Word Count Meters and Tight Writing Resources

2014-10-19_22-42-59A few people have been asking me where I source my pretty word count meter from. They are available in multiple colours and come from this blog: http://svenjaliv.com/resources/wordmeter/ Svenja also has themed, word count spreadsheets you can download. She’s a talented lady! Each year, she updates her spreadsheets, so her site is always bookmarked.

Over the years I have worked as a freelance feature writer, course writer and editor. It was drummed into me with each one: write tight. Do not waffle, remove absolutely every extraneous word or sentence and cut everything back to the bone; to the marrow if you can. I can cut and slash pieces written, to get them down to a word limit with cold, hard malice. (Resources on how to do that are below.) The ebooks which I currently sell are very brief. They get straight to the point, because that is how I have been told to write. My blog posts come in under the recommended work limit. Essentially, I have boxed myself in out of habit and I am now learning to be free.

2014-06-03_10-33-42I have been reading Victoria Grefer’s book, Writing for You. I have followed Victoria’s blog for a long time and have been enjoying the relaxed, conversational style of her book. It is nothing like mine. All my writing ebooks are quick-read, start from any chapter, writer’s companions. Standing next to other books in their category, they may look anorexic, but they are designed to save the reader time. You can put your finger on the topic: task accomplished! That is beneficial for some, but it is not the best way to write a novel. While we need to write with excellence, dot point detail novels are not good reads.

There is definitely a place for writing tight, by this I mean corset strength tight, not just writing well. To be able to edit your work down to the wire and say what needs saying in a succinct, precise form is a valuable skill, however, don’t let it limit you as I did. I love Kristen Lamb’s Warrior Writers blog posts, they break every blog rule on length, but I don’t care how long they are. They make me feel good and strengthen my craft. If something is worth reading, regardless of how long or short it is, it will be read and appreciated.

This has been a great lesson in breaking free of my self-imposed boxes. I didn’t even know I was in them. I’m enthusiastic about seeing what old habits I can break out of next.

3hi91daojioResources on how to write tight and cut out word, or phrase, redundancies:

Quick-read, writer’s companions.

These ebooks are available at the lowest prices I was able to set. You can purchase them through my web site as a .pdf or through Amazon Kindle. Please click on the cover for contents and ordering information.

conflict_in_fiction.html    Building Emotionally Realistic Characters Cover    conquering_writing_stress.html        

You don’t have to own a Kindle device to enjoy Amazon’s Kindle e-books. Here are the Support and Download links for the free Kindle Readers for a range of devices: Windows PCs, Windows Phone, Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Andoid Tablet, Android Phone, and Blackberry.


This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. 

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

App Heaven for Writers Part 2: Writer’s Block Smashers!

This is the promised part two, featuring idea generating apps, writer’s block smashers and writing prompts. All these apps are for iPhone, but many can be bought for iPad and Android. As apps are added to the iTunes store all the time, you may like to do a search to see what’s new. Nothing here is over $10AU.

R.I.P. Steve. We will miss you for a very long time.

I have not tried most of these apps, so it’s buyer beware and I am not responsible for the quality of your experience, or any problems you may have with your devices after installation and use; no I am not getting paid to promote any of these and I don’t expect to etc. If the software vendor, Apple or Android are not kind, then I am very sorry, but I am unable to help you and I am not liable. I hate having to say all that!

If you search in the iTunes store, you will also find that you can get “Writing Magazine” and “Writer’s Forum Magazine.” I like Writing Magazine, I save $8.00AU per copy and have the option to only download editions I want. Plus, I love reading in bed on the iPad. (Not to mention the space saving benefits…) These magazines not only keep me in the industry loop, reading other writer’s stories give me inspiration and ideas. Have a look and enjoy!

Part one, featuring organising, tracking, editing, research and writing apps can be found here: http://wp.me/p1H1Zj-sA

Prompts, Idea Generators and Block Attackers

Writing Prompts By 21×20 Media, Inc.

This app comes from the highly competent people at Writing.com, thus it has four star reviews. I discovered it in researching this post, and I’ll be buying it! It is also available for Android. “Our writing prompt generators use current events, scene elements, words, sketches, colors, genres and writing types, unleashing endless random bits of fantasy to fuel your muse. Plus, we’ve included our database of 600 creative writing prompts so you’ve got them right at your finger tips, online or off!” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/writing-prompts/id417683378?mt=8&ls=1

Character Prompts by 21×20 Media, Inc.

Another writing.com app. “Character Prompts gives you 19 different profile characteristics filled with randomly generated information. We take the process of character development to the next level by adding thousands of character twists and 150 thought provoking questions for your character.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/character-prompts/id493346374?mt=8

WriMuse By Rasmus Rasmussen

“WriMuse generates creative writing prompts at the push of a button. With 4 different modes, it can give you a few keywords to get you started, or a full prompt, a visual prompt and even an essay prompt.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/wrimuse/id416219275?mt=8&ls=1


If you are a fantasy writer, Rasmus Rasmussen has though of you too. “FantasyMuse generates content for fantasy writers, gamers and game masters with the tap of a button. Millions of possible …
+ Character outlines, for quick NPCs or side characters.
+ Factions, groups and organizations of good and evil.
+ Quest seeds, to put your heroes to work!” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/fantasymuse/id457403478?mt=8&ls=1

Writer’s Muse By 2009 Positive Alliance, LLC

“Having a bit of trouble coming up with a great idea for your next novel? Stuck on how to get your characters to meet? This handy app will help you pick characters, scenarios, outcomes, any item or detail you need to inspire your writing. Use the predesigned Character, Plot and Resolution details already in place and SPIN! If you have some ideas and need to create your own choices, you can do that! The pickers are designed to edit and personalize for your creative needs.
Still stuck? The Muse has some great tips, cures and strategies to help you get past any block.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/writers-muse/id405049708?mt=8&ls=1

Writer’s Block Buster By Socially Conscious Software LLC

This app has low ratings, but you never know, it may have features that suit you. “Writer’s “Block Buster is everything you need to free yourself from the pains of a bad case of writer’s block. Writer’s Block Buster gives you the ability to search through its large database of questions and explanations for different things that may be causing or lead to a cure to your writer’s block.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/writers-block-buster/id329389227?mt=8&ls=1

StoryForm By Pig-n-Chicken Software

If you can get past the romanticized description, it looks good. “StoryForm is designed to be the ultimate brainstorming app for writers, filmmakers, teachers, and anyone else who can use an endless supply of fresh ideas. StoryForm does the brainstorming for you by thinking up the building blocks of a story, like character personality, profession, and a location. StoryForm will even give you a possible theme and an item that might be important to your story.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/storyform/id394760445?mt=8&ls=1

Just a reminder: I have not tried most of these apps, so it’s buyer beware and I am not responsible for the quality of your experience, or any problems you may have with your devices after installation and use; no I am not getting paid to promote any of these and I don’t expect to etc. If the software vendor, Apple or Android are not kind, then I am very sorry, but I am unable to help you and I am not liable.

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.


App Heaven for Writers: iPhone, iPad and Android

All these apps are for iPhone, but many can be bought for iPad and Android. As apps are added to the iTunes store all the time, you may like to do a search to see what’s new. Nothing here is over $10AU.

Click on the image to visit the Android Community Web Site. This is where this little cutie came from.

I have not tried most of these apps, so it’s buyer beware and I am not responsible for the quality of your experience, or any problems you may have with your devices after installation and use; no I am not getting paid to promote any of these and I don’t expect to etc. If the software vendor, Apple or Android are not kind, then I am very sorry, but I am unable to help you and I am not liable. I hate having to say all that! Any apps that looked totally awful haven’t been listed.

P.S. Part two, which will be idea generating apps, writer’s block smashers and writing prompts will be coming out at the end of this week. There are too many apps to list in one post and by no means, have I found them all! Have fun!


Getting Organised and Equipped to Write

Aspire Goals

“Aspire Goals is more than just a goal setting application. It has been said that the process of achieving your goals is 80% mental and only 20% activity. Yet most of the apps relating to goal setting focus on the 20% and ignore the most important component – the mental side of things. Aspire Goals focuses on the 80%. It looks not only at what your goals are, but also the reasons why you want to achieve them. Then it takes the next step and looks at what can be done mentally to increase your chances of achieving your goals. And one of those things is visualization.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/aspire-goals/id488685303?mt=8&ls=1

The Author Organizer

* track details about each book you are writing
* track details about each chapter you are writing
* records all dates on your iPhone calendar
* email notes for each chapter” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-author-organizer/id422375467?mt=8&ls=1

If you want an personal or writing organizer, do a search for that word under “lifestyle” or “business.” There are hundreds of time management and sticky notes apps. Some are great, some are basic. Try the free versions, if they have one, to see what suits you best. One app I do like for pulling together odd bits of information, e.g. ideas for stories or blog posts, is Idea Store by Spore Tools Ltd. http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/idea-store/id436275897?mt=8&ls=1

Bento by FileMaker, Inc

This is the database I use on my Mac and my iPad. You can also get an iPhone version. It syncs easily between my Mac and iPad by Wifi. It is so easy to use. You don’t need to understand anything technical about databases to use it. I use it to track my articles and blog entries and where they’ve been used. It also comes with great templates to get your started. http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/bento/id314638461?mt=8

How to Write a Winning Business Plan

Your writing is a business and if you are selling books or articles in any form, you need a business plan. “This guide will help you prepare a realistic plan that will document your vision, goals and strategy. No business should be started or maintained without a plan.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/how-to-write-winning-business/id328153943?mt=8&ls=1

Proofreader by Operandi Limited

“ProofReader is the on-going project to create a visual guide to markup and copy correction marks.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/proofreader/id343815121?mt=8&ls=1

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

This is an essential tool. Available for iPhone, iPad, Android and in free or premium editions, which aren’t expensive. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/merriam-webster-dictionary/id478126577?mt=8

Roget’s II The New Thesaurus, Third Edition by Enfour Inc.

“Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus combines the most useful features of a thesaurus and a dictionary; each entry contains a short definition as well as a comprehensive list of synonyms for the headword. This up-to-date database also features extensive, and useful, cross-references.” http://itunes.apple.com/app/rogets-ii-new-thesaurus/id286861782?mt=8

Word Study & English Grammar By blufish LLC

Word Study & English Grammar includes:
-Importance of the Subject
– Nouns, Adjectives, Articles, Verbs, Pronouns, Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions, Interjections
-The Sentence and The Paragraph
-Common Errors and Rules
-English Grammar


Word Count Log By Tony Jansen

“Word Count Log is a simple productivity tool for writers. It is essentially a logbook for recording the word count on your writing projects.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/word-count-log/id400855560?mt=8&ls=1

NaNo Saga

If you participate in NaNoWriMo (November) “NaNo Saga is the fastest, most convenient way to compare your progress with your buddies’ during NaNoWriMo – the National Novel Writing Month.” This one is free. http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/nano-saga/id399211362?mt=8&ls=1

My Writing By 21×20 Media, Inc.

This app comes from Writing.com. “With some many venues online for writers, it’s hard to keep track of where your works are showcased. Our “My Writing” app solves the problem by giving you a simple place to store the title and URL of your writings, giving you one tap access to each.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/my-writing/id418380810?mt=8&ls=1

Writing Tips By Rich Lowenberg

“Writing Tips is a fantastic resource for both budding and seasoned writers. Written by bestselling author Alice Kuipers, the application provides inspiration, tips, and more than three hundred exercises to suit any available time frame. Regular use of this app will improve the quality and confidence of your writing, and help you have more fun in the process.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/writing-tips/id387625993?mt=8&ls=1


The number of times I have seen bad formatting or spelling errors in an app description worries me. I know the developers are not necessarily the writers, but don’t they proofread? I haven’t tried this app, I don’t know how good it is. There is a free version so you can see if it suits you. This blurb appears exactly as it is on site. I emailed them about their editing and the owner is contacting the developer to fix the problems! “BookMidwife app is for people who are sure they are ready to start their planning. In an easy and accessible format, authors can capture all the important information about their Plan, Notes and Progress. You will get a list of the KEY THINGS TO CONSIDER in your BOOK PLANNING. You will get help making a PROJECT TIMELINE with all of the KEY MILESTONES so you do everything in the right order and don’t forget anyting important.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/bookmidwife/id474408137?mt=8&ls=1

Word Processors and Book Writing Apps

Image from Scrivener Site

There is a rumour that Scrivener is coming out as an App and will sync with your PC or Mac. Please let that be so. Keep checking! http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php


This is the only iPad/iPhone app that doesn’t leave me screaming with frustration. You can move the cursor within words to make changes as it has more keys than the other keyboards. It is designed to be uncluttered so all you focus on is your writing, then you just email the document through to yourself. Plus on the iPad it’s big and thus, less frustrating. Cheap, simple has excellent ratings. http://www.iawriter.com/

Quickoffice® Pro

If you use Microsoft Word files, this is the app I use. There are probably many others out there. Available for Android, iPad, iPhone & Symbian “Create, Edit, Access & Share Microsoft® Office files with the most connected office suite for on iPhone & iPod Touch. Includes fixes for iOS 5. NEW – PPT® Editor, Huddle & SugarSync access.” http://itunes.apple.com/app/quickoffice-pro/id310723177?mt=8&quantity=1

Pages by Apple

If you are a Mac addict and use Apple’s Pages, this very cheap but adequate version is essential. “Pages is the most beautiful word processor you’ve ever seen on a mobile device. This powerful app has been exclusively designed for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Create, edit, and view documents wherever you are. Pages works with iCloud, so your documents stay up to date on all your iOS devices — automatically” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/pages/id361309726?mt=8&ls=1&v0=www-naus-ipad-appstore-apple-pages

WriteRoom By Hog Bay Software

This is more distraction free software, but doesn’t seem to have the keyboard flexibility of iAWriter. But it does have: “Word Count, Extended Keyboard Row, Search for Files, Custom Line Height, Screen Brightness, TextExpander Support, Automatic & Manual Sync, iTunes Document Sharing, Clean Fullscreen Mode, Print & Email, Startup Passcode, Link Detection, Draggable Scroller, Autocorrect On/Off, Document & Folder Sorting.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/writeroom/id288751446?mt=8&ls=1

I Write A Book By DraganCats

The reason I’ve included this is, I haven’t seen many apps where you can have multiple books being written at once. Many apps are one book only. Other than that, it’s basic and distraction free. http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/i-write-a-book/id391119044?mt=8&ls=1

Manuscript By Black Mana Studios

Being a Scrivener user, I like having index cards where you can store the odd ideas and facts you need to put somewhere easy to get to. This gives you index cards. “Manuscript is a writing application that lets you outline, research, edit and export anywhere between a short story and an entire book – right on your iPhone! Manuscript is not limited to writing stories – you can use it for note-taking, project management, storyboard and much more.
• Create a manuscript from scratch or import from Dropbox.
• Outline your manuscript using multiple levels: Pitch – One sentence tagline.
Synopsis – A more elaborate description of the plot or article, covering major developments. Index cards – Serves as a repository for ideas, character development, reminders and more.
• On top of Pitch and Synopsis, each chapter can be outlined individually. You can create empty chapters, outline them, and then pour content into them in any order you like.
• Use Wikipedia, dictionary and thesaurus from within the app.
• Backup your work-in-progress or export your finished manuscript to Dropbox as an RTF, TXT or HTML file that can be read by both Mac and PC.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/manuscript/id339910826?mt=8&ls=1

My Writing Spot By PT Software Solutions

Another writing app with decent features. “My Writing Spot is also handy for keeping track of To-Do lists and notes. Struck with an idea while you’re away from your computer? Capture it in My Writing Spot! Since you can have as many documents as you’d like, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/my-writing-spot/id332503036?mt=8&ls=1

Writers App By Thomas Sillmann

I like the use of predefined attributes. This could be handy for getting ideas together and getting details straight! Again though, their description editing is poor, but it’s how you use the app that matters. “You’re writing a new novel? You want to capture your ideas and thoughts organized, and from any location at any time? You want a comprehensive sticky note that provides templates by which you can define specific characteristics and attributes of the characters and places? That’s exactly what the Writers App was developed for. It’s no app for writing a novel, but to hold your ideas and thoughts and to structure your story.

The Writers App allows you to:
– Create and organize stories
– Write a synopsis, premise, plot and notes for your story
– Create chapters, characters and places
– Edit the predefined attributes such as age, personality and occupation of the character or appearance and environment of places.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/writers-app/id423122863?mt=8&ls=1

For Scriptwriters, but Useful Across Genres

Writer Aid By Redwind Software

“Writer Aid” is a first of a kind iPhone app developed to aid scriptwriters overcome the difficulties associated with crafting new and original material in an increasingly competitive market. Great descriptions can punch your story, article, or script off the page. This library of characters, Script Tips and Comment section enables writers to make notes, develop characters and co-write on the iPhone, iPad or iPod. The database works by categorizing the information according to gender, age, genre and variety. Alternatively just browse the descriptions that come Recommended from Hollywoods established writers. “Writer Aid” will help you craft new and inventive characters using the past as an index.” http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/writer-aid/id345881105?mt=8&ls=1

ScriptWrite By Filter Apps, LLC

“Write an entire screenplay or a quick scene on the go, all with one easy interface. The ScriptWrite Toolbar gives you everything you need, right where you need it, without cluttering your creative space. It’s perfect for seasoned screenwriters, or those new to the craft!

ScriptWrite Features:
– Universal for both iPhone and iPad (also iPod touch)
– Change the name of and duplicate your scripts
– Write Mode and Read Mode in portrait or landscape
– ScriptWrite Toolbar for easy, simple access to script elements
– Ability to change elements after they have been written
– Scene database that provides ‘go-to’ and ‘rearranging’ of scenes
– Character database that provides auto-fill upon import as well as add/delete character names for each script
– Character name auto-suggest
– Smart auto-advancement from element to element as you write
– Smart scrolling so that large scripts do not hang up the app as you are writing/reading
– Settings page that will auto-fill your Title Page
– Quick Start menu provides icon descriptions
– Links to our video tutorials and homepage
– Import and Export files for Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 (.txt), Final Draft 8 (.fdx), and Celtx (.txt) [Not all features of Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 and Final Draft 8 are supported]
– Import and Export via Email, iTunes and Dropbox
– Export scripts in .pdf format (Includes Title Page)
– Print scripts using AirPrint
– Works with External Keyboard on iPad, including Tab Key support for element advancement.
– Superior Customer Service”


Just a reminder: I have not tried most of these apps, so it’s buyer beware and I am not responsible for the quality of your experience, or any problems you may have with your devices after installation and use; no I am not getting paid to promote any of these and I don’t expect to etc. If the software vendor, Apple or Android are not kind, then I am very sorry, but I am unable to help you and I am not liable.

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.