iPad Writing App Recs

So, it’s almost time for NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. In honor of Steve Jobs, I’ve decided to write this year’s NaNo novel in my iPad. (Of course, there are other reasons, too!) While glancing around and trying to find an appropriate writing app, I happened upon half a dozen writing and novel planning apps that I just have to share with the world–all of them free!

Draftpad is a lovely free typing/writing app. From what I can tell, there is no way to save what you write in it. It looks to me like the sort of app you would compose something in (like this blog post!), and then copy and paste to another app. However, it’s very plain, simple, and straightforward. If you’re looking for something to just type away in with no distractions, this might be the thing for you. Remember, though, you can’t save it! But for me, this is just not the thing for a thirty-day long writing marathon.

This is a brilliant Onenote-esque writing app that syncs online. You download the app, make an account, and every time you’re online, Evernote automatically saves and backs all your writing and notes. You can make different notebooks and tag your notes, so that you can browse by notebook or tag. To my knowledge there is no word count feature, though. Sadly. However, it’s a brilliant back-up system, because everything you write is saved to the web. No losing your word count!

Basically, the iPad version of Microsoft Onenote. I found it very hard to navigate, and the instructions were unclear as to how to add notes and edit things and such. Also, you can apparently sync it with your current Onenote stuff, but it appeared to cost money. For a poor teenager, that’s just not an option. This may be the app for you, but I didn’t like it.

Sundry Notes
Wow. This is a do-all app, for the most part. You create a note, which appears as a single sheet of notebook paper on the screen. You then have the option to create a picture, a table, a recording, a text box, a whiteboard, an internet page, a calculator, or a symbol. The downsides? You can’t move anything you’ve created, and you can’t go beyond the one page of notebook paper. So every time you ran out, you’d have to create another page for your novel. A bit slow and counter-productive, but some people might like it.

Documents free
This is brilliant. I expect I will be using it for my actual NaNo writing this year. You can create a word document, a spreadsheet, or a paint document. It’s very simple, straightforward, and easy. I love it. Downside? No word count bar. But it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to copy and paste to the NaNo word count updated, I don’t think. I would totally recommend this for novel writing.

Now, whilst all those apps could also be used for story planning, I’ve found BETTER apps for such a purpose. Here they are. Keep in mind that all of these are excellent tools, but you may prefer one over the other. Also, some of them have limited capabilities, especially with the free versions.

I love this app. Basically, you have a whiteboard that you can either draw on or cover with sticky notes, which come in six colors. You can rearrange the sticky notes to your heart’s desire. I found, while testing this app, that it would be better suited to one story planning session, rather than multiple, stories at once. But it’s still magnificent, if that sort of thing floats your boat.

This is my favorite app ever. You double click on the page and a little window pops up. You can have one of six colors, adjust the size, and add connecting bubbles to it. Then inside the bubble, you add text, pictures, and drawings. This is great for multiple novels, characters, plots, etc. It’s even better than stickyboard. Definitely not for writing a whole novel in, but still totally awesome nonetheless.

Idea Sketch
A very nice bubble outline. You create bubbles (or squares or whatever), then add names and descriptions and link relevant ones together. It’s a very neat novel or character planning app similar to Popplet, but without a few of the features. It’s quite simple, and I liked using it.

(EDIT: When I came back to this on my PC to edit for Sp/Gr., I realized I’ve been using Idea Sketch for all my novel ideas for this year. I’d recommend this most, because it appears as if you can have unlimited space for ideas and such.)

A sci-fi esque app. You make groups, add subgroups, and notes or photos. You can change the colors and have a ton of different categories. Also, there seems to be little difference between the free version and the paid version. The text also bounces a bit when you move the iPad. Very cute.

So, I’ve looked at all these apps so you don’t have to spend two hours shopping around. Unless, of course, you’re like me, in which case, go right ahead! Keep in mind that there are many other apps out there, some free and some not, which you may like better than these. But it’s always a good idea to read the reviews before paying for anything, and trying the free version first (if there is one) to see if you like it. Also, don’t be afraid to delete apps if you know you’re not going to use them.

Now I have to decide what app I want to use to plan my novel!

(Edit: Idea Space and Stickboard. :3)

Mercia Dragonslayer


About merciatremblac

I'm a junior in college, creative writing major, currently living in the mountains of North Carolina with my best friend for a roommate.
This entry was posted in iPad, iPad Apps, NaNoWriMo, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to iPad Writing App Recs

  1. Jenni N says:

    I’m going to google links for these, but it’d be really helpful to have links already in the post. 🙂

    Thanks for the post, quite helpful! 😀

    • Jenni N says:

      And… suddenly realised why you didn’t put links up… they’re all iPad apps. **blush**

      I’m going to hunt around for Windows versions anyhow. xD

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