Storytelling Applications for Your Smartphone

Blurb for iPhone

Here’s a handy list of storytelling applications for iOS, Android and other mobile platforms.

Note-taking and writing apps were covered already, but storytelling is not only about creating stories, but also sharing them. What’s even more important, technology allows to tell stories instantly – you can think of them, create and share on one device and in one go.

The greatest thing about such instant stories is that they are catching the mood and emotions you would find extremely difficult to restore afterwards.

Every time you reach for your smartphone, think of it as a way to tell engaging stories and think of you as a storyteller. Here are a couple of applications with which you can reveal the creative part of you.

If you’re using a storytelling app not listed below, please share it in the comments.


Added on December 13th, 2011 | Applications: iPhone

Opuss hit the AppStore a couple of days ago and it’s definitely worth trying. The most proper description is the Instagram for words – and that’s why I love it so much. I’ve been sharing nanofiction on Twitter for years but Opuss is very likely to be my major landing place. It’s simply the cool and fun way to share stories!

Users can publish their texts in several categories – poem, quote, story, review among others. You can add a location, so that users can find stories told nearby. Sharing, following, likes – it’s all there. Plus your shared story links to a beautifully looking web page. What you wrote looks fantastic – so better write fantastic texts.

If any additional reference to Instagram could to be added, I’d add that Opuss is better designed than Instagram.


Applications: iPhone, Android

Broadcastr is a social media platform for location-based audio stories, created by Electric Literature. You can use an app on your iPhone or Android to record a story, add category, tags and finally pin it to a map. The story can be located anywhere in the world, not only at the place you record it. All you have to do is to drag the pin to a desired location.

Your stories can be afterwards accessed from mobile applications as well as from a webpage, where you can see a stunning visualization of all the stories recorded so far.

The most fantastic thing about matching stories with locations is that it’s places our most intense memories are associated with.


AudiobooApplications: iPhone, Android

Audioboo started in early 2009 and proved to be a great tool to deliver audio recordings, called “boos”. Many of the recorded ones are actually mini audio stories.

A free account allows to create boos up to 5 minutes long. You can also add photo and geolocation info.

Boos can be easily embedded in blogs, and it’s a very clever idea to support your writing. PJ Kaiser is sharing her #FridayFlash stories together with their Audioboo tracks. Check one of them, Coffee and Cotton Candy.

Blurb Mobile

Applications: iPhone (Android app in development)

This is undoubtedly the most powerful storytelling application available. Opposite to other applications, you can use video and audio and pictures in your stories! You can add pictures in bulk, crop, resize, and rotate them. There is a possibility to add a text caption under every image.

The application is very well designed and gives a lot of fun when creating a story. You can choose a theme for your story and attach a tag and location, among other features.

A free version allows to add up to 8 images and one 10 sec video clip per story. Check the comparison between a free and paid version ($1.99).

Blurb Mobile is the only multimedia storytelling tool for mobile phones. What makes it revolutionary is the ability to use different forms (image, audio, video) within one story sequence.

Users of mobile devices constantly improve with processing different media types. For me, a multimedia story is clearly the future of mobile storytelling.


Applications: iPhone

My favorite storytelling tool. I’m using it for one picture stories since the beginning of last year. The application is unbeatable when it comes to play with typography.

You can type words in a freestyle way. In fact it’s more like painting. You can zoom in to focus on details or zoom out when selecting a huge font size. There is a large selection of font types. You can pick up the color from a background picture and use transparency or shadow.

The application allows to save pdf or png file to iTunes. Paid version costs $1.99.


PictureShowApplications: iPhone

One of the most versatile photo applications for iOS, with lots of cool features to choose from, including preset filters, effects (scratches, light leaks, frames, HDR)) as well as color edit and crop/rotate tool.

What makes it useful for storytelling is an option to add text. There are 14 fonts types and many predefined colors to choose from.Thanks to that you can create a story from the moment of making a picture to the moment of sharing it to social networks – all in one application.

Both TypeDrawing and PictureShow with their possibility to add text can be an exciting way to bring new meaning and context to stories put together in Blurb Mobile.


HalftoneApplications: iPhone

This fun application will turn your photos in a piece of a cool, vintage comic. You can choose one of 9 predefined layouts (with or without caption and border). There are 21 paper styles, 21 stamps with customizable colors and 6 balloon types to choose from.

I’ve tested the app and the outcome is outstanding. All what you’ll have to focus is find and write a good story around a picture.


Wanderlust StoriesApplications: all system with a mobile browser – go to address

I love the idea of Wanderlust Stories. In order to read a story you have to check in via Foursquare to a right kind of place. So, if the story starts in a bar, you have to be in a bar to be able to read it.

Think of telling stories from a point of view of a guide, who takes readers to different places – literally. This opens a stack of new possibilities, as the reader can physically experience what you are writing about (a music in a restaurant, a dialog of the two women at the next table, etc.).

You can add images, audio and video to a story. If you want to start writing, send a tweet to @wanderlustapp.


TwitterApplications: your preferred Twitter application

Twitter? Yes, Twitter, the application you’re using on your smartphone a couple of times a day. Twitter with its 140 character limit appeared to be highly motivating for users to write stories.

There are lots of folks who create awesome Twitter stories. Top storytellers on Twitter are @arjunbasu and @VeryShortStory. Check also an anthology of Twitter fiction with over 150 stories from 37 authors.

Think of Twitter as a place where you’re already telling stories – about yourself. What you can do is to switch to a third person narration and add a tag to a tweet. The most popular one to spot stories on Twitter is #vss, what stands for very short story.

• • •

Obviously this list could be longer. A great selection of tools is available at the Langwitches Blog. It’s just a matter of your sensitivity and creativity which app you’ll pick up and how you want to use it. The more unexpected effect, the better.

One of the greatest miracles of internet and digital technologies is that they allow absolutely everyone to tell stories. All what you need is a will to do it and an app which will make it happen.

Why don’t you start now?

17 Replies to “Storytelling Applications for Your Smartphone”

  1. What a terrific list of resources, Piotr!  Bookmarked :-)  Thanks for mentioning my use of Audioboo!  If others want to share fiction using audioboo, you should join us for #spokensunday on Twitter.


  2. Speaking of Halftone, there is another app worth mentioning : Strip Design

    This app is just awesome if you want to make a comic book. It’s easy to use, powerful and universal (Strip Design on iPad is lovely). 

    In fact, we used it to create a fake ad (2 pages) in one of my e-books and it was pretty cool to create something worth-publishing in less than an hour :) 


  3. Thanks for list it is a shame there are not so many creative tools for android tablets. Come on developers more for android please.


  4. You can expect that. Developers turn to Android. The number of new apps and their updates for iPad/iPhone is not increasing that fast as a couple of months ago. Now people get excited with Android.


  5. Nice weblog here! Additionally your website loads up very fast! What host have been you the usage of Can I determine your associate hyperlink on your host I wish my site loaded up because rapidly because yours lol.


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