Just a little heads up! I have no affiliation with ApolloPad: I found this web app a couple of months ago and I’ve come to love it, so I wanted to write a little bit about my experience with it and maybe help out any writers who are still experimenting with finding their perfect writing tools. I hope this post is helpful for those of you who are!
What is ApolloPad?
ApolloPad is an online application you can use to write, save and organise your novel. It’s currently in its beta testing phase, so signing up is currently free.
I started using it at the end of May, and before that I had a list of scenes just lumped into one big and confusing text document that was steadily growing. The more I wrote, the more frustratingly crowded my word document got! Navigating through what I’d written just to change small details was also starting to get quite time-consuming.
How has it helped me?
I’d used a similar app called yWriter before but I couldn’t get a version of it working on my Mac without it crashing (it’s only really available as a desktop application on Windows!), so I tried searching for an online (or at least Mac-friendly) equivalent. That’s when I came across ApolloPad. It seemed to tick all the same boxes as yWriter so I signed up, tried it out and decided to use it full-time for my current project.
Since migrating my current project over to ApolloPad, I’ve found it so much easier keeping on top of what I’ve already written, and subsequently the scene planning and editing has been made far easier too.
As it’s an online application, all you need to do to access your work is find a computer, log in and it’s all there! You also have the option of saving backups at any point, so there’s no worry of suddenly losing it all.
What can it do?
With ApolloPad, you’re able to:
- Separate your project into chapters and scenes within chapter
- Add detailed descriptions of your characters, locations and important objects
- Start and maintain multiple writing projects
- Add a timeline so you can order your chapters
- Have an ‘project outline’ board, where you can view your chapters as a whole (they get added as post-its on a corkboard, which is a cute little touch!)
- Track your daily and monthly word count for each project, and view a pie chart of your most productive days
- Save backups of your project at any point in a variety of different file types
How easy is it to use?
It’s visually quite simple and is therefore intuitive to use.
When you first join it sets you up with a ‘First project’ that you can play around with before you start your own, so you can really get a feel for the app.
I’ve included a few screenshots, so you can see the general layout and anything I might not have mentioned already.
Are there any negatives to ApolloPad?
I can only think of three things that need a little work, but bear in mind it’s still in its beta phase so these are likely to have been smoothed out by the time they release it
One thing is that the word stats are sometimes a little off: for the daily word count total, they only add up the words you’ve written but don’t take into account the words you’ve deleted. I might write 300 words in a chapter then decide to cut and paste them into another chapter instead, yet ApolloPad will show the daily total to be 600 rather than 300. But this is just the daily writing count – other than that it adds up the total word count perfectly.
The second thing would be the saving being quite subtle. Normally you might see a message pop up saying ‘save successful’ but ApolloPad is much more subtle than that. If you take a look at the bottom left of the chapter you’re writing you are shown whether the connection is good or not (which is very useful!). If it’s green it’s fine, if it’s amber or red then it’s not. And if it’s a green tick, it means you’ve successfully saved your work!
The last thing is in the Project Timeline section. Currently when you add a timeline event, you’re not able to click on it to edit it but this is easily fixed when you refresh the page!
All in all, these are incredibly minor things, and as I’ve said before ApolloPad is still in its beta phase of production so these are likely to be fixed: in fact, it may be something I will email them about to let them know (if they don’t know already).
Would I recommend ApolloPad?
Absolutely yes! It’s been a crucial tool in my writing during these past couple of months: since switching to using ApolloPad I’ve regained my motivation to keep writing as everything feels a lot more structured.
Most importantly, it’s been useful in helping me organise and separate my work, and when it comes out of its beta phase I’ll happily pay for a monthly subscription to continue using it in future.
If this sounds like an app that would help you too, check out the website at apollopad.com and have a play with it yourself! It’s free to sign up.
If you’re already using ApolloPad, what are your thoughts? What apps do you use to help you write?