If you’re anything like me, the motivation to write and the floods of inspiration tend to come at the worst possible times. While I’m a firm believer that there is no substitute for sitting at your desk for hours with tea constantly being fed to you intravenously to get stuff done, there surely has got to be some way that we can utilise that spark of inspiration or motivation when it strikes… right?
You bet there is. The following apps are all available for Android OS and have served me well for all my writing needs:
No doubt if you enjoy writing you will have heard this advice: ‘Carry a notepad with you everywhere you go!’
It’s good advice, but if you’re anything like me you will almost never remember to bring a notepad with you and even if you do, your handwriting will be completely illegible. Another thing I find frustrating about physical notepads is that it is difficult to keep notes on individual writing projects separate from one another (unless you can be bothered carrying multiple notepads around with you, in which case, power to you!).
Notebooks by DroidVeda LLP is a neat and tidy little app which allows you to keep virtual notebooks on your phone or tablet. With it you can easily create a bookshelf of virtual notepads with as many or as few pages as you desire. Each page has the option of being given its own individual title and (as far as I can tell) has an unlimited word count. This allows for easy note taking on multiple projects without them getting muddled up in any way.
The separate pages in each book also make it easy to find what you’re looking for. For instance, I often use Notebooks to ‘audition’ characters for my stories. This allows me to write as long or as short a note as I want for each character and to keep them apart from other characters (I’ll maybe write a post about this method of developing characters in another post; I’ve found it most beneficial and enjoyable!). I also use it to write rough drafts of stories, blogs and even to write song lyrics (another hobby of mine!). If you’re organised enough, you could probably even use it to draft a full length novel, using individual pages as chapters.
Other features include: password protection, a search feature, font/colour customisability, hand-writing/drawing, page bookmarking, online or local back-up of all notebooks and the ability to convert your notepad into a PDF.
I will admit there are a few minor improvements to be made (I really wish you could re-arrange the order of your pages, for instance) but considering it costs no more than the price of drawing a breath, I can’t recommend it highly enough!
Thinkamingo’s tagline on Google Play says ‘We create tools that engage the creative core’. That is precisely what this app does for me. Whether I am trying to come up with a brand new story idea or simply develop a character for a current project, Thinkamingo’s Lists for Writers helps me to do exactly that.
It’s very basic in some respects. It really is just a collection of lists divided into categories, but what a splendid collection it is. I can’t possibly list all of them here but suffice it to say it contains an extensive collection of lists under the following categories:
- Character – Naming,
- Character – Phyiscal Characteristics,
- Character – Occupations,
- Character – Milestones,
- Personality – Thoughts (includes everything from general characteristics and emotions to phobias and obsessions),
- Personality – Behaviours (habits, hobbies, etc.),
- Plots (includes lists of possible types of conflicts and issues, etc.),
- Settings – Geographical,
- Settings – Countries by Continent,
- Settings – Other (includes other terms relevant to setting such as forms of government, types of weather, etc.),
- Miscellaneous (there’s quite a lot of these, including animal sounds, colours, styles of dance, etc)
- Words – Grammar,
- Words – Fun (for instance, ‘Aussie slang’)
My main criticism of this app is that only some of the lists, such as the list of phobias, include definitions of each term; others do not. At £1.99, it was perhaps a little pricey for not-a-lot-of-app but I can’t deny that it gets my imaginative juices flowing in a big way.
If mind-maps are your thing then Mindly by Dripgrind is one not to be missed. It is easily one of the least cluttered looking mind-map apps I’ve ever seen, in that it displays only the element you are working with and its immediate child-elements. Visually the elements are all very simple; suitably proportioned circles, each with a visible title and a small icon (if desired). If you want to add detailed notes to any of your elements, this is easily accomplished simply by tapping the appropriate element on the mind-map and typing your note in the box that appears. The note will be saved to that element and can be accessed later, however the actual text of the note will not be visible on the mind-map itself, keeping it easy on the eye.
If you’re the sort of person who prefers an image to a word, it is also possible to make elements out of photos stored on your device (as far as I can tell, however, there is no way to add notes, titles or icons to these photo-elements). It is also possible to make elements which serve as hyperlinks to whatever website you fancy.
Other features include the ability to view your mind-map in its entirety, the ability to print your mind-map, customisable colour schemes, sharing, dropbox sync and a visual ‘clipboard’ which allows you to easily move elements around. It will set you back £4.49 if you want to enjoy all the export options this app has to offer and there is a relatively generous limit on how many elements you can have on the free version (though I’ve not reached it yet!).
I can’t deny it; I have quite a few apps on my phone that I write/plan with, so here is a whistle-stop tour of a few others I can recommend:
Dubscript Screenplay Writer by The Production Company – Allows you to write your screenplay out in plain-text and quickly converts it into screenplay format for you. Price: free
Jotterpad by 2 App Studio – Distraction free text editor. Price: Free but with £5.50 upgrade available
Story Plot Gen by Arc Apps – There’s lots of plot generator apps out there that mix random elements together to get your creative juices flowing but this one has a much higher chance of giving you plots that actually make sense. Price: free or £1.49 for pro version.
Until next time!