Writing Software

Hi everyone,

I have been deep in the editing process but I am also working on my next novel which is what has led me to this post.  I took a little time to explore some different writing software.  At present I start in longhand (using a nice fountain pen and lots of paper) but then I transfer to Word.  This kind of gives me a first edit as I transfer from one to the other.   I tend to have a lot of notes as well so I thought I’d look into other options.

An alternative to word is OpenOffice or LibreOffice both are excellent and I have used both in the past.

Then I found a few more specific writing packages which I thought I would try.

The first was Scrivener.  I downloaded the PC version which by all accounts isn’t quite as advanced as the Mac one but I wanted to give it a try.  The first thing that struck me was that there is a small learning curve.  It has some nice features for storing notes but in the end I found that I didn’t really get to grips with it within the trial period (which is very generous).  When the trial is over you can export your work or you can purchase it.  For the price $40 it does seem to offer some value but on first looks it didn’t feel like a good fit for me.

My second piece of software was yWriter.  It was very similar to Scrivener but slightly better on the PC.  This one is (at the time of writing) freeware so there was not time limitations.  For some reason I didn’t gel with it either.  They both offer a lot more features to writers, for helping them sort ideas, rearrange scenes and generally keep track of progress.  None of that seemed to help me.  I considered a third application: Storybrook.  That one has a free and a paid for version so I decided to skip testing it completely.

So there certainly are packages out there that can help organise your ideas but for me I find that I need nothing more than pen and paper (and of course a word processor of some sort or even a good old fashioned typewriter).  Perhaps because my methods are too old fashioned.  I like having notes on post its or scraps of paper, and the act of physically handling paper is somehow rewarding.  My most important notes I type into a word processor and simply flick between documents when I need them.  The ideas behind Scrivener and other software is certainly appealing and I appreciate the huge amount of effort the developers put into them but for now I will stick to the simplest methods of writing.  That’s the important bit – to actually keep writing no matter how you do it.

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