Posts Tagged ‘The Best Writing Software’

The Best Writing Software

9 Writing Tools for Authors to Create, Organize, and Edit

By: Jennifer Wilson

Finding the software that works best for you is a great debate amongst writers. There are a lot of options, and none are wrong. But some are better than others.

I use a whole slew of software during my process including Plottr for scheming, Scrivener for writing, ProWritingAid and Grammarly for editing and then Word for sending to editors/betas. AND there’s even more options out there. It can be overwhelming, so I’m breaking down some of the top programs for you—what they do, how much they cost and their pros/cons.

Plotting Software:

Plottr software image

Plottr – Outline faster, plot smarter, and turbocharge your productivity today with the #1 visual book planning software for writers.

  • Outline plot
  • Create Story Bible
  • Create notes on Character and Places
  • Attach notes to plot points
  • Simple click and drag interface
  • Starter templates
  • Ongoing updates and support

Cost: 30 Day Free Trial – $25 one-time payment for desktop app

Pros:

  • Works with Mac & PC
  • Easy to use
  • Lots of tutorials
  • Good for visual thinkers
  • Exports into Scrivener and Word

Cons:

  • Can’t print the screen
  • Growing pains of new software – glitches happen

Scapple

Scapple – It’s a virtual sheet of paper that lets you make notes anywhere and connect them using lines or arrows.

  • Brain storming focused
  • Write loose notes
  • Connect ideas
  • Tidy thoughts as they progress

Cost: 30 Day Free Trial – $18 one-time payment for desktop

Pros:

  • Works with Mac & PC
  • Easy to use
  • Good for free thought
  • Can import images and text files
  • Good for visual thinkers
  • Can drag notes into Scrivener

Cons:

  • Requires many steps to reformat notes
  • Not structured
  • No plotting templates
  • Doesn’t export to other writing programs

Writing Software:

Word screenshot

Word – Word helps you put your best words forward – anytime, anywhere and with anyone. Basic writing software.

  • Formatting tools
  • Word count
  • Built-in editor
  • Desktop and App versions
  • Built-in thesaurus
  • Auto-save & OneDrive cloud sync
  • Read Aloud feature
  • Tracks changes

Cost: Free Browser option – $69 Year for desktop – $139.99 one-time purchase for desktop

Pros:

  • Works with Mac & PC
  • Most people are familiar with it
  • Best built-in editor
  • Can track changes when sent to editors

Cons:

  • Hard to navigate chapters – one massive file or lots of little ones
  • No plotting options
  • No note-taking storage
  • Manuscript templates are lacking
  • Export options very limited

Scrivener screenshot

Scrivener – Scrivener is the go-to app for writers of all kinds, used every day by best-selling novelists, screenwriters, non-fiction writers, students, academics, lawyers, journalists, translators and more.

  • Structure writing by Chapters and Scenes
  • Create Notecards
  • Store project notes and images
  • Basic formatting tools for writing
  • Footnote support – Non-Fiction
  • Word count
  • Basic editor
  • Desktop and App versions
  • Templates
  • Set and Track Goals
  • Import from Word
  • Export to Word, PDF, Epub, Kindle, +more
  • Auto-save & Dropbox sync

Cost: 30 Day Free Trial – $49 one-time payment for desktop – $19.99 one-time payment for iOS Apps –  $80 one-time payment for bundle

Pros:

  • Works with Mac & PC
  • Dropbox cloud syncing prevents lost work or multiple versions
  • Customizable view
  • Stores entire project in one place
  • Export to Epub & Kindle
  • Lots of tutorial videos
  • Updates are free

Cons:

  • Very simple editing capabilities
  • Stiff learning curve
  • Not the most user-friendly interface

Wavemaker screenshot

Wavemaker – Easily structure your book into chapters, scenes, make notes and shuffle them around easily.

  • Structure writing by Chapters and Scenes
  • Create color-coded Notecards
  • Store project notes and images
  • Basic formatting tools for writing
  • Word count
  • Basic editor
  • Export to Word & PDF

Cost: Free

Pros:

  • FREE!
  • Makes navigating your manuscript much easier
  • Can connect to Google Drive
  • Good tutorial videos

Cons:

  • Only works in Chrome – can be used offline with extension download
  • Very simple editing capabilities
  • Still in growth phase so tech glitches happen
  • Must manually sync files with cloud storage – if you forget to sync and computer crashes… get the tissue box!
  • With multiple device access – you can accidently create multiple versions of the same file if you forget to sync
  • Not super intuitive software

SmartEdit Writer (was Atomic Scribbler)

SmartEdit Writer – (was Atomic Scribbler) free software to plan your novel, prepare and maintain research material, write your novel scene by scene and edit chapter by chapter in a modern Windows-ish application.

  • Structure writing by Chapters and Scenes
  • Store project notes in same file with images
  • Word-like formatting tools
  • Tracks daily word counts
  • Basic editor
  • Desktop program
  • Import/Export Word docs

Cost: Free

Pros:

  • FREE!
  • Makes navigating your manuscript much easier
  • Has a similar look and feel to Microsoft Word
  • Auto saves & backups

Cons:

  • PC only
  • Very simple editing capabilities
  • Window is visually cluttered
  • Save button hard to find
  • Opens a lot of extra windows to view notes and images
  • Not a lot of tutorial videos

Editing Software:

Author Note: None of these programs catch everything. For the best results, use several free versions and one paid option. Also, not all proposed edits are correct, so make sure to read all suggestions with your human brain before going click change crazy.


Hemingway App

Hemingway AppThe online version of Hemingway Editor is completely free. The creators have indicated they intend to keep it this way.

  • Critical grammar and spelling checks
  • Readability
  • Passive voice
  • Hard to read sentences
  • Word count

Cost: Free online – $19.99 one-time payment for desktop

Pros:

  • FREE!
  • Give Readability score
  • Highlights different issues by color code

Cons:

  • Very simple editing capabilities
  • Browser editing a little glitchy
  • Not the most user-friendly interface
  • Doesn’t catch everything

ProWritingAid

ProWritingAidProWritingAid is the only platform that offers world-class grammar and style checking combined with more in-depth reports to help you strengthen your writing.

Reports include:

  • Writing Style
  • Grammar
  • Overused Words
  • Clichés and Redundancies
  • Sticky Sentence
  • Readability
  • Repetitive Words/Phrases
  • Sentence Length
  • Pronoun Report
  • Transition Report
  • Pacing Check
  • Dialogue Tags Check
  • Plagiarism + more!

Cost: Free Trial – $20 Monthly – $79.00 Yearly  – $299 Lifetime

Pros:

  • Most in-depth analysis available
  • Lifetime membership with constant updates
  • Runs directly in Word and Scrivener

Cons:

  • Cost, but lifetime worth it for career writers
  • Can crash computer (I suggest scanning one chapter at a time to avoid this)
  • Doesn’t catch everything

Grammarly

Grammarly – Grammarly Premium goes beyond grammar to help you ensure that everything you write is clear, engaging, and professional.

  • Critical grammar and spelling checks
  • Conciseness
  • Readability
  • Vocabulary enhancement suggestions
  • Genre-specific writing style checks
  • Plagiarism detector

Cost:  Free version (base grammar and spelling only) – $29.95 Monthly –  $59.95 Quarterly –  $139.95 Yearly

Pros:

  • Browser extensions
  • Desktop and app options available
  • Stores all writing in backup cloud
  • Can adjust tone of voice to your writing style

Cons:

  • Only integrates with Word and only on Windows
  • Cost – not cheap long-term
  • Free version very limited
  • Doesn’t catch everything

Editors Note: Writing from the Peak will take a closer look at ProWritingAid and Grammarly next week. Check back then!


Jennifer Wilson

Jennifer Wilson is the #1 Amazon bestselling author of the young adult New World Series. The gripping trilogy spans RisingAshes, and Inferno. Jennifer is constantly on the move, always working on her next story line and drinking way too much coffee. When not writing, she is enjoying life in Colorado, rock climbing, camping, exploring new foods, playing with her golden retriever, Duke, and sharing life with her heroically supportive hubby. You can connect and nerd out with Jennifer on FacebookInstagramTwitter and on her website.