Thursday, April 24, 2008

yWriter

yWriter is quite possibly my current favorite piece of software.

Okay, before I discuss yWriter, let me explain what I hate about writing long novels in Word. It sucks. You've got all these pages and all these plot lines spread out all over the place. I'm a software developer (Director of IT, actually--which makes me even more anal :-P). I've dealt with large files and usually if it gets to big you move them into two smaller files. At first I was going to create a separate document for each which would make moving scenes and reordering a major under-taking.

yWriter allows you to divide your writing into chapters and scenes. That's why I love it. A scene is complete, succinct. You can write one and feel accomplished. You can easily drag scenes between chapters. You can even create empty scenes with just a description. That's how I'm doing my outlining. Each outline point gets it's own scene. If I need to expand it to multiple scenes, not a problem. Just add a new one. It also makes it much easier to jump around in the story without losing something. That outlined place holder is still there, waiting for you to be ready to add detail.

You can also rate your scenes based on various metric (tension, charictorization, etc). You can mark the viewpoint character, goal, conflict and outcome for each scene. I don't really use that part, but expect to use it more as my novel gets longer.

If you have already started your novel, no worries. There is an import tool that only requires a little formating to make sure your chapters and scenes get imported correctly.


I only have one complaint. There is no spelling checker/red line when I misspell a word. My spelling is atrocious, so not having this functionality is problematic.

Best part? It's free!

yWriter (http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter.html)
***Note: I had not been asked to review this and have no attachment to the developer. I just love this software and want to share the love :)

1 tidbits:

BookInTheOven said...

I was wrong, there is a spell checker! You have to go to tools and activate it. Doh!

So it *is* perfect! Wow! Everyone should get it :-P

Now I need to install it and go fix all my spell problems!

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