Cool Apps for Writers

Hi, SeERs. It’s another Mae Day on Story Empire. As writers we’re always looking for ways to increase our creativity and our productivity, right? Today, I’m sharing several apps that could be helpful in achieving those goals. Please note that I am not affiliated with these in any way. I either use them myself or just thought they were intriguing and wanted to share.

mobile phone with app icons displayed, finger hovering over phone. Tablets with icons in background on either side

I’ve used a Story Wheel in the past to spark creative ideas. Brainstormer is like a story wheel for your phone. It comes with three spinning wheels that feature plot/conflict, theme/setting and subject/location. You spin each wheel to create endless combinations for inspirations. The classic Brainstormer is free, and you can add the Creature Builder at no cost. Yeah, I was all over that one! If you write supernatural, speculative, or sci-fi, the Creature Builder is a nice plus. There are other wheels you can purchase for a minimal fee, such as the Character Builder (I snagged that one immediately) and the World Builder. More wheels will be forthcoming. You can also create and save your own wheels or tweak existing wheels. Heck, yes, it’s fun, plus the basic platform is free, so if you have a smart phone, check it out in the App Store or Google Play!

Write or Die
This one is available for your PC but also has an app for your iPhone or iPad. I admit I’ve only done the trial run and haven’t purchased the software. The platform is extreme, but if anything can motivate you, Write or Die will do the job. You’re able to set word count objectives with specific time limit goals (i.e, 400 words in one minute) but it does’t end there. You can decide on rewards, stimulus, or consequences if don’t meet your goal. Stimulus might be the sound of breaking surf or a kitten purring, whereas consequences could be anything from shrieking banshee sounds to spiders crawling over your computer screen. And if you’re in kamikaze mode, you could lose everything you’ve written. Not for the faint of heart, Write or Die will give you a solid kick in the butt to get ideas out of your head and onto your computer!

Portent’s Content Idea Generator
This one is free and it’s fun. It can also be kind of silly. Looking for an idea to blog about?   Enter a topic and Portent gives you a headline for your launch pad. As an example I entered “novels” and got “How Hollywood Got Novels all wrong.” I also entered “cats” and got “Why Cats are Scarier than Dating Taylor Swift.” See what I mean—fun and also kind of silly.  One of my last entries was “writer’s block” which netted the headline “What the Beatles Could Learn from Writer’s Block.” Have at it. And have fun!

This isn’t a writing app, but works at sharpening the mind through communication and analytical skills—Writing, Reading, Listening, Speaking and (ugh!) Math. It’s been reviewed in USA Today,  the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and CNet to name a few. I’ve used it going on three years now and love the many “games” it offers, all of which are beautifully designed and easy to use. You can start with a free trial but if you want to continue there is a yearly cost. It personalizes your training, shows you performance results, and makes recommendations for improvement. In my case, most of that involves math skills (double ugh!).

Obviously, there are ton of apps out there to help with writing, brainstorming, and creativity. I’ve downloaded quite a few that sounded awesome, only to discover they fizzled in use. Fortunately, the bulk of them were free. Much of it comes down to trial and error, but there are a few things you can do when looking for apps:

  1. Read reviews to see what others are saying about an app that interests you.
  2. Don’t make in-app purchases until you’ve had a chance to familiarize yourself with the app’s features and how they work.
  3. If you’re uncertain ask others. There is a huge and helpful #WritingCommunity on Twitter.
  4. And although I don’t use Facebook, there are plenty of author groups to connect with there as well.

Now it’s your turn. Have you used any of these apps? Do any sound appealing? What are some of the apps you’ve used and found helpful? Share your thoughts in the  comments below.

Ready, set, go!

Bio box for author, Mae Clair


40 thoughts on “Cool Apps for Writers

  1. Thanks for sharing. I just started keeping a travel blog about a month ago, and, while writing a few posts, remembered how much I enjoy writing. I downloaded The Brainstormer. It reminds me of some of the writing prompts I used to get in my creative writing classes back in high school and college. BTW, as a few others have mentioned: The Brainstormer costs $1.99 now… but, still not out of reach for most folks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi! Glad to have you stop by and check out the post. I’m glad you discovered enjoyment with writing again through your travel blog. Also delighted you found Brainstormer to be a fun app. Like you said, $1.99 is still affordable. I guess I lucked out and was able to grab it before they flipped it from free to pay, but my guess is that it probably comes with more features. Many thanks for visiting and happy brain storming! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: How NaNoWriMo Writers are as Cute as Kittens – Tessa Talks Books

  3. Pingback: Cool Apps for Writers | Welcome to Harmony Kent Online

    • They’re fun to play around with, Robbie. Given a lot of them are free I thought they were worth experimenting with. The brainstormer app is fun because you can be stuck somewhere waiting, and just give it a spin for a creative jolt! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s definitely fun, Jan, and it’s free. If you check it out, I hope you enjoy experimenting with the prompts.
      P.S…..Hope you’re enjoying NaNo too. I haven’t written a thing for days <gulp!>. I hope to get back to it this Sunday!

      Liked by 2 people

      • I looked at your word count on NaNo through being Buddies, and honey, your word count makes mine look pitiful! I kept my grandchildren and two dogs for four days so you can imagine I didn’t get much writing done during that. However, I have this weekend and hope to get some good time in. The beauty of it is that you lose nothing and only have something to gain from participating. If nothing else, it got me back to my story!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I thought I replied to this! How did I miss doing that?
        I had a really strong first day writing, Jan (9,037 words on day 1), then after that I fizzled. I did manage to add some words yesterday, but my story keeps changing as I write it. Right now it’s an ugly mess, but at least it’s something.
        And I can see how hard it would be writing with grandkids and pets, LOL. I am glad, however, doing NaNo has gotten you back into your story. That’s great!!


    • I have to admit, I’m not brave enough to dive into Write or Die, but it seems to have a lot of fans.
      I really enjoy Brainstormer and Elevate is great for stimulating creativity and keeping the brain sharp, something I need as I age, LOL.
      I haven’t written a thing for days on NaNo, but I hope to make up for that lapse this weekend.
      Have a good one, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t even heard of these. What a hermit I am. Brainstormer sounds fun. Might be a cool writing prompt for blog only stuff, and could be even more on some spins. I only ever use things that are more like tools, like my corkboard app.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have fun with it, Priscilla. The spiders would totally freak me out.
      And I can just imagine typing along, in a zone, not hitting word count, then having a banshee suddenly shriek from the speakers. It would take me hours to recover, LOL!


    • You and me both about the Beatles, Joan, YIKES!

      I love Brainstormer. Don’t forget to add the creature builder (it’s free), and I think the character builder was .99c. It’s a great app.
      And it makes a cool sound when you spin the wheels on your phone, LOL!

      Liked by 2 people

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