Review of Master Writer: Creative Writing Reference Suite
Staff Writer By: Michael Haase
Writing is a constant pursuit for finding the best way to express yourself. Typically, writers have a dictionary and thesaurus handy to help in the process of composition, but those books, as comprehensive as they are, fall short all too often. A perfect tool for writers would understand all of the tangents the mind runs away on, the narrowly-related words for description, the near-rhymes...all of the ways expression deviates from the cut-and-dry definitions and synonyms available in print. The closest I've ever come to having a tool like this is calling up a friend and picking their brain, which doesn't work so well at two in the morning. Master Writer is the closest thing to having a perfect writing buddy at your side, ready to help you whenever you need to ask, "What's a better way to say this?"
Master Writer is an online comprehensive writing tool that is like none other I have seen. It keeps all of your work reserved in its own database, and has accompanying tablet and phone apps, although this review is exclusively for the online app intended for a Mac or PC. The tool is intended to be used in tandem with the word processor of your choice. The app allows you to create a list of documents that you are working on, saving the text within the app if you wish, but it does not function as a standalone word processor. The text will remain in the list any time you sign in, which is useful, but the window for the app itself can condense to a size that works well on the same screen as your active document. If you choose to use the list to keep your work handy, then you can search specific words in your text in order to compose. This function is additional and useful, but it is fairly self-explanatory and not where the true power of the app lies. Therefore, I'm going to focus on the Dictionaries portion of the app.
"Dictionaries" is a surprisingly narrow word to use to describe the functions available. This is Master Writer's searchable function that provides the basic thesaurus and dictionary functions, but it is also capable of finding rhymes, phrases, word families, and alliterations for any word you enter, if these variations are available. The dictionary function is powered by American Heritage, and the thesaurus is comprehensive and powerful. All of these functions combined make Master Writer an amazing tool for any writer, be they a novelist, poet, journalist, or songwriter.
The moment I realized the app's potential was during my first word search. I searched for the word "great" in order to find a better word to use. Upon my initial search, I chose the correct usage from "excellent," "large," "outstanding/fabulous," and "remarkable." In this case, I was trying to describe something remarkable. I selected this, and immediately I was greeted with five pages of "primary synonyms," including comparative phrases, not just singular words. In this list of primary results, I was able to filter everything down to syllables, word usage, rhyme scheme, and so on, but I was also able to click on the ever-useful "extended" uses button, which opened up an entirely new list of related words that were perhaps not direct synonyms or exchanges. Within all of these filtered lists, the options were extensive and impressive.
The usefulness did not end there. As I pressed on through my composition, I kept finding good reason to check words against Master Writer, as the app would give me great alliterative options, intense descriptors, and even similes and metaphors that would be useful. Immediately, it was clear to me that I was using one of the most powerful references I had encountered to help with description, explanation, and even the cadence and music in my writing.
And this makes sense. With the options to list rhymes and break words down by syllables, Master Writer has incredible potential to aid songwriters and poets in their search for the best way to express themselves. The app is quite versatile and user friendly. And even if you can't decide on which of the offerings you should use amongst the extensive lists of alternatives available, just double-clicking on any of the results puts them into a convenient list to peruse after your search.
All in all, I couldn't find any great arguments against the app. I used it on a novel-length manuscript I'm working on, and every time I started writing, I found myself opening up the app without question. I highly recommend this app to any creative writer.
And if you are doubtful, the company offers a free trial, and they are extremely responsive to any questions or problems you encounter. After the free trial, the app is available as a $9.99 monthly subscription, or at lower rates with extended subscriptions. Master Writer is a great addition to any creative writer's arsenal of references, but don't let it replace your friends. It might even save your friendships, in fact, as you might no longer be calling them at two in the morning.