6 Writers' Apps for NaNoWriMo

Weekly Smartphone App Roundup

National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) is just around the corner and wordsmiths everywhere are in preparation for a productive month of writing. Over the last several years I've discovered several writing apps that have proved helpful with several aspects of the writing process, whether it's organizing initial ideas, outlining a draft, or getting down to business of finalizing a story...

iOS

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Left: Idea Store - Right: Drafts for iPhone

Idea Store
There are many resources to keep track of creative thoughts like Evernote or AwesomeNote, but I'm pretty keen on using Idea Store because of their "card" interface. Idea Store gives each thought a card that can be grouped, flagged, tagged, and synced across devices using Dropbox (the UI looks a little like Google Now notifications). If each creative idea is important, shouldn't that warrant an app of it's own? $3.00

Drafts for iPhone
I recommend Drafts for three main reasons: 1. it loads fast, which is helpful when I have an idea or inspiration delicately captured in my own head; 2. drafts has a wide range of functions and services it can interact with (e.g. Dropbox or Evernote); 3. and finally, the app's file format helps me clear my head. Each document is either filed away in the "work in progress" folder, stored in the trunk, or pinned in a safe box. $3.00

Android

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Left: SimpleMind - Right: Simplenote

SimpleMind
Mind mapping, a diagram used to visually outline information, is an effective method of creating clarity from the discord brewing in our heads. SimpleMind helps me to make notes using bubbles or snapshots which can be visually linked to other related snippets. Although the end result can look a bit daunting, it puts all information like characters, events, or locations on one page. SimpleMind is also excellent as a project planning tool. Free - Also available for iOS

Simplenote
I use Scrivener, a one-of-a-kind desktop app for writers for writing notes, drafts, characters sheets, and outlines. All these writing components can be synced up to the popular cloud based note service, Simplenote, which has an app available across mobile platforms. When I'm done writing via phone or tablet, I can then sync up everything I've written afterward, and save the alterations for additional review from my desktop Scrivener project. Free - Also available for iOS / Windows Phone

Windows Phone

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Write or Die
Writers who thrive under pressure or are seeking a little dose of tough love might want to check out Write or Dies' unorthodox motivational tools which use different degree of consequences to motivate efficient writing. Set a writing goal, a time limit, and one of three punishments. If you start to get distracted and stop writing, one of three things can happen: a pop up reminder, a horrific sound, or worst of all, words will start being deleted! Free - Also available for iOS / Android

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Chaos Control
Tackling a writing project of any capacity usually requires a methodical step-by-step breakdown, with many stops along the way from idea inception to actually writing a story. Chaos Control is a powerful task manager checklist app for the Windows Phone platform which color codes tasks based on importance; the most important ideas can be pinned as a live tile on the home screen, extremely useful for breaking up writing or any project where multi-steps are required. Free - Also available for iOS / Android

(Images: Jason Rodway; as linked above)