Wednesday, December 04, 2013

yWriter to my rescue!

Almost a week ago, I rediscovered the free novel writing program, yWriter, and decided to try and piece together all the jigsaw like story notes that are littered throughout my hard drive, to bring my novel storyline into a cohesive whole.

Of the probably two hundred thousand words recorded in my scenes and notes, so much as changed since I originally came up with the story's premise, so I have been busily copying rescueable text from all those files, and pasting them across into yWriter's manuscript pages, or its easily accessible project, story, character, location, or item notes, and then re-arranging the electronic scenes into chronological order.

This has really helped get the story clearer in my head.  I've been able to add pictures to character files and locations and items, and my project is starting to take good shape.

But I haven't abandoned Microsoft Word completely.  Although you can type your manuscript directly into yWriter, it is missing too many of Microsofts good word features and tools that I cannot live without.

So the way I am using it is:
- I copy the text from yWriter and paste it to a blank word document.  I write my scene, and then copy and paste it to both yWriter and my master word document, and then discard the blank working document.
- If I need to go back and make changes, I repeat the above - and that way, yWriter and my master manuscript document are always completely up to date and in sync with each other.

I'm doing it this way because the benefit of yWriter is that you write in small scenes, so you get more of your manuscript written because the task isn't too big, you can work out of (story) order, and you aren't wasting time flipping through a big long word document - and, if an idea strikes while you are in the flow, you can just flip to the notes section, record the details then get back to what you were doing and then work out where that new idea fits later when the words aren't flowing as smoothly.  But, having a Word document allows you to read your story that you have so far from start to finish, which allows you to get into the flow of your story and to feel when it is stilted or dragging; and, Word picks up on spelling and grammar problems as you work, which yWriter doesn't (you can run spell check later, but I like to fix up as I am going).  So, I'm using the programs to complement each other, to help me reach an eventual writing 'The End'.

Inspired by the success I've been having because of yWriter though, wondering if there is an even better program that might be more suitable now that I've discovered how useful novel writing programs can be, I headed back online and looked at some of the commercial novel writing software, and I have to say, nothing is comparing to yWriter so far... and yWriter was free and fully functional and doesn't bombard me with ads or annoying popups, AND it has helps you visually manage a lengthy writing project so much better than the commercial ones I've looked at so far - which are falling way short of the strengths of yWriter.

Wow... I really can't express how appreciative I am in having found yWriter all over again. I'm just so glad I tried it out properly this time to work out how useful a resource it is to me!

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