Tag Archives: creative writing

How to Write Your Novel on Your iPad

Fiction Frenzy

Sooner or later, you’ll get an iPad. I bought my first iPad a couple of years ago as a reading device, and so I could write when I was out of the office. My iPad fits into my bag easily; I’m never without it.

Oddly enough, I’ve found that I use my iPad to write IN my office. I always have the outline of my current novel Work in Progress (WIP) on the iPad screen. It’s propped next to my oversized monitor. When I get an idea, or a bit of dialogue pops into my mind, I tap it into Drafts, then carry on with whatever I was doing.

So in honor of NaNoWriMo, which starts tomorrow, here are the apps I use to write novels on the iPad.


Open, type, and send. Jotting quick notes couldn’t be easier. You can capture a thought or idea in an instant, or you can write longer pieces. It’s a very comfortable, easy writing environment.


I use OmniOutliner on my Mac, so using it on the iPad is a no-brainer. I’ve always got it open on my desk. It’s another comfortable app; completely transparent in use. You can even add attachments.


You can use Evernote on your computer, and on many devices. On my iPad, I use it to check research notes. I also send snippets from Drafts to Evernote, so that I can add them to my novel’s Scrivener file.

Index Card

I keep backstory, character arcs, and setting details in Index Card.


iThoughtsHD is a clever mind mapping app which will import mind maps from many popular applications. I use it to noodle through plot details, and “what ifs”.

I also use it to run through scenes before I write them. I see a movie of the scene playing out in my imagination, then I mind map the scene. Using mind maps for this makes “seeing” the scene easier, probably because your right brain is visual, rather than logical.

So, there you have it. If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, check out the above apps — and good luck throughout November. Happy writing. 🙂

Get Started On Your Novel (More Ideas)

Get Ideas

If you want to write a novel, and aren’t sure how to get started, I gave you some ideas in this blog post,
How to Write A Book When You’re Not Sure What You Want to Write | Write a Book: Just Write A Book Blog:

Use the News for Inspiration

Years ago, when I subscribed to a couple of daily papers, I’d clip anything which gave me an idea for an article, an essay, or a book. I had a filing cabinet crammed with clippings.

These days, I still clip, and still get inspired, but I use EagleFiler. (If you use Windows, OneNote is useful.)

You can use news stories to provide inspiration for many books.”

I’ve been coaching writers on finding ideas for their books; I’ll share what’s worked for them.

1. (Fiction) Get inspiration from character traits

Think about someone you know well. What’s their primary character trait? Maybe you know someone who’s a worrier (the sky is falling), or a girly girl (saving for a boob job), or a daredevil (base jumper).

Create a character with that primary trait. Let’s say the girly girl. What would be the worst job in the world for her? Let’s say that for whatever reasons, she needs to go into the army, or become a nun…

You could build an entire plot from that.

2. (Fiction) Get inspiration from history

You need to enjoy history for this one, but you don’t need to be a huge history buff.

Think of an historical character. Let’s say: Captain Cook (a hero of mine), or Cleopatra, or Anne Boleyn.

Look them up on Wikipedia.

How would you describe Cleopatra? Write a short description.

Now transplant Cleo to our current era — or to any other era. She’s a clever, strong woman, with a rich inheritance. Who are her enemies? Who would try to use her? What goals would she have?

3. (Fiction) Get inspiration from a book

Consider Scarlett from Gone With the Wind, or Sherlock Holmes. Countless femme fatales and detectives have been modeled on those two characters.

Writing Platform

“Fan fiction” has a dubious reputation, but it worked for EL James and her Fifty Shades trilogy, which was modeled on the Twilight books.

Take a character you love from a book, and do your own interpretation of the character. I wouldn’t write fan fiction; you can, if you wish. Don’t copy, of course. Take whatever appeals to you most from a character, and create your own character.


4. Get inspiration from the news

What’s in the news? 

I just checked our local news, and several stories would work as novel starters.  (One story was  about a young girl who’d been missing for three days, and was found hundreds of miles away, another was a story about a shark attack.)

You’ll find hundreds of news stories which can inspire a novel. Forget the details of the story, ask yourself why you find it interesting. What emotions does it arose in you? How could you use those emotions in a novel?

Write five first lines for each story, then choose one, and write six paragraphs. You may well be inspired to continue… s 

The above three methods are fun. Use them, and become inspired to write your own novel.