With National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starting in a few hours there’s no better time to find the best way for the budding novelist to complete the 50,000 word count challenge. As a writer with novel writing experience (currently in the editing process) I have some insight into what it takes to complete 50,000 words and then some.
I am a big fan of writing on-the-go. Uber, metro, waiting rooms, during lunch breaks; these are novel writing moments. How do I do that? I use apps and back up everything on a mass storage usb. Without further ado, here are some of the best apps to help you take on NaNoWriMo:
For taking notes on the go:
This app is ok up front. It has sticky notes, lines, unlined, colors, files, folders, and calendars. It also has a desktop version. But it quickly charges you for most of those features. Ever heard the term starving artist, yeah that’s why apps for a fee aren’t my thing. I’m not a fan, but you might love it or already have a subscription. If so go further and write.
I like the folders and the multiple formats I can save in but it does have fees to save in certain formats. I can upload to Dropbox for free and save to my usb stick. For a low cost there are resources like a typewriter, Dictionary, Thesaurus, and a Rhyming Dictionary. As I mentioned above free is fee I pay so I stick to the basic version and use it everyday. I wish I could drag and drop the files but I can easily move, copy and/or create subfolders. Not bad for a free note taking app.
Google’s version of Evernote but 100% free. The calendar is Google calendar and I believe it’s still separate. It is also not easy to export notes or to sort into folders. When it first came out I was write takeaway orders and shopping lists on it so I could easily share those with my family. When I moved to Egypt at the beginning of 2015 I didn’t need those feature anymore and I preferred the storage space for pictures. If you already have this app and don’t want to or have space to download JotterPad then use it!
Plan, plot, develop characters, and publish:
This is great and I used this to plan characters, but it charges to change formats, upload to Dropbox, and to use certain features. I liked that it let me design a book cover, but it does that as part of it’s publishing bookstore. It urges you to publish on their platform constantly! I didn’t want to do that so I saved the .txt files and uninstalled this app, but I truly loved it. If I could pay for it I would absolutely do so, because I recommend this app!
This is very similar to Book Writer Lite with the kick-butt story mapping, but it is slightly better. It is avaible in IOS (here’s a similar android version) It has picture book features, artist paintbrushes, audiobook recorder, and a ebook publishing platform. I wasn’t looking for those features but if you are, download ASAP!
Track your progress:
I love this app!!! I use the WriteoMeter app many times a day. I create a project, and set a wordcount goal for the entire project and for daily writing. I can also add writing times to track how long I plan to write and set custom rewards (like check instagram, message a friend, or watch a YouTube video). Whenever I write I set a timer. As soon as my phone vibrates I log my wordcount, times, how my writing went and if I earned my reward. Periodically, I check my stats on a chart to see my average wordcount, peak writing times, and how many rewards I’ve earned. When you have a large word count like NaNoWritMo’s 50k this is PERFECT!
Plan it all out:
I plan my work right in the JotterPad app and sort it all out in folders and subfolders. I also copy all of my notes to a handy mass storage USB so I can always double check them on the go. You can do that or you can have a separate app to help you. This is the single best app out there for android to plan and organize thoughts as well as schedule writing into your life. I may download this app for my managing other aspects of my life!
To help with actors in your stories:
This is basically a digital character development worksheet. It’s great for the planet and newer writers. It’s not great because you cannot export this information at all, like ever! I need to be able to export and save copies of all my writing. If you don’t need exports download CharacterStory.
This app is nearly identical to CharacterStory but it has a cleaner layout (great UX) and will store all your characters in a gender based list. I think in an LBGTQISA there are too way genders and sexual orientations to just choose blue or pink to sort my characters by. I again could not export the list when I finished. Needless to say not the best app but if you like this free app with it’s sleek format use it.
Character Generator is very cool. It is like character roulette. click refresh and the character development characters are replaced with a new combination of personal details. I kind of feel like I’m cheating myself out of the creative process with this one. I downloaded once to play with and found it amazing but more distracting that helpful. If you have a minor character you’re confused about I’d given this one a go.
Writer’s block fighters:
I’ve never had writers block (knock on wood, inshaAllah, and spit in the wind it never plagues me) if you are cursed by this evil beseecher or you simply would like a prompt (even just as a writing exercise) check out these apps:
This is straight forward and I love it when I am between assignments and novels. If writing exercising is your jam than you need Writing Exercises and Prompts in your life. In a click of a button you get a random plot. Swipe ‘Writing Exercises” to get corresponding activities to strengthen and stretch your writing talents (what, did I just take that metaphor too far?). I removed this due to space issues bad I absolutely will re-download this once I remove my current novel from JotterPad.
I haven’t used this app but I have perused the website and it rocks and is going on my recommendation list for all creative writers. It has the coolest prompts! You will not just get a small paragraph of a story outlet but you get a color, pictures, a single word, and so many more options to choose from as prompts! I’m in love with this format. It is available on IOS, Andriod, and desktop. Plus I can put notes right into the prompt and save it offline. I’m not sure if I can export these prompts or notes but even so I still think this is worth a try.
Have a community:
I’m not a community of writers online sort of person because I get paranoid about protecting my ideas. If you like online support check these out:
If I was to be a free ebook writer or a fanfic writer this would be my platform. The community has challenges to help you with your writing. Much like social media site you can follow, private message, bookmark, have a feed (your ‘stream’) and even block writers you don’t want to see your stuff.
Ok, I fibbed I am in this community, but as a reader not a writer. Novels in public domain, fanfic, novellas, and thousands of free ebooks live here, therefore I come here too. You can post work here and share with friends, but it is all unpaid. It’s like Medium for non
Of course you can just join WriMo Companion. It lets you track your stats and compare them to the rest of users. I don’t like the comparsion part but I do like that you can friend other writers and cheer them on. Support is always great.
Writing has been around for thousands of writers you absolutely don’t need all or any of these apps. Find the writing method and get writing. NaNoWriMo is not about become an expert or a professional writer, its about challenging yourself to write more and knowing that you can really create a story and complete 50,000 words.
I’ll be here writing no matter what month it is.