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.
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:
- Read reviews to see what others are saying about an app that interests you.
- Don’t make in-app purchases until you’ve had a chance to familiarize yourself with the app’s features and how they work.
- If you’re uncertain ask others. There is a huge and helpful #WritingCommunity on Twitter.
- 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!