Before I finished Bluewater Stalker, I bought an iPad of my own, as my use of my wife's iPad was beginning to interfere with her work. As I was thinking about the current Work In Progess, I began using three inexpensive iPad apps to capture my ideas. These were Drafts, a text editor; Phraseology, a companion app that provides some useful statistics and editing tools; and Terminology, a dictionary and thesaurus that integrates with the other two.
Drafts provides an uncluttered space for writing, with no distractions such as formatting and font choices. It also opens with blinding speed when you tap its icon, so it's immediately ready for your thoughts. Once you have some text that you want to polish, with a single touch you can send it to Phraseology.
Phraseology analyzes the text and provides several statistics as well as some handy editing tools. For example, Phraseology will categorize parts of speech with the frequency of use for each. I tend to overuse certain words, and this is a great way to catch myself. If you touch one of your overused words, you can see a listing of its occurrences in context. Touch an occurrence that you'd like to replace, and you can send it to the Terminology app, where you'll find a definition and a list of alternative words and phrases. Touch your choice, and it replaces the offending word in either Drafts or Phraseology. I also use this to make sure that I haven't overindulged my penchant for adverbs and adjectives.
Phraseology computes the three most common indexes of reading difficulty, which is a big help in cleaning up my work. To assist in that sort of polishing, it provides word count by sentence or paragraph, with the ability to reorder sentences and paragraphs by touching and dragging – no selecting required.
I've forgotten what I paid for this trio. They're sold individually by the same developer, and I think all three together cost less than $10.
As I progressed to actually writing this next book, I went searching for an iPad app that would sync with Scrivener, as I had become hooked on writing on the iPad. I discovered that Scrivener for iPad has long been promised, but after several years, there's no delivery date. However, I found an app called Storyist, which mimics those functions of Scrivener that I find most useful. For $9.99 I decided to try it.
I've written 30,000 words in two weeks using Storyist, and I don't miss Scrivener, nor do I miss working on the PC. The iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard is the ideal writing environment for me. Because it only has one application visible at a time, I don't get tempted to go check my book sales or my email when I hit a snag in my writing. My productivity, measured in words written per hour, has increased by about 30 percent, and though the screen is smaller than the one on my notebook PC, it's easier on my eyes because it's so crisp.
I still send my last few days' work to a PDF file every evening, but instead of just reading it and marking it up, I use another inexpensive iPad app called PDF Expert. This app offers text-to-speech conversion as well as supporting handwritten notes with a stylus. It's amazing how many more typos I catch when I hear the mistakes as well as seeing them. I'm eager to finish this book and get it in the hands of my editing team to see if it turns out to be a cleaner manuscript than my others.
Look for Love for Sail early this summer; Connie's not a patient woman.