I’ve been writing seriously for over twenty years and published for twelve. When I decided I could write for a living way back when I bought one of those portable typewriters with a screen that would show like one sentence ahead before it typed. High tech. I wrote four novels with that monstrosity at a time when every manuscript had to be submitted to agents in pristine condition, no typos, formatted perfectly. I made three copies with carbon paper, and I figure for every eighty-thousand word novel I typed about three times that amount with revisions. When I bought my first computer with an actual word processor I thought I’d died and gone to writer’s heaven. Of course WordPerfect was in DOS and you had to learn key commands but you could arrange whole blocks of words!
Over the years I moved up several versions of WordPerfect and finally (at the urging of my agent and against my wishes) changed over to Word a couple of years ago. That bloated excuse for a writing program should be sunk, but I worked my way through with it. Still, I kept searching for THE program for novel writers. There are any number out there which claim to be the cat’s meow and practically to write your novel for you. I didn’t want a program to write for me. I simply wanted one to help me write. Finally after seeing numerous mentions of something called yWriter I downloaded the FREE program and gave it a spin.
I’ve been spinning on it for a couple of years now and will never go back to anything else.
yWriter breaks down a novel into chapters and scenes and in each chapter you have tabs for scenes, project notes, characters, locations, and items. You can name scenes and chapters or simply number them. The scene will track who is the point of view character and for each scene there are tabs for content, description, characters, locations, items, and goals. You can set the program so that each character, location or item will be a highlighted link to the information for that character etc. So if you can’t remember if Paul Duibe is Jack Duibe’s distant relation or son, simply click on either of them. Your scene descriptions can be printed out as a synopsis using brief or detailed descriptions (which I love since I hate writing synopses), and you can drag and drop scenes or chapters anywhere you want them which really comes in handy in the revision stages.
Under tools you have a storyboard function, and you can display a scene list, and the program will even allow you to set a wordcount goal by day and track your progress. You can track scenes per character and location. Your characters each have tabs for their names, descriptions, major or minor character, bio, and goals and even a picture for those of you who write that way or may be working on a biography. There is a function for deleting orphan or duplicate scenes and you can import characters, locations etc. from one novel to another for those of you writing series.
Finally Simon Haynes, the program’s creator, is a published author of sci-fi novels so he knows writing at this level, and he is always happy to answer questions and concerns and even add functions requested by users. I can’t say enough good things about yWriter. Get it.
Oh, BTW. I am not in any way connected to Simon Haynes or yWriter except by my admiration for them. Since it’s a free program I guess I could ask for some of the loot, but that’s just not how I roll.