Writing-related software

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

Fahim

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Some writers love writing software. Others hate it saying that they are too complicated or that they encourage bad writing. There's always two sides to every argument but in order to be able to judge, you need to know what is out there and how effective it can be. So, over the next few weeks (months? years?) I'll compile a list of writing software available out there with a brief description of the features, price, a website link etc. Hopefully, this will prove to be a good reference for all those people who ask about (novel) writing software :) (I'll add more as I have time and find them - if you have any software that you use which is not in the list, feel free to let me know about it and I'll add it to the list)

Writing Tools
Book Writer
Allows you to have each chapter in a separate document but displays all the chapters in a treeview and allows you to open different chapters in different tabs.
OS - Windows
Document Format - RTF
Formatting - Yes. Full formatting options
Notes - No note taking, annotation tools
Spellcheck - Live spellcheck and thesaurus
Word count - no word count tools
Price - $44.95
Trial Download - Available via site

Rough Draft
A tabbed word processor with full styling options.
OS - Windows
Document Format - RTF
Formatting - Yes. Full formatting options
Notes - A sidebar which allows you to maintain notes
Spellcheck - Live spellcheck and thesaurus
Word count - Yes. Option to count current file or all open files
Price - Free/Donationware
Trial Download - N/A

WriteItNow
Java based software which allows you to maintain details about characters, events and locations in addition to the manuscript. Displays chargs of relationships. Generates characters, names and ideas. Tracks submissions.
OS - Windows, Mac OS X
Document Format - Internal database but outputs to RTF, text and HTML
Formatting - Basic formatting - bold, italic, underline.
Notes - An integrated Ideas tab which allows you to maintain notes.
Spellcheck - Spellcheck and thesaurus but no live spellcheck.
Word count - no word count tools
Price - $37.55
Trial Download - Available via site

yWriter
Stores a complete manuscript broken down into individual chapter files and allows chapters to be further broken down into scenes. Allows you to setup deadlines and monitor progress. Provides a graphical storyboard feature to be able to see events on a timeline.
OS - Windows
Document Format - Text
Formatting - No formatting
Notes - No note taking, annotation tools
Spellcheck - No
Word count - Provide word count by chapter and full document
Price - Freeware
Trial Download - N/A

Avenir
Left Margin
Liquid Story Binder
PageFour Notebook
SuperNoteCard
WriteWayPro
WritersCafe

Other Helpful Utilities
PlotCraft
Story Weaver

Character Pro
Idea Mason
Idea Tracker
Manuscript Studio
Story Wizard
 
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K_Woods

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RoughDraft does have a wordcount tool -- in the Tools menu. You have the option of counting the words in your current file or all open files, too.

Now, how accurate that wordcount is compared to the 250/page method or MS Word's counter, I can't say.
 

Fahim

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K_Woods said:
RoughDraft does have a wordcount tool -- in the Tools menu. You have the option of counting the words in your current file or all open files, too.

Ah, thanks for that :) I should have downloaded it and installed it again to check - was too lazy :p I did try it out a few months back but the details are hazy ... Will update the info.
 

DamaNegra

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WriteWay
Word processor that splits your document into scenes and chapters within one same document.
OS - Windows, Mac OS version coming soon
Document Format - .wwb but imports to .RTF with standard manuscript format
Formatting - bold, italic, underline, fonts
Notes - You can choose from 10 note templates depending on your needs, plus book, chapter and scene notes
Spellcheck - Live spellcheck
Word count - word usage count, word count by scenes, chapters and whole book, charted word count goals
Price - $39.00 basic version, $79.00 full version
Trial Download - Available via site

Writer's Café
Writing program that stores files as .txt and allows you to create flowcharts, notebook for random ideas, journal, writing quotes, writing prompts, pictures, and a cool game for procrasinating :)
OS - Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Pocket Pc
Document Format - .txt
Formatting - none (last time I checked)
Notes - Yes
Spellcheck - No, but it has a thesaurus
Word count - none
Price - $45
Trial Download - Available via site

New Novelist
Writing program that plans your novel for you and divides it, not into chapters but in what needs to happen (i.e. conflict, climax, etc) depending on what type of story you chose.
OS - Windows
Document Format - New Novelist file (not sure if it is exportable)
Formatting - bold, italic, underline, fonts
Notes - Yes
Spellcheck - Live spellcheck
Word count - (not sure)
Price - 29.99 UK
Trial Download - No
 
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Ad Astra

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Great, now I've downloaded all the free ones.
k1312_tongue2.gif
 

Fahim

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Tirjasdyn said:
ywriter does have notes...they are available for each scene and and they are an extesion of the synopsis and outline tools.

I believe you mean the scene description field? I'm looking at notes more like a global notes field/tool which is accessible from anywhere where you can keep notes on things like the history of the universe/world you're working in and other research material :)
 

Cav Guy

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WriteItNow has word count tools available, both for your entire novel and for each chapter or selections within that chapter. It also has some character generation tools (including some that are keyed to specific regions or time periods), idea generation tools, and a pretty good submissions tracker. The other plus is that the purchase price gives you access to all future upgrades of the software. I've been using it for almost two years now and have no major complaints. They're also very responsive to tech questions and comments.

If anyone's got questions about it, I'd be happy to answer as best I can.
 

paprikapink

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I'm on the lookout for Mac software to use for writing. I just downloaded "Jers Novel Writer." I haven't actually used it yet, but the price is right (freeware, unless I happen to be inspired to send Jerry some money) and the license agreement and release notes are a fun read.

Anyone tried this product already?
 

Amethyst

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Paprikapink, there are a few out there, some are free in beta, but will charge for the final release. Here're the ones I have:

Scrivener (free in public beta - soon to be released; I think there will be a charge for it) - awesome

Scrivener Gold - older version of above, free, very stable but no longer supported

Copywrite - not free, but not very expensive

Writeroom (already mentioned?) beta was free, now it's something like $25 - this is a grand piece of software making the writing interface nearly distraction free. It doesn't have all the extra novel/story tracking goodies of Scrivener or Copywrite, but it is very nice indeed. You might be able to find the previous release which was free, but it has fewer features and customability.

You should have no trouble Googling for the sites. PM me if you need more info.
 

paprikapink

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Thanks, Amethyst, I'll check those out.

Meanwhile, I'm pretty impressed with Jer's Novel Writer, so far. It has a built-in database for keeping track of characters/locations/what-have-you; you can divide your project into chapters, parts, and sections; it has a notes area; and you can make notes in the margins too.
 

Tirjasdyn

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Fahim said:
I believe you mean the scene description field? I'm looking at notes more like a global notes field/tool which is accessible from anywhere where you can keep notes on things like the history of the universe/world you're working in and other research material :)

You can do that with characters so far.

Also ywriter 3 is in beta...which has formating and rtf export.
 

Amethyst

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Paprikapink,

Both Copywrite and Scrivener (incl Gold) have the same sort of interface as Jers, with lots of places to make notes and track characters, scenes, info, and the like. Scrivener has inline notes, not margin notes, though. Only Jers has the margin notes, afaik, and they're brilliant, imo.
 

Dario D.

Ah, glad to see Book Writer listed. :)

'Been using it for years, and couldn't fathom using anything else.
 

Nolita

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I'm liking Jarte word processing software. Tabbed documents, saves to .doc, easy interface to get aquainted with. Word count, spell check, thesaurus, etc. I use the free version. http://www.jarte.com It's only a little stripped(not like other apps). If it's still my best friend in a few months, then I'll completely endorse it.
 

abemorgantis

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I use FrameMaker (They discontinued the Mac version, bastards) on Solaris (and it runs on Windows). It is really amazing, probably overkill for writing but nothing else compares, me thinks.
 

paprikapink

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I just dumped my WIP into Google Documents. It's stripped down, but it's got basic formatting, it gives a word count, it tracks revision, I can access my files from anywhere, and if I want I can give access to (or take access from) my writing group and get review comments online. Those are my reasons for trying it. After I've done this for a while, we'll see what reasons I come up with, if any, for abandoning it. I've abandoned Jer's Novel Writer. Mostly because I couldn't select blocks of text the way I wanted to (the software helpfully selects what it thinks you must want), and I couldn't select the whole file to dump it into other software...maybe I could have, but I couldn't figure it out lickety-split and got fed up. I'll miss the margin notes.
 

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