Writing software anyone?

snipyWriter5I used to write in WordPerfect, but now I use Word. I have a folder for each project containing several files: one for each character study, one for details of each scene in the book, one for notes, one for bits that I cut, but might want to use later, etc. The problem with this method is that I often have several files open at once and have to click back and forth between them as I check my character facts or events timeline.

Twice, I’ve tried using writing software. I don’t remember the names, but they seemed needlessly complicated. The other day I downloaded another one … it was FREE. I can’t remember how I found out about yWriter … maybe I clicked a link on Twitter. But author K. M. Weiland likes using it so much she even made a how-to video. She says she still writes in Word, but uses yWriter to keep everything organized and to make it easier to avoid mistakes by being able to quickly check the notes for each scene and chapter. I think I will still write in Word, copy and paste the chapter contents into yWriter so I can make use of all the tasks the program can perform.

This program would have been helpful when I decided to go back and add a scene several chapters earlier from the one I was writing at the time. Twice I realized I had referred to something in the added scene that hadn’t happened yet in the chronology of the story. I could have easily checked that if I had filled out the scene description section in yWriter.

Anyway, I’ve just begun entering my character notes and scene descriptions for my current WIP, so I can’t give you my full opinion of the software. And I suppose it would be easier to directly enter the information for a book you’re just starting to write. The creator of this software says he uses it to organize his short stories, too.

Do any of you use yWriter or other writing software?

19 thoughts on “Writing software anyone?”

  1. I really think that having a program beyond just Pages or Word is an invaluable asset, and one that I have just discovered for myself!

    I use Scrivener, which is an excellent tool. It has greatly improved my organization, allowing me to import all my research files and such into the same project as my writing.

    In Scrivener, you create a project file, not just a single document of text. In addition to storing research, you can keep movies, photos, pdfs, and any number of files for your novel all inside the project so it’s easily on hand when you want. This also allows you to break up your writing into smaller, more easily managed chunks and access them all quickly.

    There are storyboard and outline options, and you have a great deal of customization. Two of my favorite features are that it will automatically compile the small chunks you have written into a single file for export, and format that file in whatever manner you specify (has the most common manuscript formats built in), and that you can go “Full Screen” with your writing, basically blacking out the entire screen except for your page so you can write distraction free.

    It is only available on Macs, but I highly recommend giving it a whirl. I have also heard good things about Storyist, but have not used it.



    1. Well, I don’t have a Mac, so I can’t try Scrivener, but all the tools and options you mentioned are in yWriter. I’m still trying to enter all my info to try everything out. This week has been soooo busy. I can’t even keep up with my own blog. 🙂


  2. Thanks for this info. I like the sound of FREE for the yWriter, but I am a Mac person, so I also like the idea of something specific to the Mac that presumably is designed to take full advantage of Mac’s features.


  3. As a short-hop writer the idea of this type of software is a step too far. I’d spend more time filling in the software than writing my pieces. But I can see that such stuff has distinct advantages over notebooks, index cards, paper charts and all those other things that are long-associated with writers. Especially for the writer-on-the-move who wants everything at his/her finger tips. So, for the sake of curiosity I’ll take a look at yWriter – thanks, Linda.


    1. When I looked at the other two programs, I had the same reaction … too much work. But this one seems more intuitive to me. Or maybe I’m just at a different place now.


  4. Holy Mother of Pearl! Did the subject of computers and programs come up? (Eyes glaze over.) I don’t even know what program I work in. My husband set me up and said write. So I write and that’s all I know. I feel so out of touch.


    1. Don’t worry yourself over it. I’m sure you had no trouble keeping your characters, events, and locations straight. I, on the other hand, kept accidently changing the names of Jalal’s brothers. Halfway through Farhad became Faraz!

      I think this program will make things easier when I start my next novel. Don’t have a clue what that will be about, but still…


  5. I like Liquid Story Binder XE and yWriter a great deal. yWriter gets the edge being free, and LSBXE is almost $50.

    I also use one called Page Four, which is pretty awesome. But mostly now, I just use good ol’ RoughDraft 3.0, or Word, and sometimes to be rebellious, WordPerfect.

    I’m coming to the conclusion, though, that these are simply organization and tracking tools, and there are a lot of them. Sometimes a nice full-screen text editor like Write Monkey, Dark Room, JDarkRoom or the like are the best solution because they stop other distractions.

    And then again, a pad and pen can be cool too.

    I guess I don’t have a favorite. Or I have a confused and large heart, and have many favorites.


    1. Thanks for adding your worthy two cents, DarcKnyt. I do believe I’ll keep writing in Word, then copy and paste the completed chapters into yWriter. But yes, I will use it mainly for organization. I’ve never even heard of a full-screen text editor, so I need to educate myself.


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