I’ve been playing around with ywriter5, which is a type of word processing software designed specifically for people writing a novel. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but this version has a training guide with a sample that’s set up to help you figure out how everything works. In addition to the main screen where you type the story, there are places to put notes to yourself, character bios, scene descriptions, and much more. It keeps a list of the chapters, complete with their word count, a brief description of their content, and the characters involved. That makes it very easy to find what I need.
I didn’t use this program for my first draft because I was busy thinking about what to write and didn’t want to struggle with learning new technology at the same time. Since I’m revising my novel, I decided to put what I have into the ywriter5 program to help me get organized. It’s wonderful. I’m wishing I’d used it right from the beginning. I copy and paste my chapters into it, write a short summary of what each chapter is about, and the program keeps it in order. There are some features I haven’t mastered yet, but just the parts I’ve learned how to use are making a difference in my ability to find things and fix problems.
One of the reports it can generate gives a synopsis of the book, using a short summary that I wrote about each chapter. I printed it off, and the report lists the chapter, POV character, scene title and description. I’ll be able to use it almost verbatim for a complete synopsis to include in my submission package.
I still write most of my text in Word, but this is extremely helpful. It doesn’t write the plot or anything, but it sure does a lot of the work of getting a novel in shape to submit.
I highly recommend this program based on my experience with it so far.
Oh, almost forgot—one of the best things about this program is that it is completely free. The programmer who designed it, Simon Haynes, is an author himself, so he’s made this into a valuable resource for writers, with no ads or spyware in it.
Here’s the link so you can download this free software for yourself:
Have you tried any writing software besides a word processor like Word or WordPerfect? What do you think about the ones that do more than organizing your work, like generating plots, etc? How do you keep your writing organized so you can find what you’re looking for easier?