Four Great Tools for Writers


Tab key on a standard Windows keyboard
Image via Wikipedia

Okay, so the list of things seem to be pretty popular, and I’ve mentioned most of the things you’ll see here before.  But today, I’m going to specifically assist my writer friends and show them some things which I believe will help them with their writing tasks.  I mean – who doesn’t need help with writing tasks, right?

Okay, so here we go.

RoughDraft 3.0

RoughDraft is a free (!) word processor built specifically for writers.  There are a lot of great writing applications out there, and some of them are far more feature-rich than RD, but they’re usually not free, and they’re usually loaded with stuff writers really don’t – or at least, shouldn’t – need.

RoughDraft has different writing modes, from normal to prose, with screenplay and stage/radio play between.  They impact how the enter and tab keys work; since I don’t write screenplays or stage/radio plays, I’ve not played much with them, but the software will automatically adjust where the cursor ends up when you hit the tab key in those settings, so you can cycle through them to get it were it should be.  Normal doesn’t do anything; the tab key will move the cursor a half inch per tab, and that’s all.  In prose mode, the enter key sets the cursor to an indented paragraph.  Pretty cool.  It has a spell checker, and can be integrated with WordWeb as its dictionary, which rocks.  It can run portably on a USB drive if you’re into that, but no promises on how often it writes back and forth – it might shorten the life of the thumb drive more than you think.  And it has a nifty little side-panel which includes a list of files like Windows Explorer; a “pad” for jotting notes about what you’re writing, which automatically opens when you launch the associated file; a list of words from a search; and an “Insert” feature which lets you add weird characters to the written portion.  Nice stuff.  Did I mention free?  And for those of you who are resource challenged in your computer, it’s light and fast.  Great program.  Really, I love it.  And when I need something quick, it’s the one I reach for first.  The major drawback to it is the text column in the editor window isn’t adjustable.  You can adjust the size of the entire program to a point, but you can’t set the text column to a specific width.

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2 thoughts on “Four Great Tools for Writers

  1. Thanks for mentioning AlphaInventions. Never heard of it before — I think it’s an intirguing concept. Interesting video there as well to provoke the mind.

    I didn’t see the video there, but I loved the idea of just randomly snatching and promoting a blog like that. It’s a nice thing to do for the blogging community. If you haven’t seen it already, check out Condron.us. A similar concept and a nifty tool as well.

    I can endorse Rough Draft, which I’ve been using off-and-on for 2 years. Did a review with screenshoots on my blog months ago.

    RoughDraft rocks, and it’s free. So does yWriter, also free, if you’ve never seen it. You can check it out here; it’s awesome. I also like Page Four, and Liquid Story Binder XE, which aren’t free but ARE fantastic. 🙂

    Thanks for coming by, Tom, and letting me know you did. I’m always happy to have new visitors. Please feel free to stop by any time.

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