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My 5 top writing apps

Main writing apps I use

I am going share with you writing apps that I use. There are a lot of articles comparing applications so rather than rehash what others have written, I’ll go into why I use them.

Scrivener
This is my go-to writing software. What I really like about this programme is the ability to drag and drop scenes and chapters. I did use Word for many years and moving chapters was a real pain. I came across Scrivener from reading a blogger I follow and his experiences using the app. I tried the free version and love how easy it was to use; however, I haven’t used all the features available. The app has a user manual and how to videos. Though I haven’t quite worked out an easy way to export the manuscript into Word. Each time I go to export, I never get it right.

There’s a one-off payment. I have the Windows version which is a little different and the functionality not as slick as the programme was initially designed for Macs.

Editing tools

ProWritingAid: I use the application when I’ve gone through the edits multiple times myself and can’t see the wood for the trees anymore. It’s great for picking up passive and sticky sentences, repetitive word use, adverbs, and gives a readability score, which I find useful. I still go through the ms after the checks and before I send my final edits to my editor.

The bonus is ProWritingAid and Scrivener work together. Once I’ve finished my edits on Scrivener, I open PWA to access my manuscript, no file saves needed or messy transfers. The link between programmes is seamless.

I did have the free version but upgraded as the functions were limited and the upside, there is only one payment and the programme is yours forever.

HemmingwayApp: this is a free online edit checker and I’ve used it as the first run of edits. It identifies passive verbs, picks up adverbs, complicated sentences and gives your work a readability score. For a free app, it’s quite good.

Vellum
This is a Mac only application. It converts your manuscript into epub, PDF and print formats. This is super handy for prepping your ms for publishing. It does cost, but again a once off payment and the designers send you upgrades when they occur. I decided to buy the application after outsourcing one of my books and wasn’t happy with the formatting issues. Lots of back and forth to get it fixed.

DeepL
This is an amazing tool for translating languages, which in my most recent book The Guardian’s Legacy, part of the setting is in France hence I wanted to include some French. I did have someone who spoke French check over my dialogue to make sure it was authentic, but DeepL has made it easier to translate from English. I have the free version though tempted to buy the paid version as the app will give a verbal translation so you can hear how it should sound. But it never replaces a person who speaks the language.

NaturalReader
I use this application to listen to my story. It helps identify sticky sentences and whether it is a smooth read. It does have a paid version which allows you to access different voices, the free version only has the default voice.

In addition to these applications, I use a range of web-based Thesauri: Wordhippo, OneLook thesaurus, Thesaurus.com, Merriam-Webster, and PowerThesaurus.

I’ve included links to other websites that give a good overview of these applications and many others.

If you’re a writer or not, what applications do you use and why?

Thank you for your continued support and as always, I look forward to your comments and will respond.

Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, burnt out but not done… yet.

Beware, by opting in you get to hear me talk about my favourite topics like ancient civilisations, mythology and historical figures and the odd funny anecdotes.

applications, software, writing, writing apps

  1. I tend not to use software, but a couple of these look really useful – especially the Hemmingway app. I stick with the voice reader on Word – like you say it’s a great way to check the flow of sentences. I might try this app too – the Word voices are a bit mechanical.

    1. Luciana says:

      I hope you find those apps useful, Annalisa. Let me know how you get on with them 🙂

  2. Great ideas–sharing. I’ve heard of some, never tried Scrivener or ProWritingAid. It’s good to hear your thoughts on them. Natural Reader–I didn’t like but I think it just didn’t work right on my platform. I even opted for the paid version. I had MS Word read my latest ms to me last week and it was really good. They’ve upgraded that function a lot on the Office 365.

    Checking out your links, too!

    1. Luciana says:

      I don’t have Office 365 but the previous version. I may try the read aloud function. Natural Reader have limited a lot of their functions from when it was first released 🙁

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