We really don’t need to discuss the technology I learned to use during my corporate career; programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These have become almost second nature to us by now. Instead, I would like to talk about today’s technology.
Okay, I know I was way behind the curve. I did finally get a smartphone last summer and I love it! Although, it’s not the latest and greatest, it works for me. I have with the iPhone 4S and I love, love, love Siri! I can rule the world with this phone. It’s amazing.
I was thrilled to discover some apps for writers that are not only helpful, but fun to use, and did I mention they’re free. What’s not to like about that, right?
Try them out, and let me know what you think.
1. Story Tracker-This app gives you a place to store all the info for submissions, queries, and contests. Use Story Tracker’s statistics feature to show deadlines for contest entries or response times, which is helpful for follow-ups with agents and editors. It’s also a great place to store info for submissions or contests you are planning to enter for future reference.
2. Name Dice-This random name generator is handy to have around for choosing character names. I usually spend a bit more time on major and secondary characters, but this is a perfect way to find quick names for minor characters. A few examples: Pauline Trent, Franklin Clarke, Genesis Atkins, Tate Newman. Cool, huh? For some reason, looking at randomly generated names like this, almost brings a character to mind. If you need a unique new character give this little app a try. Oh, yeah—instead of pushing a button to bring up a new name, you can shake your phone too.
3. Daily Diary-Two things I like about this little app. First, I can voice record and second, it’s searchable! I wish my handwritten journals were searchable.
4. A Novel Idea- This is one I wish I had available on my laptop. It’s a bit too small to work on the iPhone screen for everything this bad boy can do. You can build an entire novel from this little app. Come up with an idea, give it a working title, and then attach character info, location info, and scenes right there. I use it to store snippets for future projects.
5. Dropbox-I love not having to worry about backing up my work and then, years later, trying to remember where I stashed my flash drive. Dropbox syncs with my laptop, PC, and phone so all of my work is updated and I’m always working on the correct version. If you’ve ever lost a file or forgot to transfer a file to a different location and written a new scene in an older version, you’re going to love Dropbox. If you refer friends, you get more free space, but as long as you don’t store photos you should have enough free storage for .docx files or .pdfs.
6. Syno-Speak or type a word to quickly find synonyms. Convenient if my Synonym Finder isn’t nearby. By the way, the Synonym Finder by Rodale is the absolute best thesaurus on the planet, but it’s a real book—not an app.
7. RhymeFree-A quick and easy rhyming dictionary with syllable counts. A must have for poets!
8. Urban Dictionary-Get with it! Ever see a joke on Facebook or Twitter that you just don’t get? Want to know what’s what with the youth of today? Look no further than the Urban Dictionary, but beware…it’s not PG rated.
9. Weird WOD-As writers, we are supposed to know off-the-wall words. We may not use them in everything we write, but sometimes these unexpected gems can add a bit of pizzazz to a screwy character’s dialogue. Learn a weird word every day with this app. Here are a few examples to pack away for future use; corviform, lunarist, mugwump, and infuscate. Fortunately, the app also gives definitions.
10. AnyList-Okay, I use this app for everything, not just for writing. I can say to Siri, “Add milk to my grocery list.” And she does. Then while I shop, I tap ‘milk’ and it’s gone. But it’s not just for grocery lists. I have To Do Lists, Today Lists, Events Lists, Christmas Lists, and Ideas Lists. Siri works with all of them. I absolutely love this app. You can also upgrade and get more bells and whistles which I may do in the future.
11. Wordinaire-What’s that word? It was right on the tip of my tongue and now it’s gone—not with this baby!
A couple of years ago, I lost one of my best writing friends, Chuck Mallory. Chuck was the type of guy I could call at 7 am and say, “I can’t think of the word I need, it’s got something to do with Art History and I think it starts with a ‘p’.
Good ol’ Chuck would say, “Good morning. I just woke up. Let me think on it and call you back.”
He’d call back in a few minutes. “Was it provenance?”
“Yeah! That’s it. Thanks, Chuck. See you later.”
I really miss him. No one else seems to have a sense of humor about my early morning phone calls and no one has the command of the English language like Chuck did. Although, Wordinare can’t replace my dear friend, it can give me an alphabetical list of words when I type ‘art history’ and right there in the p’s is ‘provenance.’
12. ***It did take me a while to find the most important button on the iPhone for any writer. Now, I use it religiously every day—the ‘off’ button. Not vibrate, not ‘do not disturb’; I turn it all the way off until I’m finished my word count for the day. Siri is much too distracting and, until they come up with an app to keep my butt-in-the-chair, I have to give my wonderful new tool a rest so I can get some writing done on my next novel, Pangaea.
Found any fancy new apps to add to this list? I’d love to hear about them!
I’d love for you to check out my latest book, Strategic Rewriting, for more writing tips and tricks. It’s available on Amazon as a print and as an eBook, but if you’d like a signed copy, simply order Strategic Rewriting from www.dogearedpagesusedbooks.com