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YRC 35: Top 10 — Writing Apps

It is the school holidays, and you are planning on how to spend your free time (next to finishing copious amounts of holiday homework). If you love to write, dedicating hours to writing might be on your holiday to-do list. So, we have scoured the Internet to find ten writing apps (whether they be from mobile, desktop or web platforms) that you can use for your writing endeavours, whether you want to write a novel or just a few drabbles. P.S. They are all free!

Platform: Mobile, Desktop and Web
The writer of this column uses Evernote to jot down story ideas, and store numerous audio recordings of interviews conducted for YRC — which is why she is putting this app on this Top 10. While Evernote is not exactly a writing app, it is good for storing notes and research for your next big story.
Basically, Evernote is like your virtual notebook, and lets you sync all the information you keep there on all your devices. It lets you create multiple notebooks (one for interviews, one for ideas, one for school notes, etc) so that you can keep your notes organized. You can even keep one notebook to write an entire story!
Not only does Evernote store notes, but it also stores images, web pages, audio, and even handwritten notes. The downside to this though, is you have to create an account (but that’s free!) and download the Evernote app on all your devices for the sync to work.
The developer of Evernote, the Evernote Corporation, has also developed productivity apps like Skitch, Penultimate (handy for handwritten notes), and Evernote Scannable. If you want to get this free virtual notebook on your computer (and on all your other devices), go to or your respective mobile app stores.

Platform: Desktop
Minimalistic in its design and interface, FocusWriter prides itself on reducing distraction for the aspiring writer. As said on’s ‘The Best Apps For Any Kind of Writing’ (, this app is ‘for distraction-free writing’.
Other than being a simple desktop-based word processor, the app has a ‘hide’ function that hides your surrounding toolbars. What you get is a full-screen façade with just you and your writing, so that you work undisrupted.
Also, it comes with a collection of calm-inducing customisable themes that serve as backgrounds to your document. Not only that, there are alarms, timers, goal-settings, and other productivity functions that help you get your writing done with as minimal mental clutter as possible.
You can check out FocusWriter at It works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can download it either for free or through a donation of your choosing (prices are in USD though).

Platform: Desktop
Developed by Mr Simon Haynes, yWriter5 is the latest edition in his yWriter app line. Mr Haynes himself has used his own yWriter app to write several sci-fi comedy novels for children.
As explained on its page at Mr Haynes’s website,, yWriter helps you mind the progress of your writing by ‘breaking it up into chapters and scenes’. This proves useful if you plan to write a novel, as you get to track chapters in your story without missing out anything important. Story-structuring problems solved!
You can get yWriter5 at While Mr Haynes’s page contains downloads solely for the Windows system, third-party websites such as the yWriter wiki at Google Sites have developed ways to download the app on Mac and Linux.

Platform: iOS (iPad and iPhone)
If you have either an iPad or iPhone (or both) and telling photo-stories is your thing, you may want to check out Storehouse. As stated on its page on iTunes, this app allows you to generate a page of photos from your camera album and arrange them in a storytelling order of your choice.
Not only can you layout your photos to your liking, you can add up to 50 photos or videos to one page for a big story. You can also keep your photo-stories either private or public; you can share them on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Not only that, you can add text to your photo-story to keep it flowing.
You can get Storehouse through iTunes or the Apple Store on your iOS:

Platform: Mobile (Android only)
Developed by Two App Studio, Jotterpad-Writer is another writing app with a simple interface and no room for distraction…so it says on its page at the Google Play store. Its clear-cut functions allow you to type away, count your words, and look up words using the built-in dictionary.
On the app’s page at Two App Studio’s website (, more functions are stated; these functions include storing and sharing online, ‘typewriter scrolling’ (which keeps your cursor in sight no matter where you scroll), and exporting to formats such as PDF, HTML, and DOCX.
So if you are a writer constantly on the go or on your phone, you can start storing your stories in this app. You can get Jotterpad – Writer at the Google Play store (; you can have it either on your smartphone or tablet, as long as it has the Android operating system.

Platform: Web
For those into blogging and wanting to make a social profit out of it, Atomic Writer analyses your writing and tells you how to make it more attractive to readers. It can be referred to as a social marketing app for writers.
According to its page at (, Atomic Writer shows you how to make your writing cater to your audience. Pop in your fiction or article, and you get feedback on whether your content is ready to be shared with cyberspace.
You can also get tips on how and when to get your audience hooked. Through Atomic Writer’s interface and functions, you can structure your writing to cater to different kinds of readers.
You can download Atomic Writer as a web plug-in for Google Chrome and WordPress at its page at You can also check out the Atomic Reach website for more content-marketability apps.

Platform: Web (free) and Desktop (Mac and PC; costs USD 9.99)
Hemingway is both a word processor and an editing tool, useful if you need instant feedback on your work. Brothers Adam and Ben Long created it. Named after the writer himself, famous for his succinct sentences, this app scans your writing and points out the bits that need editing.
Hemingway does not just pick out those bits, but it also uses colour codes to cue on improvements. For example, it can tell you how many adverbs you need or which sentences to shorten.
The online version of Hemingway, found at its website (, is free. For offline editing and easy import-export of text files, you can buy the desktop edition at USD 9.99. This purchase is inclusive of free upgrades.
P.S. The Hemingway app was used in editing this article.

Platform: Mobile (iOS — iPhone and iPad) and Desktop (Mac)
Developed by Ginger Labs, this note-taking app for the OS system is similar to Evernote; while it is not a writing app, it is still helpful for jotting down story research and ideas.
Its functions, as stated on its page at, let you take and store both typed and handwritten notes, make diagrams and mind-maps, draw pictures, and record audio.
This allows you to spice up your notes with your own handwriting and hand-drawn sketches. You can even back up your data with iCloud so that your notes stay safe.
You can get Notability on your iPad and iPhone through downloading it through iTunes or the Apple app store. You can also download the app on your Mac through the Mac App Store.

Platform: Mobile (iOS – iPhone and iPad)
This is another writing app developed solely for the iOS mobile system. If you are into typewriters, this app is just for you (especially if you own either an iPhone or iPad). That is because Hanx Writer, created by actor Tom Hanks and app developer Hitcents, emulates the look and feel of a typewriter.
In other words, you can now type away with the quaint lovability of the typewriter, the convenience of modern smartphone keyboards, and the thrill of online sharing.
As mentioned on its page on the iTunes website (and quoted by Mr. Hanks himself), you can hear the classic typewriting sounds of “SHOOK-SHOOK” or “FITT-FITT” as you work.
You can download Hanx Writer on your iOS mobile devices through iTunes or the Apple App Store. But not to worry if you are an Android user; there are apps in the Google Play store with similar interfaces. After all, who can resist the humble charm of the typewriter?

Platform: Web
We saved the best — and the cruellest — writing app for last. Meet The Most Dangerous Writing App, developed by Mr Manuel Ebert; that’s right, it is as dangerous as it sounds. Why?
What this web-based app does is DELETE your work if you stop writing for just five seconds. Yes, it deletes all of your progress and literally forces you to keep writing until your session is up.
Speaking of sessions, that is the nice thing about this app; it lets you set a session (ranging from five minutes to an hour). If you managed to finish your writing within that time you set for yourself, your words stay on screen.
While it may sound impossible to finish any writing with this app, it can be done. One reviewer at, Mr Peter Shankman, wrote his review of the app using the app itself:
So, if you are up to the challenge (and a literally mind-boggling way to beat writer’s block and distraction), check out

Wednesday,22 June 2016 by | Blog, Catherine Khoo, Top 10 |