iPhone and iPad

4 iPhone/iPad Apps For Brainstorming Writing Ideas, Plots, & Characters

Bakari Chavanu 15-10-2012

iphone writing appsMost writers would agree that pre-writing—e.g., brainstorming ideas, plots, characters, situations, scenes–is the best way to get the writing juices flowing, and actually get stories and novels to completed. Sometimes without a roadmap for where the stories might wound up, they may never get finished.


Of course, pre-writing can be done with simple pen and paper, but four iOS apps—Writers App, Werdsmith, Name Dice, and Writer Lists—may be useful tools for discovering plots, character names and traits, and keeping track of notes.

 Writers App

Writers App ($0.99) is pretty much a fully featured pre-writing app for keeping track of the ingredients that make up a story–a title, synopsis, premise, plot, character traits, settings, and general notes.

iphone writing apps

You organize and manage your individual stories like projects–each with its own list of story ingredients. All story projects are listed on the home page, and inside each project are individual spaces for notes.

iphone writing applications


You can change the font style and size, but the only exporting option is email; there’s no automatic backup to the iCloud.

iphone writing applications

For the most part, Writers App as an iPhone app may be very useful for brainstorming ideas while you’re on your on a train or bus commute, or when ideas come to you while lying in bed.


Werdsmith is a free app for the both the iPad and iPhone, but if you want space for more than 7 ideas and projects, you must purchase the pro version costs $2.99. Werdsmith is basically a two-part notes app.


iphone writing applications

One part is for developing writing projects, and the other part is for keeping notes. You can also establish word counts goals for yourself, and the app will display your progress in terms of percentages. In addition, you can set up a writing ritual—an alarm for what time of each day you should devote to writing.

iphone writing app free

Werdsmith also includes iCloud backup and the ability to export projects and notes via email. You can also archive your completed projects in the Portfolio.


Lists for Writers

Lists for Writers ($1.99), for both the iPhone and iPad, is sort of a toolbox of lists related to various elements of a story or novel–e.g., character names, settings, types of plots, types of clothing, parts of speech, and lots more.

iphone writing app free

Of course, lists in and of themselves don’t create stories, but they may be useful for brainstorming ideas or getting some inspiration.

iphone writing app free
As you browse lists, you can tap on a name, plot idea, or character description, and select to add it to your Note’s page. This way, you’re not copying and pasting while you are browsing for ideas. Your notes can be printed from the device and emailed.


Writers lists 4

Name Dice

If you’ve ever been stuck for character names, a little app called Name Dice is a one-trick point that delivers a random set of names. Just tap the screen or shake your iPhone or iPad, and Name Dice will roll out a new set of first and last names.

iphone writing apps

Granted, this iPhone writing app could use a few more features, such as the ability to select the gender of the name you’re looking for, or it could include perhaps another pair of nice—one set for male names and the other set for female names. But hey, it’s a free app and it could be useful for sparking name ideas.

While none of these apps can write stories for you, they may be interesting enough to brainstorm ideas using your handy iOS device.

Let us know what you think of these pre-writing apps, and if you have suggestions for similar apps, please share them.  And for other writing app ideas, check out these articles:

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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  1. Bakari Chavanu
    October 17, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Thanks Ann, for letting us know this.

  2. salim benhouhou
    October 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    i wonder if i could find apps like these on android

    • Anonymous
      October 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      May be that is why IOS is still better than android.

      • Bakari Chavanu
        October 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm

        Harshit, let's not go there. :) Like I told Drew, above, perhaps there a few apps like these for Android, or they may be in the works. Salim, thanks for your feedback.

    • Jon Adair
      November 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm

      Our Thinkamingo apps (Story Dice and Lists for Writers) are available on Android - in Google Play, the Amazon Appstore for Android, and the NOOK market. Lists for Writers is even available on Windows Phone.

      • Bakari Chavanu
        November 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm

        Hey, Jon, thanks for letting us know.

  3. Drew Butler
    October 16, 2012 at 12:48 am

    Interested to see similar apps on android.. Guess now I have something to do while watching "The hunger games" with the wife lol. as always nice article guys :)

    • Bakari Chavanu
      October 16, 2012 at 12:55 am

      Thanks for the feedback, Drew. Maybe one of our Android using authors will write about similar apps for that platform. As for watching Hunger Games, you're better than I. I always find some excuse not to watch movies like that with or without her. Just don't have the patience.