Novel Writing Software

by kalbzayn on May 6, 2009

I downloaded some new novel writing software to help with a kids chapter book that I started the other day. I decided that it could be helpful to use it to transition from plot idea, to outline and then to finished draft.

Good novel writing software lets you do neat things like track which characters, locations, important items are going to be in which scenes. That’s a huge perk for me. I have trouble keeping track of things like names for the minor characters and where I left those characters if they are left out of a couple chapters.

The software that I’m using (yWriter5) is lets you keep track of each scene in a chapter as it’s own entity. That’s a little overkill for me in this early chapter book because pretty much each chapter is just one scene but would be very helpful in a more complex plot.

The really cool part of using novel writing software is that it lets you keep track of all of your notes, easily bounce from scene to scene, keeps track of word counts of each scene and chapter but then when you are ready to mail it to people to read, you can easily export it to a format that Word can read so that you can email it to your proofreading buddies.

Something like this would be awesome for NaNoWriMo where you have to keep track of a lot of things on the fly as you rush through the first draft.

Have you tried using any novel writing software before? What did you like or not like about it?


Bonnie Staring May 17, 2009 at 9:55 pm

No writing software for me, as I freak out when new versions of Word come out. I’m not too good with the technical stuff, although I’m sure having a program to keep track of all the pesky details might be a good thing. Especially if I’ve left a character locked in a room for a month or two without realizing it.

As long as it helps you actually get to the writing, then enjoy it — just don’t get all caught up in the program features and stuff. ;)

kalbzayn May 18, 2009 at 8:19 am

The software will keep track of stuff like whether the scene is action or reaction and what items are in which scene.

I’m ignoring all of that for now. I figure I’ll start using those features when I’m trying to procrastinate the 2nd draft.

Jean June 15, 2009 at 6:45 pm

I used yWriter last NaNo and loved it. I’ve had a version of yWriter on the computer for years but didn’t really “get it” until last year’s NaNo. I credit taking Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways course with finally “getting” how to use the software.

On the MacMini, I use Scrivener which works very well, too. I’m looking forward to using it on a new project. So far, I’m using it on an imported project.

The PC version of software that’s supposed to be most like Scrivener (Mac only), is Liquid Story Binder. I’ve purchased this software but don’t like it as well as I thought I might. The graphics are fancier on Liquid Story Binder, but I really prefer the yWriter interface. And you’re right, the software will track a lot of things that may take you a while to figure out. Until you do, it’s still very functional.

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