The 9 Best Apps to Improve Your Writing

When it comes to writing, William Faulkner said it best: “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.”

With that in mind, whether you’re tackling a school assignment or attempting the next Great American Novel, there are some apps that can help you (or your kids) with the creative process.

1. Pages

What it does: A word processor that allows you to quickly write reports, resumes, and documents. Choose from over 60 Apple-designed templates or create your own. Sync with the cloud and share with others.

Why it’s cool: Advanced writing tools include change tracking, comments, highlights, footnotes, interactive charts, and of course, spellcheck. Makes your writing look good.

Details: Available for iOS 7.0 or later.

Cost: $9.99

2. Advanced English Dictionary and Thesaurus

What it does: Database of English with up to 140,000 entries and more than 1.4 million words developed by the Cognitive Science Laboratory at Princeton University.

Why it’s cool: AppCrawlr calls this app lightning fast with an intuitive user-interface. Fuzzy search technology lets you look for words when you’re not sure of the spelling. High-quality audio pronunciation will help you avoid embarrassing mistakes.

Details: Available for Android, Windows phone, and iOS 4.3 or later.

Cost: $2.99

3. The Right Word

What it does: If you often use the wrong words (for example: “you’re” instead of “your”), this app will help you learn how and when to use them properly.

Why it’s cool: The app uses four games to teach proper diction (Picker, Definer, Spotter, and Slider) with two game modes: WordFlow and Mad Dash. It’s a fun way to practice correct English usage in a game setting.

Details: Available for iOS 7.0 or later.

Cost: $1.99

4. Lists for Writers

What it does: Provides lists of prompts and ideas to get you started on your writing assignments or even a novel.

Why it’s cool: The lists range the gamut and prompts include clothing, occupations, obsessions, conflicts, and even rhyming words. A notepad feature means you can save interesting lists, edit them, and email or print out your notes.

Details: Available for Android, Windows phone, and iOS 4.3 or later.

Cost: $1.99

5. Essay Czar

What it does: An ebook app that explains over 40 types of essays (including book report, business cover letter, college admission) in detail.

Why it’s cool: The instructions look clear and easy to follow, with step-by-step writing instructions for each example.

Details: Available for Android, Windows phone, iOS 3.1.3 or later.

Cost: $18.99

6. Phraseology – Text Editor with Writing Tools

What it does: A writing app with tools to help you improve.

Why it’s cool: The app’s simple writing environment will enable you to focus. It will identify problematic areas in your text, and even point out overused words.

Details: Available for Android, Windows phone, and iOS 7.0 or later.

Cost: $2.99

7. Write About This

What it does: A database of writing prompts for elementary age students with 125 categorized images and 375 text and voice prompts.

Why it’s cool: One review says the pictures are engaging and show diversity. Another says this app works for a wide range of ages and abilities. There’s easy digital publishing and sharing, and your own photos and ideas can be used to create custom prompts.

Details: Available for iOS 6.0 or later.

Cost: $3.99

8. SentenceBuilder

What it does: Helps elementary-aged children learn how to build grammatically correct sentences with a focus on connector words.

Why it’s cool: It uses interactive features such as three levels of play, encouragement animations and audio clips, and statistics to track progress. There’s even two “teenager modules” available.

Details: Available for iOS 5.1 or later.

Cost: $5.99

9. StoryBuilder

What it does: Helps children create narratives. They’ll work on improving paragraphs and integrating ideas.

Why it’s cool: A record feature allows students to record narratives in their own voices. These recorded stories can then be emailed. Could benefit adults too.

Details: Available for iOS 4.1 or later.

Cost: $5.99