While none of these apps can write stories for you, they may be interesting enough to brainstorm ideas using your handy iOS device.
Let us know what you think of these pre-writing apps, and if you have suggestions for similar apps, please share them. And for other writing app ideas, check out these articles: