• Diann Schindler, Ph.D.

My Favorite Eight Apps and Software Writing Tools.

I cannot write without these tools.

ProWritingAid offers world-class grammar and style checking combined with more in-depth reports to help you strengthen your writing. This app automatically suggests thousands of style improvements so you can breeze through editing. It searches out elements such as repetitiveness, vague wording, sentence length variation, over-dependence on adverbs, passive voice, over-complicated sentence constructions, and more. Twenty-five reports in altogether.

And it integrates with MS Word/Outlook, Google Docs, Scrivener, Open Office, and Final Draft so you can edit wherever you write.

I NEVER publish or post until after I’ve checked it thoroughly with ProWritingAid.

Fee Structure: $20/month; $79/year (25% off at the time of this writing); or $299/annually (25% off at the time of this writing).

A THESAURUS is a necessity and plentiful . My go-to thesaurus IS within Dictionary.

WORDHIPPO is great when looking for synonyms with a variety of categories, including rhymes, translations, and more. And WordHippo doesn’t limit you to one word. Two words or a short phrase work as well.

ONE-LOOK REVERSE DICTIONARY lets you describe a concept and you get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a single word, a few words, or even a sentence. Type in your description and hit “enter,” or select a word that shows up in the autocomplete preview to see the related words.

AUTHORS AI performs an excellent analysis of A manuscript in minutes. It uses artificial intelligence to help authors improve their writing and create unputdownable books. The artificial intelligence is named Marlowe. A few facts about Marlowe:

She’s fast. Marlowe can read your book and deliver a 25+ page comprehensive critique within an hour.

She doesn’t play favorites and she doesn’t have a favorite genre. She doesn’t judge whether your book is a light-as-air fantasy, or a thriller filled with gore or violence. She reads all fictional genres and sub-genres and returns equal and unbiased feedback, though she will tweak her results based on her specific genre norms.

Of course, this isn’t free. But Marlowe is inexpensive, especially when you compare the cost of a human editor. Marlowe allows you to run multiple versions of your report and can be used at every stage in the life of your manuscript. Let Marlowe identify and help you solve early issues before your manuscript reaches an editor or beta readers.

The fee schedule include 3 plans: Basic, Pro, or one report. Click HERE for details.

Note! Marlowe doesn’t replace your developmental or copy editors. I have purchased the Pro plan ($29.95/month pay as I go.) I use Marlowe before sending manuscripts to editors. I want to know and correct ahead of time problems with character traits, plot arcs, narrative arcs, pacing, punctuation, sentence structure, reading level, and more.

WAKELET is a free app. Use Wakelet to curate content from across the web; gather research; and create digital portfolios, stories, newsletters, and more. I have twelve files saved on my Wakelet page chock full of articles, websites, photos, my notes…everything I need as I develop ideas. And all at my fingertips. That’s right. No more bookmarking and losing that l link in a long list of links. Check it out!

PLOTTR SOFTWARE Outlining a story can be a complicated process. Authors use Plottr to increase productivity or hammer out story lines, so their books are easier to write. Whether you’re a pantser or a plotter, Plottr is an ingenious, outstanding interactive software.

It was a lifesaver when I was writing “Claim Denied,” especially when I had to switch chapters around or follow through on a sub plot line. I had added a brief description of each chapter, including characters, locations, red herrings, progressive complications, etc. So, I had quick and easy access to the details I needed to make crucial editing decisions – rather than sifting through my 88,125-word manuscript.

There are too many useful features to list here. Check it out with this Initial Tutorial video.

The fee schedule starts at $25 annually, usually with a 30-day free trial.

WHITE BOARD. An old fashion, non-electronic white board. I love it for recording ideas, making lists, organizing, and solving complicated plot lines. In the midst of writing my thriller, "Claim Denied," I ran into brick walls. I had dropped clues, forgotten essential aspects of suspenseful scenes, and more. Confusion reigned supreme. Yes, Plotrr helped but sometimes I needed to solve a plot problem.

For example, I asked myself: When Andy accepted the phone call at Pinocchio’s restaurant in Prishtina Kosovo and left the room, who was the caller? Telling the reader would be a spoiler. But lordy, it was a loose end I had to tie up! I ruminated for days trying to make sense of it.

Finally, one morning at 5:00 am, I woke up with the answer! I ran to my white board to capture my brilliance before it escaped into an abyss. Writing, erasing, and rewriting.

Curses! Before I had every detailed captured, the electricity* went out. Ever the survivor, I stumbled through the dark to the flashlight in my nightstand drawer and back to my precious whiteboard.

*No electricity. No computer. Whiteboard (and flashlight) to the rescue!

Note: When I need a clean whiteboard to scribe more creative brainstorms, I take a photo of what I’ve written with my phone. I print it and file it in my novel “bible.” Then, with a quick swipe of the eraser, I am poised to resolve yet another dilemma.

I refuse to write without these wonderful devices. And I’m open to more! What are your favorite apps/software tools?

Write your answers in the comment section below.