Best Tools for Writing Fiction

Great modern additions to your creative writing toolkit

Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash

Being a writer means writing is my passion. And as a fiction writer, there’s nothing else I would rather be doing with my time than weaving together intricate plots in my mind, creating colourful settings and lively relatable characters, and then putting them to the page in an artistic collaboration of printed text. So naturally, I want to spend as much time as possible doing exactly that, and less time doing other things such as marketing, editing, proofreading, advertising, designing, and dealing with all the extra things in between. Given this, I am always on the lookout for any helpful new gadgets that could make my life — and the writing process — run smoother and, of course, provide me with more time to do that thing I love doing the most: Writing.

I’m starting a new series soon, and I want to be prepared for the amount of writing this will involve. And thus, I have spent the last month or so doing my research on the latest and greatest products that writers have built or coded for other fellow writers to help give them more time to hone their craft.

I will list my findings below.

Note: Before I list these helpful programs and bits of software and services of which I write so highly, note that this list is not exclusive, exhaustive, or solely limited to fiction writers. Even though I am approaching this from the standpoint of a fiction writer, some of these tools could be of great use for nonfiction writers and their works as well. So don’t rule them out entirely if you write nonfiction!

1. For consistent writing first thing in the morning — Daily Morning Pages

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

This first product is great for those who want to develop a Stephen King-style schedule. For those of you familiar with the way the author schedules his day, you know this would involve pushing out a daily word count first thing in the morning upon waking, with an optional cup of tea or coffee by your side. Daily Morning Pages was created with the idea that if you get the creative juices flowing from the moment you wake up, you will open your mind to a more productive writing day. Using motivating Nanowrimo-style achievements and badges as well as tracking your daily progress (in metrics such as word count, words per minute, and your monthly progress view) the software helps make writing a daily habit and your #1 priority.

Key features:

Provides an online space where you can perform daily morning writing sprints, earn achievements, and build daily writing habits, while also tracking your growth and writing speed. Designed to have you write dictated by your stream-of-consciousness.

Used for:

Stimulating creativity for any kind of creative writing

Type:

Online writing software

Offers:

  • $4.99 per month (the cost of a good cup of coffee)

2. For writing and organizing your work — Scrivener

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

If you’ve been a writer for a while, chances are you already have this piece of organizational writing software, or have at least heard its name mentioned. Scrivener has been around for some time now, and for good reason. Don’t let its 90s-style interface fool you. Inside the program is a powerful organizational tool that will help keep you on track as you plug away at your manuscript.

Key features:

Keep your writing organized and easily accessible to you as you write.

Type:

Organizational writing software

Used for:

Fiction/nonfiction

Offers:

  • 30 day free trial
  • One-time payment of $67 for full version

3. For story editing — Fictionary’s StoryTeller

Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

This next product is fairly new, but it’s a useful addition to the world of writing tools. If you are just starting out and cannot yet afford a human editor, or if you already have an editor and would like your story structure to be the best it could be before handing it over to them, Fictionary’s StoryTeller might be the product for you. The software helps you structure your plot, character, and setting elements and provides you with a complete visual of your story arc. And while doing all this, it also teaches you the key elements to good storytelling as you write or edit your novel.

Key features:

Breaks down your novel scene-by-scene and provides you with all the known story elements you need to create a complete structured story.

Used for:

Fiction

Type:

Story editing software

Offers:

  • 14 day free trial
  • $20/month or $200/year
  • Sometimes has discounts for ProWritingAid premium users

4. For copy editing and proofreading — ProWritingAid

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

You may know ProWritingAid as the less expensive and more comprehensive alternative to Grammarly, and that’s exactly what it is. Need I say more? ProWritingAid offers many different types of subscriptions, ranging from a free online editor to a lifetime subscription of the premium version. They offer further discounts if you’re a student, so be sure to look out for that if it applies to you.

Key features:

Online writing editor that cleans up any form of text by highlighting elements such as passive voice, vague wording, and over-complicated sentence structures; uses up to 20 writing reports to identify grammar and spelling mistakes and contextual errors.

Used for:

Fiction/nonfiction

Type:

Copy editing, proofreading software; grammar and style checker

Offers:

  • Basic web editor is free
  • $20/month or $79/year for premium subscription
  • One-time payment of $299 for lifetime subscription

5. For human editing — FirstEditing

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

If you are looking for a professional (human) editor to take a look at your finished manuscript before pushing it out to public eyes, look no further. FirstEditing is a professional editing service based in Orlando, Florida. The folks at FirstEditing offer a range of options for any kind of writing that needs some editing love, from first-time fiction authors’ manuscripts to peer-reviewed articles to be published in prestigious journals. You can send them a short 5,000 word sample of your work and they will assign one editor to you (based on what kind of writing sample you provide them) who will give you a free edit along with a quote for how much a full project with them would cost (depending on your word count and what type of editing your work would require). The editors charge a mere few cents per word, which is a pretty good deal if you are just starting out and are looking to put out the most polished version of your story you could possible publish.

Key features:

Professional editing service offering a range of editing options for your work.

Used for:

Fiction/nonfiction

Type:

Professional editing service

Offers:

Prices are based on word count (few cents per word) and type of writing (fiction/nonfiction), as well as your choice of editing package:

  • Basic copy editing
  • Standard line editing
  • Comprehensive content editing (recommended)
  • Executive content editing & editorial critique

Check out the video version of this post on my YouTube channel!

Note: I am not an affiliate for any of these products. They are just what I have found useful for myself as a writer.

And that’s it! Comment below if you have used any of these tools and services yourself, to help your own writing process. And feel free to list any great tools you think I might have missed. I’m sure there are many more writing aids out there, waiting to be discovered.

Little Red Bird, flitting around to deliver words to the page | Creative Thinker | Content Developer | Lifelong Learner

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