What writing software do you use?
For the last few years, I have done most of my writing (which mostly consisted of blog posts) in Omnwriter. I loved it (still do) because of it’s simple, beautiful aesthetics (both the graphics and audio) but most of all, because it’s distraction free – working only in Full Screen Mode.
When I started more serious writing (whatever that means) I investigated many different options, longing for something to help my process, organize my brain, write the plot for me; I don’t know?! I looked at many different options and because I am crazy, I settled on 3 different solutions and use them according to my mood and access to technology…
A guy in my class at Gotham introduced me to Yarny; I immediately loved it. It’s simple, it’s cloud based,which was great for me because I was traveling a lot, at the time, and switching back and forth between my work laptop.
It’s well designed, customizable modules make it really easy to turn the web based interface into something that works for the specific piece you are working on. Each “snippet” allows you to build your larger piece of writing in the left column, while your people, places and things work similarly in the right column. As soon as you type for more than a few seconds, Yarny automatically switches into full screen mode, forcing you to stop multi-tasking, similar to Omwriter. The word processor is basically a glorified whizzywig, so you can’t do much editing to the style, unless you write in some simple html. I find this highly annoying. Simple functionality, even alignment, B, I and U would go a long way here.
The biggest down side to Yarny, and why I don’t use it as much as I started is because there is no offline mode, like Evernote. (I really hope this is in their product roadmap!) I was doing a lot of my writing in transit, waiting around at airports or sitting in coffee shops with no wifi, so I had to look for an additional option.
It’s also worth mentioning that a paid membership gets you a pretty robust iPhone App, which is convenient. Too bad, most of my “don’t forget this!” moments come when I am underground in the subway, so I can rarely get them into the system in real time. Nonetheless, I still love Yarny; it’s great for exporting your work to a unique link that you can quickly pass on to others for feedback. Using the burgeoning technology makes me feel calm and hip (except for the couple of near heart attacks I had when it’s crashed, but hey, that’s a start up for you. Luckily that have great autosave/versioning!)
This one might be only for Mac’s. It’s interface is very Mac-centric, having a strong visual resemblance to the iTunes interface. I bought this software after doing a lot of research on the best software for novel-writing. The opposite of Yarny, Storymill has EVERYTHING. Places for your research, character descriptions, locations, timelines and complicated ways to connect everything to your scenes. It took me a while to get the hang of it and I am sure that I am only using a fraction of the bells and whistles, but now that I can easily navigate the system, I do love it. The progress meter, the word and page counts, do for some reason make me feel more serious. I work in Storymill when I have the desire to feel like a writer. Yes, I realize that this is ridiculous.
The downside to Storymill is that it’s desktop based. Since I was traveling a lot, I looked for yet ANOTHER solution.
Most of my friends write in Word, which makes sense, as it’s the most popular word processor. So, I started a document in Pages (Mac’s version) and I have to admit, I like the freedom to format my writing in whatever way suits my fancy. I realize that the current format might not follow proper protocol for submitting to publishers, but I don’t care, I can change it later. For me, formatting the text is almost works way that costumes help actors get into character. Plus, designing is so built into my day-job process that my brain often does its best thinking when I am fiddling with the design (read : procrastinating). Pages has a great full screen mode that you can manually turn on.
So these days, I find myself working from a Pages document that I keep saved on Dropbox, so I can always access it from any machine. Of course, that machine has to be a Mac and has to have Pages installed in order to open the doc, but that isn’t usually an issue for me. I still keep back-ups of my work in both Yarny and Storymill because I am crazy and never know what kind of mood I am going to be in! This way, I know that there is always something that will suit my needs. ^-^