I 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?”
Thanks for the links, Linda. I downloaded yWriter after watching KMW’s video. I like it. It’s very easy to use but not perfect. KM doesn’t quite use it as intended, which is suggestive. She does her actual “writing” in Word. So she uses the writing panel for outlining and doesn’t use the outlining panel, if I remember correctly. I rarely print out my work so I find it slightly annoying that you can’t see a synopsis on the screen. You have to print it out. This means you still have to hold a lot of detail in your head and juggle the scenes around in your imagination while you are at the planning and plotting stage. A lot of the tools are really useful though, like the storyboard tool. I found a little bug. I reshuffled a few scenes and my scene list didn’t update properly. I had to shut down the project and re-open it. I also found it a bit irritating that you have to start a chapter, then add a scene. I’d like to be able to jot down some scenes then decide what chapters to put them in later. I managed to do this by having everything take place in Chapter 1 but it felt a bit odd.
It’s also odd that the complete list of scenes is only available from the Tools menu.
I have used two other novel writing tools. One was called New Novelist, which I used for a day or two. And another was called Novel Writer Professional, which I used for less than an hour before getting frustrated by the bugs in it. With both of them I was very worried about losing all my work and frustrated at not being able to scroll through it all in one file.
yWriter is far better than those two and I’m enjoying playing with it but really you can do everything you need to do in Word.
Word is really annoying me these days. Whenever I press the Page Up button my text becomes garbled. I have sometimes deleted stuff by accident because it looks like it isn’t there. So I’ve started using another word processor called Ability Write. It is fully compatible with Word and very cheap.
Joseph, you’ve apparently used yWriter more than I have already. Since I’m testing it by entering my already finished novel, I hadn’t thought about the unattached scene entry problem. Am I misunderstanding you about the synopsis function? When I chose that, it created an html file for viewing or printing.
I agree, because I’ve already done it, that you can use Word to create scenes lists, character studies, and of course to write your actual manuscript, but it’s just confusing to me to have ten Word documents open at once and switch back and forth between them.
I haven’t had the problem you describe with Word, but I do see the last line on one page appear to be duplicated as the top line of the next, occasionally.
Christian informed me that by turning off your orphan control, you won’t have your line duplicated on the next page.
Well, that’s fake duplication has only happened to me a few times and disappears as soon as I scroll up and down. But I’m never sure if we’re supposed to have that turned on or off in standard manuscript formatting.
Off. But for whatever reason it turns itself on again. My computer loves to default on all the unwanted features.
“Am I misunderstanding you about the synopsis function? When I chose that, it created an html file for viewing or printing.”
You are right. This works for me now. Maybe I was doing something wrong before.
I like the flexibility of this program actually.
Glad we got the synopsis option straighted out. I’m still entering my notes and all, but hope to play around with it soon. Let me know if you make any discoveries.
I have been using ywriter for a while now and I find it very useful for keeping track of my latest versions of each chapter and what I need to work on next. It’s also really good at keeping track of the overall word count, where you can cut things and where you may need to to add some detail. So, an excellent tool!
Nice to know, Joseph. I’m going to use it for my next book.