So it’s a tad ironic that when it comes to writing, I crave organisation. I hate having to have multiple Word files. I despise writing ahead because it means putting the scene in another Word file or constantly bumping it down while I write ahead of it. But what if I have multiple scenes that take place later in the book? Ugh.
Because of this, I never really planned out my books, I always wrote in a linear fashion and if I had a great idea for a scene, I would scribble on a piece of paper or just hope I remembered it when I got there.
Writing software has changed all that.
I started with yWriter5. There were two reasons.
- It was free.
- It was compatible with Windows.
I didn’t mind yWriter. Every chapter was its own file, so I could create a number of chapters and add data to them so I knew what I had planned for that chapter. If I had an idea for a scene in a chapter later than the one I was working on, I just hopped over to that chapter and added it.
There was a place for adding character information, scene information and so much more. And it had an export feature so I could fire it off to Word as a single compiled document when I was done.
The things I disliked about yWriter though were
- Pop-up windows for writing.
- The in-program spell check wasn’t user friendly
- It felt like I was jumping through numerous tabs to find things I wanted.
For me, yWriter wasn’t a perfect solution, but it was vastly superior to Word. yWriter allowed me to be a bit chaotic and free flowing in my writing, yet provided me with enough structure that I could still see where the myriad of pieces fit.
A few weeks back, I saw a tweet about a Windows version of Scrivener.
I’d been anxious to try Scrivener because I’d heard great things about it and some of my favourite authors were using it. So I went ahead and downloaded the free Beta version.
I’m in love 🙂
Scrivener does all the things yWriter does, only it doesn’t have any of the issues I had with yWriter. There’s no pop-ups, spelling is handled much like my WordPress blog and all my info is handy on the left-hand side of the screen. I also appreciate that Scrivener has some built-in templates for characters and locations. Overall, it’s clear why yWriter is free and Scrivener is a paid for product; Scrivener just has more polish. I find I don’t flip from one tab to another because I can lay out my screen with all the info I need.
About the only issue I have with Scrivener is that the Windows version doesn’t have the capabilities of the newest version of Scrivener for Mac (which includes compiling straight to eBook formats!).
Regardless of which you choose (or if you know of another similar product), writing software allows so much more freedom and organisation of materials. I noticed a marked increase in output when I switched. Do you think it could help you too?