Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 12, 2010

Writing Software

A couple of days ago I blogged about Nicola Morgan and her tips for planning your story.  While surfing her blog, I noticed she mentioned she tried Writer’s Cafe, a writing software.  I guess this got me thinking about what is available for writers and whether they bring any value to the table.  Right now I don’t have the answer to the value question, so I was hoping one of you may  have tried one or may even be using one now and couldn’t share your thoughts with us. 

In the meantime, I did some searching and this is what I found.  You can click on the pictures and be taken to their site.  Many offer free trials or free demos.  Most cost between $40 and $70, some are free.  I list one that is only for Mac’s – looks really good, but I don’t have a mac, so I could download that demo or trial.  Here’s what I found:

Plus, I found iWrite Assistant, a website that will let you track what you send out.  It keeps track of your contacts, what you send, when you sent it and it will even keep track of the money you received, if you are successful – and it is FREE.  It only takes a minute to sign up for a free account.  I’m for trying anything that makes life easier and is free.  I look forward to using it.  Here’s the link http://www.iwriteassistant.co.uk

I love tech stuff, but sometimes life gets too busy to try and learn something new, even if it is cool and could help with the process.  If any of you do a trial, I’d love to know what you thought about the software and the learning curve.

Kathy


Responses

  1. Thanks so much for this list, Kathy. It’s great to know the options that are out there. Another new one that was released in December is the “Snowflake Method” by Randy Ingermansson. You can access it through his website, http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com. I’ve used the Snowflake to write two novels, although the first one wasn’t using the software. So far I’ve found the software to be easy to use and a great planning tool. It doesn’t have some of the other features like places for research or notes, but for actually planning and writing the novel, I love it.

    Like

    • Karen,

      Thanks for sharing the “Snowflake Method” with us. I did take a quick look, but really want to go back to read more. I signed up for two trials, so when they are over, I will check this one out. I have a young adult novel that I have thorn apart and even though I had a chapter by chapter outline, it is like starting over, since I have moved chapters and characters around. I bet the software would have helped me with that process. It can be confusing trying to remember where certain scenes are now.

      Kathy

      Like

  2. I love this stuff too, Kathy, but I’ve yet to try any. It’s been quite a while since I’d read opinions on a few of these (though you listed quite a few I’d never heard of), and can’t remember the positive/negative feedback on them.

    If they offer free trials, that would be a big help in figuring out what actually works for a writer, as an individual. I know I’ve developed different techniques for trying to flesh out my novels, each time coming up with a method that works better than the one before. Tools are GREAT! Thanks!
    :Donna

    Like

    • Donna,

      I signed up for free trials for two of them, but who knows whether I will get the time to really try them. Last week, I wanted to find some time to get back to finishing my middle grade novel and the best I could do was write one paragraph or one sentence a day. It’s hard to get into the story when that is all the time you have. But I did get my girls out of the classroom and into the cafeteria annd set up for their big fight, which is more than I had the week before. Will this week be any different, maybe, but probably not. Maybe the fight will be over by next week. I can dream.

      Kathy

      Like

  3. Kathy,
    Good questions. A while back, I go yWriter 5 by Spacejock Software (free). I also got Snowflake Pro 1.0.3. I think I paid $30 for it.

    Never used either. The time it took me to try and learn its twists and turns didn’t seems worth it. Although, when I look at what you came up with, Page Four seems simple enough to use.

    Would be interesting to see what you come up with, or what the others say.

    Like

    • I plan to check this stuff out, sounds really interesting.
      Chris B.

      Like

      • Chris,

        I signed up for a couple, but haven’t had a minute to try either of them out. Let me know what you think, if you find time.

        Kathy

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    • Henya,

      That’s the trouble we are all so busy that we put off trying to do new things, since we are out of our comfort zone and it would take us long to do a new way. I have run into this over and over again. Most of the time, though after I do take the time, I kick myself for not trying it sooner. I guess that’s life, at least my life.

      Kathy

      Like

  4. Another great Mac app is Storymill (http://www.marinersoftware.com/sitepage.php?page=127). You can get it as part of a bundle at the same price here: http://www.themacsale.com/

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    • Mihla,

      Thanks for adding to the list. I don’t have a mac, but for those who do, what do you like about this software? Do you use it all the time?

      Kathy

      Like

  5. Srivener is FANTASTIC!

    Like

  6. I mean Scrivener! Lol!

    Like

    • Mimi,

      It sounds like you’ve been using it. What does it do that you like. That might help other people who read the blog. I wish I could try it, but right now it is only for mac.

      Kathy

      Like

  7. Okay. I got PageFour. Already started to use it. Very user friendly. You can try it first without buying it.

    Like

    • Henya,

      You may not have the answers, right now, but does it let you track what chapters each of your character appear in? Does it list the word count for each chapter? Does it do anything that would cut down or help organize what you write? It would be great if you could let us know the answers as you use it.

      Thanks,

      Kathy

      Like

  8. It’s really great!!!

    Quick answer:
    Yes, it lists word count for each chapter. You can put in a search on anything you need to find. You can organize different files and see them in a column on the left hand side. You can have a different file for just notes….actually, it lets you arrange your book in any which way you desire.

    I will give you more in depth details tomorrow.

    Like

  9. That’s great! Thanks for sharing. It will really help a lot of us.

    Look forward to hearing more.

    Kathy

    Like

  10. At the risk of sounding like an advertisement, which is not, here are some points to PageFour:

    It consists of any number of notebooks, all produced by you. These notebooks incorporate any number of folders and pages, again created by you, constructed and used by your plan.

    For instance, you can have one notebook for each novel, with a folder in each notebook for character outlines, followed by a single page for each chapter.

    Alternatively, you can choose to have a separate folder for each chapter, containing many different versions alongside notes and new ideas. I even have a folder for research findings to save for when I need it. It’s limitless. But what I like best about this software is the simplicity of use.

    Think of it as chapter notes pinned on a pin board with little cards – all in easy view.

    It is safe to download for free and use it for a few days to see how you fare with it.

    🙂

    Like

    • Henya,

      No, you don’t sound like an advertisement. I appreciate you taking the time to share the features. And I agree, if it isn’t easy to use, then you might as well not have it.

      As soon as I can try the ones I downloaded, I will let you know about them and then I will try Page four.

      One question: Do you think it would work for someone who has a novel half finished? Or do you think it would be too much work to take it all over to the software?

      Like

  11. Not at all. I put in my second novel. It’s half finished. I opened a file for the novel, and then opened separate pages for each chapter: chapter 1, chapter 2….etc. So that when you want to go to a chapter…you don’t have to scrawl through your entire novel…or type in a page number to get there, for that matter.

    Then I have a separate file for characters, and a separate page in this file for each character with his/her name. In addition, I opened a research file, and within it each subject….

    All of the above is easily reachable from a column on the left hand side.

    Let me know what you come up with.

    Like


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