Sunday 9 December 2012

Writing tools

Well, as I am totally uninspired to write today, and I've made pretty good progress for the rest of this week, I thought I could write a small post about writing tools.
Now, I'm no expert, and I don't have a huge amount of experience with writing novels (my day job is technical writing, so I know about things like Adobe Framemaker and DITA - by the way, I'd go with DITA and use oXygen for large tech writing jobs).
However, I thought it might be of interest to know what tool I've settled on for writing my first novel. I investigated a few products when I realised that MS Word was very unwieldy and totally unsuited to large projects; editing becomes a nightmare and formatting is incredibly temperamental.
The shortlist to replace Word that I came up with was:
yWriter5 is free, and was created by a writer who is also a developer. It has a whole bunch of features which make it easy to edit and organise scenes within a longer work of fiction (or non-fiction). I won't go into a list of all of the features of yWriter here, but click on the link above and read all about it. It is a widely-used, popular program, but in the end, I settled for Scrivener.
The main reason for choosing Scrivener over yWriter is that is just seemed to be easier to get into, and I'm a shallow kind of person, I guess! Scrivener was originally written on the Mac and has now been ported to Windows. It includes many of the same features as yWriter (a separate file for each scene, making it easier to reorganise the structure of the novel being the principal similarity) and there is a 30, non-consecutive day free trial. It is not expensive, and the trial allows you to really get a sense of what it is like to use.
The best two things about Scrivener are that you can have all of your musings, research and writing in the same program, and that it can output to many formats with no relation to the files you see when you are editing the text. As an example, you can have bold, or italics in your text, but then choose to output to the format required by publishing houses, with the correct font, spacing, cover page, etc.
I've been using Scrivener for a few months now and I'm very happy with it so far. Hopefully, a few months more and I'll have my first draft complete!

1 comment:

  1. That is all really interesting and useful, thanks. I will pass this on to the other writer in the family! It might inspire him to get back to it if he can understand the stuff, he has only used word before.