Useful writing software and apps


There are probably very few writers who have not at least heard of Scrivener – and there’s a good reason for it. It really is that awesome. Whether you’re planning out a short story, stand-alone book or epic series, Scrivener is perfectly capable of handling it.

I very rarely write anything that is not work-related in Word anymore, preferring to use Scrivener as it keeps everything together in a way that makes sense to my brain. And because it can be personalised to almost the minutest detail, I find that it is perfect for writing longer works and academic essays. Man, I still wish I’d had it when writing my MA. It would have saved sooooooo much time…

Find Scrivener’s free trial (or buy it) over at Literature and Latte.


Scapple is basically an extension of Scrivener – at least for me. This mind mapping software fully integrates with Scrivener, but you can also use it as a stand-alone mind mapping software.

I find that it’s not only great for plotting out stories (or bits and pieces of stories), but also for making maps showing how the different characters interact with each other.

Find Scapple’s free trial (or buy it) over at Literature and Latte.

Aeon Timeline

Ok, honesty time. I tried making a timeline for The Ruon Chronicles in Scapple… not my best work. But then I found out about Aeon Timeline. Ok, look, if you don’t get it on a good deal, it is expensive, but if you’re working with Epic Fantasy Timelines And Stuff Like That, it’s definitely worth spending that money.

I’m still busy updating my personalised Ruon Chronicles timeline with all the worldbuilding information I have, but so far I am already thrilled with the outcome. Even if I only end up using it for Ruon Chronicles and Porselein I will think that it is worth every cent. Just be warned – for this one you’ll probably need to read the manual or watch some YouTube videos to really get started.

Check out Aeon Timeline over here.

App – Writer Plus

Writer Plus is the only writing app that I use – and then usually also only when I don’t have paper and pen handy for some reason. It has all the features I need (folders, files, formatting) without feeling clunky or being difficult to use.

I know a lot of people only use apps and software for their writing, but I still prefer using paper quite a lot, especially when it comes to notes and planning. Which brings me to…

Grabbing good ol’ pen and paper

Who doesn’t love the smell of paper and ink? I always (ok 99% of the time) carry a notebook or two and a few pens with me. That means that I can make notes wherever I am, work on actually writing the stories wherever I am or simply jot down details I’m afraid I may forget (and probably will forget if I don’t write them down).

Using pen and paper also means that you get away from a screen for a bit and also get unplugged from the internet…


By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.

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