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June 12th, 2005, 10:33 AM
I know we've had some threads about this before but as none of them are current I thought I'd start a new one.

I've recently discovered yWriter. This piece of software works on the principle that a book is comprised of chapters which are themselves comprised of scenes. It allows you to deal with each section individually, it allows you to look at a scene and assess its relevance, give it a goal, some conflict and an outcome if you wish. It allows you to move scenes around within the project as a whole and best of all it is freeware.

On the downside it is not quite as simple as someone like me who avoids the "HELP" option would like. Getting to grips with it has been a matter of trial and error, but I dind't pay so why should I expect a manual?

I am gettign my head round the way it works now and am finding it a real bonus. I am finding myself writing more words than I used to (could just be coincidence) and I am finding it much easier to keep track of longer works. (I always crash and burn long before I finish a long project).

Has anyone else used this? How about something similar?

Oh, it's available from here (http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter.html) if you want to have a look at it.


June 13th, 2005, 03:03 PM
I've tried yWriter and a number of other writing programs but never found anything I am comfortable using so I decided to bite the bullet and create my own. :)

When I am writing I need space for lots of note-taking and other off the wall writing that isn't part of the story. I never found a program that would allow me to organize all of my information in a way that it can be easilly accessed and separate from the rest of the story, if that makes sense.

In the case of yWriter, I don't like that it uses plain text files making it impossible to do any formatting like italics,etc, and it lacks a spelling checker. I realize that it's a freeware program but all in all it feels like too much of a downgrade from writing in MS Word without getting enough in return.

A program I came across a while ago called Writer's Cafe: http://www.writerscafe.co.uk/index.htm was pretty nice and had some useful features for outlining your story and organizing reference material and the like. I still wasn't entirely happy with it for my way of working but it is well worth a look.

June 22nd, 2005, 08:39 AM
This "writing software" sounds interesting, but what makes it different from just using a word processor? Tell us more...

June 22nd, 2005, 10:20 AM
After trying both of these out I am starting to realize that they feel more geared towards the third person story, and not the first. I say this because on their timelines of events it judges what is going on based of the perspective of the character in the story... Maybe there is a way around this.

That being said, yWriter is lacking italics and bold, maybe not important most of the time, but in my current project italics are necessary. Writer's Cafe, though it allows you to change the font, has the same problem of not allowing me to use italics. yWriter does have a very nifty rating for each section though.
I have to say though, that Writer's Cafe adds just a little bit more with the tab to describe the setting and even attach images. I think this is very useful for consistency in a scene (paste the description of the house in every scene where the house appears so you can always look back at it, or look at a map of the house) but I still need something more.

I am wondering if anyone is able to help me with my needs. I am looking for a program that, like these, allows me to break a project down into chapters and give the descriptions, allows a timeline that doesn't necessarily have to be attached to a scene (for every scene, there is a column and every character is a row... you can choose whether or not you put information for a character... it would be helpful to track characters that aren't in the focus of the story at the moment), allows you to use italics/bolds/colors, and also a way of organizing background info. My current project is part scifi, part fantasy, and that leaves me with different species and civilizations. It would be nice to have a way to quickly reference a race or a species and double check info on their history, add pictures or drawings, write information that may or may not become relevant later on and what not.

Currently, I am working out of a binder. This works, but the power of programs like yWriter and Writer's Cafe allows me to organize it the same way on my computer, and have quicker access to it all (and the fact that I carry my computer most places whereas that binder has gotten bulky).

So, in conclusion.

Writing software that allows us to:
A) Create chapters with short descriptions
B) Allows variations in the text (italics and colors and such)
C) Has space for background description of the setting (maybe even have a "setting library" where you create a setting, describe it, and then that information can be attached via pulldown bar to any scenes you choose to have that setting in)
D) Allows images to be attached for personal reference

After reviewing this I guess my only real problem with these two is the italics, and the fact that they have features that the others don't (which I can get over)

Then, the other part which can be a separate program, a way to organize my background info. Think of it as an encyclopedia of my story, where I could look up "Civilizations" and then have them all listed with a short description, or "races" or even "cities." Is there anything like that available?

I was actually going to try to work on a flash project where I could move the mouse over a city or country and information about them would be displayed on the screen.

June 22nd, 2005, 12:53 PM
Probably not the right forum for this but it relates to structuring your writing, so I will carry on ;)

After going through many more programs and finally coming across "Power Writer" I got the idea to make my own database (for reference) using Microsoft Access.
The problem is that you can't put a picture directly into a microsoft database, but I am working towards my own goal. Does anyone know of other database software that they have found useful in organizing their writing?

June 25th, 2005, 03:13 PM
I find MSWord to be the best, but if you can't get your hands on that you might want to try out OpenOffice (http://www.openoffice.org) for free. In some things it's better than MSWord.

Also, if you need to take notes, a handy program is Keynote (http://www.tranglos.com/free/keynote.html).

June 25th, 2005, 04:53 PM
I tried yWriter out a week or so ago when I first saw this post and personally I didn't find it helpful at all. I was barely able to figure out how open a new file or what anything was supposed to do. And when I finally did get things going I realised that I'd just wasted an hour where I could have been writing.

I've thought about putting together a web-page type thing that can help organise thoughts. Names would link to character profiles, an index of chapters (storyline) would lead to summaries and to the chapters themselves. I could have a little button for maps and stuff. But again - all of that results in less time writing! Nothing beats a good old POP for me (pad of paper).

June 27th, 2005, 05:46 AM
Um . . . here we go: http://www.smartauthor.com/

My favorite is http://www.smartauthor.com/shortstory.html

June 27th, 2005, 01:10 PM
Does that smart author thing write for you?
I am disgusted (If I understand correctly)

June 28th, 2005, 12:43 AM
From what I understand, that Smart Author thing merely prompts the writer with choices and ideas--formulas that most readers already know. That woman must be making a fortune off of gullible people.