If there's anything that I love writing about, it's writing apps. I'm constantly looking for new and useful apps that will let me write on any device at any time, and keep all of the devices nicely in sync. For that reason, when I heard about My Writing Nook for iPad (US$4.99) and the iPhone / iPod touch version called simply My Writing Nook ($2.99), I immediately contacted developer PT Software Solutions to give it a try. What I found is an uncomplicated app that is perfect for writing manuscripts from any device.
Like many of the apps that I wrote about last year in preparation for NaNoWriMo, My Writing Nook is best for producing large quantities of text without worrying about formatting. The interface is spare, and for situations where you're just concerned about committing as many words as possible to virtual paper, that's what many writers want.
In the standard writing mode, you are typing onto a blank sheet of cream-colored paper. There's also a "dark and stormy night" mode which presents you with white letters on a black background. The settings also provide nine different fonts in a variety of sizes. Auto-correct and spell checking are turned on by default, and a real-time word count can be enabled with a single finger swipe. If you'd like the kids to stay out of your Great American Novel, you can password-protect your work.
To share your work, My Writing Nook provides an email button that inserts your work into the text of an email, or you can download the work from the web app. What web app? There's one at http://www.mywritingnook.com that syncs with My Writing Nook on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. That means that the document you're working on is automatically saved on the My Writing Nook website, although you'll want to make additional backups to be safe.
If you need a thesaurus or dictionary, a tap on a single button makes either one available to you. Note that these both take advantage of online counterparts, so they're not going to work when you're offline.
I like the way that you can easily break a book into chapters that reside in the My Documents "folder" in My Writing Nook. Want to denote different sections of a book somehow? The dot next to the name of a chapter can be given a color code. It's simple, yet effective.
Personally, the only change I'd like to see with My Writing Nook is built-in support for Dropbox. That would provide a useful alternative to the My Writing Nook web app ... not that there's anything wrong with it. I just have all of the rest of my documents sitting out in Dropbox and would love to be able to include stories being written in My Writing Nook in the same place.
Many of the similar applications I was using last year were written for Mac OS X; Scrivener, Storyist, and WriteRoom are examples of the writing tools genre. As Mac applications, they tend to be more expensive than iOS apps. WriteRoom is $24.99, Storyist (which has many more tools built-in) costs $59, and Scrivener (also more powerful) is $39.95. My Writing Nook is considerably less expensive and perfect for chugging out lots of text, so I am honestly thinking of using the app with my iPad and an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard for NaNoWriMo 2010.
In typical TUAW tradition, we have 4 app promo codes for My Writing Nook for iPad to give away. All you need to do to enter is to give us the title (real or fictional) of the novel you're either writing or would like to write. We'll randomly pick 4 winners, and you'll get a chance to try out My Writing Nook for iPad yourself. Here are the rules:
- Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia.
- To enter leave a comment on this post with the title of your next big novel
- The comment must be left before Friday, July 16, 2010, 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
- You may enter only once.
- Four winners will be selected in a random drawing.
- Prize: One (1) promo code for My Writing Nook for iPad per winner. Retail value $4.99.
- Click here for complete official rules.