Software for writing, another for editing

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

hunnypot

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I'm hoping for some recommendations. I'm looking for software with no bells and whistles. I'd like this software just for my first draft, so I can get the words down. Spell check and grammar check would be nice.
I am also looking for software for second draft on wards. I like the sounds of Scrivener but after having several attempts at it, I find it too difficult to use. Is there something out there that is similar but easier to use?
One day, I would like to submit my work so correct formatting and saving as doc or docx is a must. I use windows 8.1. and would like a one off payment (can't afford to keep paying year and after year).
Thank you.
 
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Al X.

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Here is what works for me. I do everything in Word, formatting for Kindle ebook first, including outside editing, then once I start doing proofing runs, I will download the MOBI format file and send it to my Kindle device, and then proof on the Kindle, correcting the errors on my Word document as I find them. This has really worked very well.
 

VeryBigBeard

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LibreOffice is a free, open-source version of Microsoft Office that will do everything you'll need to write and submit a manuscript for publication*.

There isn't actually much in the way of formatting you need for working on a book. Unless you're self-publishing, any and all book design and layout is going to be done by your publisher. All you need to worry about is making sure an agent can read it and it puts your best foot forward. 12pt Times New Roman double-spaced and you're probably fine. There is such a thing as "standard MS format" and this FAQ contains everything you might want to know about that, and it's not hard, though do not the FAQ is from 2006 and while still useful, some things--word count method, the font requirement--aren't really relevant anymore.

While LibreOffice has a fairly decent spellchecker, it's also a good idea to develop your own eye for spelling and grammar, especially as you'll need to be concerned not just with matters of correctness, but also matters of style--that is, writing is about finding the best possible usage, not just one that doesn't cause a squiggly line to appear. You can't even always count on that line to appear when something is wrong.
 
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Maryn

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LibreOffice is excellent for writing. Its alter ego, OpenOffice, is also good. Both are free, mimic MS Office and Word 2003 reasonably well, and can be set to acceptable format and save as .doc. The only issue I've ever had is with Track Changes, which sometimes words flawlessly.

I have Word 2016 but I mostly use LibreOffice. I have it open right now.

Maryn, who likes simple
 
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stephenf

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Microsoft Word for Writers – HarveyStanbrough.com

Word is possibly the best option . You can buy the older versions cheaply and it will do everything most writers need to do . It is , I find , too complicated to actually spent the time needed to understand it . It also will do hundreds of things you don't need know . The link explains how to use word, as a writer. You can also have a look at Chrome Doc . It is free , it is being improved all the time and there are extensions for editing . You can find some fans on youtube. The prefer not to use a web based system , so I don't use it.
 
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RBEmerson

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I'll add my vote for Libre Office, but with a caveat. It's probably the best way to get words into a file. The dictionary can be added to as needed. The caveat is to get the most out of Libre, expect to spend time reading, searching, and researching.
 

hunnypot

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Thank you all for your suggestions. I am tempted to try Libre Office first. But I have heard from a few people that when they save as docx and it is opened in Word, the layout is incorrect. Is this is case for you? I'm guessing this is not the case for everyone because why would Libre Office get so many votes :)
 

Aphotic Ink

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I haven't found that to be the case, and I do all my writing and editing in LibreOffice. (I also, because I am belt-and-suspenders like that, double-check my format in Word before I send out manuscripts.) If there are formatting issues, I've never caught them?
 

RBEmerson

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Why move between LO and Word? Or, what does Word do that you think LO won't do?
 

jjhoward

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I use Microsoft Word for writing and OneNote for everything else under the sun. Scrivener is awesome, but I also found it very difficult to start with so I switched back to Word so I could "get writing" since I have used it for years. I also have Grammarly installed on everything. As far as Microsoft software goes, I had a lot of trouble with the free online versions because the internet couldn't keep up with my typing and drove me nuts. I ended up paying the $74.00 (after taxes, etc.) for Office 365. It still isn't as fast as the dedicated Word 2010, 2019, etc. and often lags behind a bit even though it is installed onto the computer just as a disc would. You do have to connect to the internet every thirty days so it can check your product key for validation. If you do not connect or pay you cannot use the software.
 

RBEmerson

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Every month? Need Internet access? Dealbreakers! Needing the Internet to use anything but a browser or simple storage is absurd. Except collaborative work, maybe. Past that, why? Additionally, since I write while on the road, we go to places that are dark. Not even cell access let alone WiFi. No "MickeyD", no "Starbucks", nada. Feh.
 
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Al X.

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Thank you all for your suggestions. I am tempted to try Libre Office first. But I have heard from a few people that when they save as docx and it is opened in Word, the layout is incorrect. Is this is case for you? I'm guessing this is not the case for everyone because why would Libre Office get so many votes :)

Nested TOC's, fonts, kerning, justification and margins for starters can change. It's not really an issue if you're producing an ebook, but it can be an issue if you're formatting for print layout.
 

RBEmerson

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TOC's, margins, justification, fonts are all "got that" for LO. Kerning, AFIK, not a chance.
 

TrinaM

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Here's something weird: I do all of my writing in Evernote now. The free version has what I need. If you ever need to work completely offline, open the note you need and then disconnect. (The paid version allows for offline notes if you are worried.) I haven't had any problems with everything syncing up the next time I come into range.

Getting everything OUT of Evernote and into a Word doc (or Libre Office) requires picking the right notes and exporting, but I haven't found that to be hard. A weird trick I use is to export it as an HTML document, select all and copy, then paste it into the word processor.

But here's the thing...I can just as easily paste it into Sigil or other ePub editor...or InDesign if I want to go for professional print.

The export thing IS currently a bit of a headache, but it isn't huge and they're working on it. In the meantime, I have a system that works wherever I am and makes it so I can take all of my notes and background stuff with me on my phone. I can even dictate into my phone to work.

Weird...but I love it.
 

SapereAude

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I'm late again, but -- as I did in another thread -- I'll chime in here to mention SoftMaker FreeOffice. It's the freeware version of the company's paid office suite. The free version of TextMaker does just about everything that Word or Libre Office Writer can do, and it's much faster and easier than Libre Office.

I just checked -- TextMaker (the free version) includes kerning as well as character spacing.

https://www.freeoffice.com/en/download
 

Al X.

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Oh by the way, it isn't necessary to convert a Word file to MOBI for upload to a Kindle device for reading and editing. You can upload the .doc/.docx the same way and it functions exactly like the MOBI version except there is no cover.
 

Erinell

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Thank you all for your suggestions. I am tempted to try Libre Office first. But I have heard from a few people that when they save as docx and it is opened in Word, the layout is incorrect. Is this is case for you? I'm guessing this is not the case for everyone because why would Libre Office get so many votes :)
I never encountered that (unless it's being opened on another computer and fonts are not embedded). I use Open Office primarily, LO for docx saving. What I like (besides a clean, open screen with no pizzazz) is the ability to write macros for specific tasks in formatting, define it to a simple button and arrange the menu bar the way I prefer. There's an extension for both LO and OO that allows find/replace for formatting. With it, I can instantly format a document as html and/or 6x9 prepress. The html is just a couple of seconds away from conversion to mobi and epub. It sounds a bit eclectic, but let's say I have an 80,000 word novel ready to go.
The book interior is correctly formatted for print and ebooks in about 5 minutes and the cost to me is zero.
 

Kerry56

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Since I use Linux Mint as the operating system on my main computer, I've been using Libre Office to do first drafts. I save as .docx and have never had an issue with formatting or being accepted in Word.

When it comes to editing, I find Libre Office doesn't quite cut it, so to speak. I use a second computer with Windows 10 and Word for my editing chores. I did have to import my favorite font, Lora, into both Word and Libre Office.

To produce a copy compatible with Kindle, I use Kindle Create on the Windows 10 machine. Amazon doesn't have a version for Linux, as far as I am aware. This program seems safest when publishing on Amazon Kindle, but it isn't fun to edit or format within it. I find Kindle Create a little clumsy.
 

The-original-Mia

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I've been using Personal Online Office, it's free and easy. I use the headings function to separate chapters, kind of like a scrivener hack, so I can jump all around the ms if need be.....