In the ever-evolving, sometimes baffling world of writing and publishing, we author types are always on the lookout for the best tools to enhance our craft and streamline our process.
2023 is no exception, my writerly chum!
There are a myriad of innovative software options available to help you achieve your goals, from creating an interesting story arc to polishing your manuscript to perfection. In this article, we’ll explore the top 5 author tools that are making waves in the writing community this year.
So, buckle up and get ready to transform your writing experience.
Here’s a list of the top-notch software we’ll be diving into:
- Fictionary: Best Overall Writing Tool
- ProWritingAid: Top Grammar and Style Checker
- Vellum: Premier Book Formatting Solution
- One Stop for Writers: The Ultimate Resource Library for Authors
- Scrivener: A Comprehensive Writing Studio
Each of these writing tools offers a unique set of features designed to address specific, difficult aspects of the writing process.
Whether you’re an experienced author with a lot of book notches under your belt, or an aspiring writer taking your first steps into the world of storytelling, these tools will undoubtedly help you elevate your work and bring your stories to life.
Stay tuned as we delve into the intricacies of these fantastic software solutions, exploring their key features, benefits, and how they can revolutionise your writing journey.
We’ll be discussing how Fictionary can assist you in crafting a compelling story arc, while ProWritingAid will help you refine your manuscript with its advanced grammar and style checking capabilities. Vellum will make formatting your books a breeze with its intuitive interface and customisation options, and One Stop for Writers will support you in plotting and outlining your stories with its extensive resource library, thesaurus database, and planning tools. Last but not least, Scrivener will offer you an all-in-one writing studio, complete with a virtual corkboard and character templates.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of the best writing tools 2023 has to offer and explore how these top 5 author tools can transform your writing process and help you craft captivating stories readers love.
Are you ready to elevate your writing game and unleash your creative potential?
Let’s get started!
5 Fantastic Tools for Writers
Below, we will look at five game-changing tools for writers so that you can make the best decision for the kind of writer you are.
Fictionary: Best Overall Writing Tool for Creative Writers
One of the biggest challenges you face is creating a compelling and well-structured story arc.
It’s not just about stringing together events… if only it were that easy! You must ensure your story flows naturally, has a clear beginning, middle, and end, and hits all the right emotional beats. This is where many writers stumble, because finding the perfect balance between pacing, character development, and plot can be a daunting task.
Fictionary’s Story Arc feature comes to the rescue by helping you visualise your story’s structure and ensuring it follows a cohesive and engaging pattern.
By analysing the most popular plot structures on the ever-loving planet and identifying the five key beats all these structures share, Fictionary enables you to create a story arc that will captivate your readers from start to finish.
What’s truly remarkable about this feature?
It goes beyond merely offering a generic template.
Instead, it provides you with invaluable insights into the intricacies of your own story, highlighting areas that may need improvement, and suggesting ways to enhance the overall narrative.
I know, I know.
By using Fictionary’s Story Arc feature, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of your story’s structure, and more importantly, you’ll be empowered to craft a tale that keeps your readers hooked until the very last page.
Developing a compelling character arc is an essential aspect of crafting a powerful story.
Writers often struggle with maintaining consistency in their protagonist’s external journey, ensuring that their actions and decisions align with their goals. This is particularly challenging because it requires a keen understanding of your characters’ motivations and making sure there’s a clear trajectory towards their ultimate objectives.
Fictionary’s Character Arc feature is designed to help you tackle this complex issue head-on.
By focusing on the protagonist’s external journey and goal, it tracks whether they’re moving closer to or further away from achieving their objectives. This intuitive tool enables you to assess the effectiveness of your character’s actions and decisions, ensuring that their progression feels natural and believable.
What sets Fictionary apart in this regard is its ability to provide you with a holistic view of your character’s journey, pinpointing areas that may need adjustment to create a more satisfying arc.
This not only ensures consistency but also enhances the emotional resonance of your story, as readers become invested in the protagonist’s quest for success.
By using Fictionary’s Character Arc feature, you’ll be able to craft a rich, dynamic narrative that keeps readers engaged and rooting for your characters every step of the way.
Entry and Exit Hooks
A critical aspect of creating a captivating narrative is writing powerful entry and exit hooks that pack a serious punch.
These elements are essential for maintaining reader engagement, as they set the tone for each scene and leave them eager for more and slavering over your pages with the worst case of Pavlov’s Dog Syndrome ever.
Writers often face the challenge of crafting attention grabbing hooks without making them contrived or forced. This is particularly difficult because it requires striking a delicate balance between surprise and intrigue while maintaining a sense of cohesion and narrative flow.
Fictionary’s Entry and Exit Hooks feature is a game-changer for helping you master this tricky aspect of storytelling.
It helps you identify the best ways to start and end your scenes, ensuring that your readers are hooked from the get-go and left longing for more at the conclusion of each scene. By providing clear guidance on how to create impactful hooks, Fictionary enables you to weave a sense of suspense and anticipation throughout your narrative, which is essential for keeping your readers fully invested in your story.
With Fictionary’s Entry and Exit Hooks, you’ll gain the confidence and skill to create captivating hooks that will have your readers eagerly turning the pages, engrossed in your story and the unfolding drama of your tale.
The Skeleton Blurb Feature
Crafting a concise yet compelling log line is a challenge that many writers face, particularly when it comes to condensing an entire story into a single sentence.
The Skeleton Blurb feature in Fictionary helps you tackle this issue by providing a clear log line structure, highlighting the most important elements of your story: the protagonist, their goal, and the stakes.
Let’s take a cheeky peek at the Skeleton Blurb structure:
- Protagonist: <protagonist’s name>
- Must: <complete their external goal>
- Otherwise: <Stakes if the protagonist fails to achieve their goal>
This structure allows you to create a focused and intriguing blurb that captures the essence of your story without giving too much away. By emphasising the protagonist’s struggle and the stakes involved, the Skeleton Blurb sparks curiosity in potential readers, encouraging them to crack open your book’s spine and sink into your story world.
Let’s apply the Fictionary Skeleton Blurb to a recent popular novel, The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides:
- Protagonist: Psychotherapist, Theo Faber
- Must: Uncover the truth behind his patient Alicia’s silence
- Otherwise: He’ll never solve the mystery of the murder she’s accused of, and his own obsessions may consume him
In this example, the Skeleton Blurb concisely summarises the main aspects of the story, making it clear what the protagonist’s goal is and what’s at stake if they fail.
This powerful tool in Fictionary enables you to create a captivating Skelton Blurb that will draw readers in and entice them to discover the full story, as well as keeping you focused on the story you’re trying to tell.
The Synopsis Feature
Another issue you might face is writing a well-structured synopsis, which is an essential task. Trust me when I tell you synopsis writing can be incredibly challenging.
Writers–like me–often struggle to summarise the key plot beats in a concise manner while still conveying the essence of their story. Fictionary’s Synopsis feature simplifies this process by providing a clear framework based on the Skeleton Blurb concept, applied to the key scenes in the story.
The Fictionary Synopsis Feature focuses on these pivotal plot beats:
- The Inciting Incident
- Plot Point 1
- The Middle Event
- Plot Point 2
- The Climax
Using the Skeleton Blurb as a guide, you can summarise each of these key scenes to form the foundation of their synopsis. This method not only ensures the synopsis remains focused on the most important aspects of the story, but also makes the writing process more manageable.
To create a truly compelling synopsis within Fictionary, you’ll need to expand on these summaries, adding necessary details and context to bring the story to life. By following Fictionary’s Synopsis Feature framework, you can craft a synopsis that captures the essence of your story.
This will help you keep agents, publishers, and readers engaged and eager to learn more.
Fictionary’s Synopsis Feature resolves the common issues you’ll face when crafting a synopsis by providing a clear, structured approach that emphasises your story’s key plot beats.
This invaluable tool helps you create a synopsis that showcases your story’s most engaging elements, ensuring your work stands out in the highly competitive world of publishing.
ProWritingAid is a powerful grammar and style checker that goes far… FAR beyond traditional spelling and punctuation checks, helping you hone your writing to perfection. It addresses a multitude of issues you could face when copy editing your manuscript, ensuring your prose is polished to a sparkling shine.
One common challenge writers face is the overuse of passive voice.
ProWritingAid detects instances of passive voice and suggests ways to rephrase sentences using active voice, resulting in a more engaging and dynamic narrative.
Another issue writers often encounter is the use of “glue words”—unnecessary words that weaken sentences and make them less concise.
ProWritingAid identifies these words and offers alternatives to improve the sentence structure and clarity.
Additionally, ProWritingAid features a plagiarism checker that is invaluable for ensuring you aren’t inadvertently infringing on another author’s precious copyright. This tool is particularly useful for writers who draw inspiration from various sources, as it helps them avoid any accidental instances of plagiarism.
In summary, ProWritingAid is an indispensable tool for you if you’re looking to refine your prose and elevate your writing quality. Its advanced grammar and style checking features tackle common issues, making it easier for you to produce polished and engaging content.
Vellum is a premier book formatting solution that simplifies the process of creating professional-looking ebooks and print books. This user-friendly software enables you to easily design and format your books, taking the stress out of preparing books for publication.
One issue writers face when formatting their books is the creation of a visually appealing layout that is consistent throughout the entire manuscript.
Vellum offers a wide range of customisable templates which cater to various genres, styles, and preferences. This feature allows you to create a cohesive design that not only looks professional, but also complements your story’s tone and atmosphere.
Another challenge you will often encounter is the formatting of front and back matter (groans!), such as the title page, copyright page, and acknowledgments.
Vellum’s automated front and back matter feature streamlines this process by providing pre-built templates that adhere to industry standards. These templates can be easily amended, saving you time and ensuring your books meet the expectations of readers and industry professionals alike.
Exporting your finished book can also be a task fraught with writerly angst, with various file formats required for different platforms.
Vellum’s multiple export options make this step hassle-free, allowing you to generate files suitable for popular platforms like Kindle, Apple Books, and Kobo with just a few clicks. Vellum addresses the challenges we often face when formatting our books, providing an easy to use solution that ensures our work looks professional.
Its malleable templates, automated front and back matter features, and multiple export options make Vellum an essential tool if you’re looking to simplify the formatting process and focus on what you do best—telling knockout stories!
One Stop for Writers
One Stop for Writers is a comprehensive online resource designed to help you elevate your storytelling skills. With a wide range of features and tools tailored to address common writing challenges, this platform is an invaluable asset if you want to improve your writing craft.
One significant issue you’ll face on the bumpy road of your author journey is the development of engaging and multidimensional characters.
One Stop for Writers offers extensive character-building tools, including character profile questionnaires, character arc templates, and character motivation databases. These resources help you delve deeper into your characters’ psyches, creating well-rounded and believable personalities readers can connect with.
Another challenge authors often grapple with is the creation of unique and immersive settings. One Stop for Writers’ setting thesaurus and world-building resources can assist you in crafting vivid and captivating settings, ensuring your stories come to life on the page.
Plotting and outlining can also be a nail-bitingly frustrating job, particularly if you struggle with organising your ideas and storylines. One Stop for Writers provides a range of outlining tools, such as story structure templates and scene maps, that help you plan and structure your narratives effectively.
And I wanted to mention the Thesaurus Database in general, because it blows my tiny writerly mind!
Whatever you need help with, there’s a thesaurus for it. Struggling with writing realistic emotions? Try The Emotion Thesaurus. Want to make sure your scenes are brimming with conflict? Awesome! The Conflict Thesaurus is for you. Or maybe you’re writing a story set in the middle of a city and you’re struggling to bring your protagonist’s surroundings to life. No problem! Virtually crack open The Urban Setting Thesaurus for help.
One Stop for Writers offers a comprehensive suite of tools and resources designed to address the most pressing challenges writers face. Its character-building, setting, and outlining features empower you to create engaging and well-crafted stories that resonate with readers.
Scrivener is a versatile writing studio that allows you to organise, draft, and revise your manuscript within a single, user-friendly platform. With its range of innovative features, Scrivener caters to the unique needs of writers and provides an all-in-one solution for managing complex writing projects.
One excruciatingly common issue writers face is keeping track of their ideas, research, and story elements.
How many times have you been armpit deep in the planning phase of your novel only to find yourself drawing in a quagmire of confusion and questioning your author life choices?
Moving swiftly on!
Scrivener’s virtual corkboard feature allows you to create and categorise digital index cards, enabling you to visualise and rearrange your story’s structure quickly and easily. This is the feature I use most because–visual learner that I am–it helps me marshal my thoughts on any big writing project.
Developing and maintaining consistent characters is another challenge writers often encounter.
Scrivener’s character sketch templates allow you to create detailed character profiles you can easily access and update throughout the writing process.
Want to know the best bit?
You can customise these templates anyway you want. So, if you’re the kind of wordsmith who gets their kicks by filling out epic fantasy length character questionnaires, you can go for your life. If you like to keep character creation to a minimum, you can do that too.
This handy little feature ensures characters remain consistent and true to their initial conception, resulting in a more cohesive and engaging narrative.
Additionally, if you’re working on long or complex manuscripts, you may struggle to navigate and manage your work efficiently. Scrivener’s powerful document management system allows you to divide your books into smaller, more manageable sections, making it easy to locate specific chapters, scenes, or passages.
This feature saves you time and helps you maintain focus on your writing.
Scrivener is a powerful piece of kit that provides a comprehensive writing solution and addresses the unique challenges we authors face.
Its virtual corkboard, character templates, and document management system streamline the writing process, allowing you to focus on storytelling and producing captivating, well-organised manuscripts.
Top Features to Look for in Writing Tools
The tool helps you with the Story Arc
A well-crafted story arc is essential for capturing and maintaining your readers’ attention.
A top writing tool should guide you in developing a compelling and cohesive story arc that keeps your audience engaged from beginning to end. Fictionary, for example, offers an intuitive story arc feature that helps you visualise your story’s structure, ensuring it follows a captivating, engaging, and time-tested pattern.
The tool helps you keep character goals consistent
Consistency in character goals is crucial for creating believable and relatable characters.
Look for a writing tool that assists you in tracking your characters’ goals and motivations throughout the story. Fictionary’s character arc feature, which focuses on the protagonist’s external journey and goal, is an excellent example of how a tool can help you ensure your main character’s objectives remain consistent and drive the story forward.
The tool helps you immerse readers in setting
To create a truly immersive reading experience, your writing tool should assist you in crafting vivid and captivating settings. The best writing tools will provide resources and guidance on building rich, atmospheric worlds that transport your readers into the story.
Fictionary, with its emphasis on incorporating the five senses, helps you create settings that are not only visually striking, but also engaging on multiple sensory levels.
Best Writing Tools FAQs
What Do Writers Use to Write?
You can use various tools to help you write, ranging from traditional pen and paper to digital software solutions.
Some popular writing tools include Fictionary, Scrivener, ProWritingAid, One Stop for Writers, and Vellum. Each tool offers unique features designed to address specific aspects of the writing process, allowing you to choose the tools that best suit your individual needs and preferences.
How Can Writing Tools for Authors Help?
Writing tools for authors provide support, guidance, and resources to help you enhance your storytelling skills and streamline your writing process.
These tools address common writing challenges, such as creating a cohesive story arc, developing consistent character goals, and crafting immersive settings. Fictionary, as the best overall writing tool, offers a comprehensive suite of features designed to help you improve their craft and produce captivating stories.
What is the Best Way to Use a Writing Tool?
The best way to use a writing tool is to incorporate it into your writing process in a way that complements and enhances your existing workflow. Start by identifying the areas of your writing that you feel need improvement, and choose a tool that addresses those specific challenges.
For example, Fictionary can help you refine your story arc, character development, and setting, ensuring your manuscript is engaging and well-crafted. By integrating a writing tool like Fictionary into your routine, you can elevate your storytelling skills and produce higher-quality work.
Conclusion: Best Writing Tools
The search for the perfect writing tool can be overwhelming, given the unending array of options available.
However, Fictionary stands out as the best overall writing tool for authors, providing comprehensive support on telling great stories. From developing a captivating story arc and maintaining consistent character goals to immersing readers in vivid settings, Fictionary offers a unique set of features that elevate your storytelling skills and streamline your writing experience.
While other tools, such as ProWritingAid, Vellum, One Stop for Writers, and Scrivener, each have their merits and address specific aspects of the writing process, Fictionary’s focus on storytelling makes it the top choice for authors looking to improve their writing craft.
By embracing Fictionary and integrating it into your writing routine, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle any storytelling challenge and create compelling, engaging narratives that resonate with your readers.
Give Fictionary a try and discover the transformative impact it can have on your writing journey.
Article Written by Shane Millar
Shane Millar is a Fictionary Certified Story Coach and the author of the Write Better Fiction craft guides. He is also the author of the Myth & Magic and Chosen Vampire urban fantasy thriller series.
Shane holds a BA in journalism and is a member of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). He lives in Buckinghamshire, England.
He has taken too many writing courses to count and enjoys reading as much as possible. Shane is obsessed with five things: the writing craft, mythology, personal development, food, and martial arts movies.
Want to hire Shane to edit your novel? Visit: https://swmillar.com/editing