Showing posts with label 5 stars. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 5 stars. Show all posts

Saturday, May 25

A Must Have App For Writers: Index Card (5 out of 5 stars)

A Must Have App For Writers: Index Card (5 out of 5 stars) Writers, I've found the killer app for the iPad: Index Card.

Chuck Wendig recommended Index Card in a recent blog post, 25 Ways To Plot, Plan and Prep Your Story. Since I'd gotten a lot of use out of his last app recommendation (SimpleMind for iOS), I gave it a try.

I've used Index Card every day since I've bought it! I even wrote the first draft of my last story using the app.

(I guess after this glowing recommendation I should say I have no connection to the folks who made this app and I'm not an affiliate. I just like to pass along information that's helped me.)

Chuck Wendig also recommended a page called 10 Hints For Index Cards which gives great advice on what to include on a card. For instance:
  1. Keep it short. Maximum seven words per card.
  2. A card represents a story point, be it a scene or a sequence. You don’t need a card for every little thing.
  3. Keep cards general enough that they can be rearranged. (“Battle in swamp” rather than “Final showdown”)
I hear someone asking: What's so great about Index Card?

1. Index Card allows you to write as much per card as you want. 

This is a definite plus for me since I'm ALWAYS running out of room on physical index cards, but I don't want to buy huge cards because I want to be able to fit them all on my cork board. The app just shows the first couple of paragraphs of text in card view and allows you to title each card so you know what that scene/section/chapter is all about. Problem solved!

2. You can move the cards around

Yes, this is something we'd expect from a digital app, but it's a definite improvement over physically arranging bits of paper on a board made of cork.

3. You can change the color of the index cards

Again, this is a small thing, but it helps me keep track of cards that are just description (I use one card to describe each character). You can duplicate and rename the cards, or entire cork boards. 

4. You can create stacks of index cards

For instance, you could call one stack Act One, another stack Act Two, and so on.

5. If you don't like viewing the cards in rows there are other ways of viewing the cards.

You can view the cards in columns or as one long row.

6. You can diagram multiple stories at the same time. 

I like to work on three stories at the same time, but I don't have space to have three cork boards up on my walls. With the Index Card app, just start a new file. I can switch between projects with the tap of a finger.

7. You can quickly and easily export all your work to Dropbox, or email it to yourself, or export it to iTunes, or preview and print it. 

It can even make you coffee in the morning! Okay, maybe not, but I feel that it wants to.

Index Card is $4.99 but, for me, it was well worth it.

A couple of years ago Chuck Wendig wrote a post where he recommends a bunch of apps for the iPad, apps that help him as a writer; it's a great post, highly recommended (Chuck Wendig uses spicy language, so be warned): The iPad For Writers. His app recommendations are toward the end of the post.

What is your favorite writing app?

Photo credit: "form follows function" by Robert Couse-Baker under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Wednesday, August 24

Hootsuite for Twitter: 5 out of 5 stars

I'm stubborn, I like to do everything myself. So when I first heard about Hootsuite I thought, "Well, that's fine for some folks, but I don't need it."

Yea. Just like I didn't need a food processor. This is a true story. For years I put off getting a food processor because I didn't think I needed it. I mean, what does it do? It chops vegetables! I can do that. After I broke down and got one, I had no idea how I'd ever managed without it. It saved me a lot of time. Hootsuite is like that; for me, it is the food processor of the Twitter world.

Here's why:
1. Hootsuite shortens my links for me.
Before I used Hootsuite I would go to bitly or tinyURL to shorten my link and then copy and paste it in my tweet. When I started sending out more than a couple of tweets per day this process became tiresome. One of the features I love about Hootsuite is that it has a URL shortener built in. It works beautifully and I don't have to go anywhere else for what I need. For me, this is a big plus.

2. Hootsuite can schedule tweets.
When I decided that I wanted to tweet more than three times a day I started using Hootsuite's scheduler. Wow! Very nice. It doesn't work as well for tweets that are time sensitive -- breaking news, that sort of thing -- but for everything else it is a dream come true. Just cue up your tweets for the day -- or the week -- and you're done. Before there would be, say, three stories that I wanted to tweet about but I didn't want to do three tweets one right after the other. I would try to remember to do one every three hours or so, but I would usually forget. The scheduler is like my underpaid digital assistant who takes care of these things for me.

3. Hootsuite is Free!
There are a lot of other great things about Hootsuite, but one of the things I love about it is that it is free. Yes, there is a professional version which costs 5.99 a month but I have been using the free version and am very happy.

4. Hootsuite Hootlet
A couple of days ago I discovered a browser addon that will capture the title and url of a post and dislay it. Here's what the folks at Hootsuite have to say:

We call the Hootlet our secret weapon because it has the power to completely change how you use Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Want to share a link? Hit the Hootlet button, and automatically, the URL is shortened and text is grabbed from the site.

The Hootlet is truly great, I'm hoping they come out with something like it for Safari.

That's my review of Hootsuite. Other reviews I've looked at have given it four out of five stars and I'll admit that I only tried out two or three different programs before I settled on Hootsuite, but I am truly thrilled with the program and will probably at some point spring for the professional version.