View Full Version : Software to help writing & planning a novel
May 29th, 2001, 12:01 AM
With my first novel I almost drowned in directories full of word files. Each one had bits and pieces in - from paragraphs to scenes to chapters - and I had more trouble keeping that lot together than writing the actual book.
I tried the Binder program from MS Office but found it bloated, slow and prone to crashing.
I'm now in a similar situation with my second novel, and I've decided to write a program to deal with the clutter. What I want to know is - does anyone here use a special program to manage the writing of their novels, or do you all just use a word processor?
The program I've got in mind will let you link up plain text files in a 'project' screen, will give you the word count per file and an overall count for the piece, and will also tell you how many words you've added to the entire project day by day.
Because they're text files, there's nothing to stop you loading them into Word to check the spelling or grammar, providing you save the file back out as TXT instead of a DOC. When the project is at a late stage, you will use a 'combine' button to create 1 large text file which can then be loaded into a regular word processor for formatting and the finishing touches.
Could you tell me whether this sounds like something you could use, or even something you're already using?
Simon Haynes http://www.spacejock.com
May 29th, 2001, 12:54 AM
I actually use the Datawrap Manuscriptus program which works with MS Word. I have found this to be quite adequate for my needs thus far, having a formatted template for manuscripts as well as having provision for scene and character files etc. It also has submission tracking as well, I think, but I've not bothered with this feature yet!
However, having said that, I'm keen to see what you're planning and, if it's anything like your yBook reader and maker, I'm sure it will be nothing short of excellent!
Good luck with the project.
May 29th, 2001, 01:12 AM
Thanks for the quick reply. I took a quick look at the web site, and I think the focus is different. That looks a bit more like a database for everything to do with the novel, whereas I'm looking at a kind of enhanced file manager.
Submission tracking feature? You mean you downloaded yBook and missed Sonar? Tut tut. That's a freebie too.
Simon Haynes http://www.spacejock.com
May 29th, 2001, 02:18 AM
I just use Word, like this: Chapter_01, Chapter_02,..., Chapter_yx. All this words are saved in a file after the book's name.
But a programm like that you talk about, might be intersting indeed...
May 29th, 2001, 03:12 AM
This sounds interesting. I'll be looking forward to it.
Me I just use MS Word and do same as Bardos. I've seen some programs, but they charge like £200, silly money.
I have little cards upon which I write the character info, and description, personality etc. Even though I have my harddrive FDISK to two hard drives, and save the stuff on D:/ I always worry the computer will mess up or virus over take, and lose all info, as I always forget to save the stuff on disks.
May 29th, 2001, 04:19 AM
I write most of my information down and store it in a filing cabinet then use WordPerfect as a backup. The stories themselves are actually on the computer with a back up on separate disks.
Iíve seen several programs for writing but most of them claim to basically do all the work for you. I donít like that. I donít like these programs that create names, maps, plots or anything like that. I think the story (which includes all the details of the story) should come from the author, not a computer program.
Your concept has some promise, but to be honest with you I doubt I would use it the way you describe it. Too complicated having to use a separate word processing program for spell checks. Bottom line, what does your program offer that a word processing program doesnít?
Donít get me wrong I actually like the idea of a word processing program specifically designed with writers in mind. Iíd just want a little more than what youíre describing. For example an expanded thesaurus would be nice. Maybe even a foreign language - English dictionary. A word count on the screen that adjusts while you type. Easy and very versatile ďgo toĒ function. I suppose I should stop before I get carried away. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
May 29th, 2001, 05:06 AM
Bardos - "I just use Word, like this: Chapter_01, Chapter_02,..., Chapter_yx. All this words are saved in a file after the book's name."
Yep, I've done that before. It was all right in the initial stages, but I started to lose touch later when the chapters multiplied. I also wanted a daily word count, so I knew how much I was writing.
Hans - "I have little cards upon which I write the character info, and description, personality etc."
Yep, I've got two index files on my desk with 3 x 5" cards, and I was using them to note down scenes. I'd describe a scene on the card, then write it, then shuffle the cards and see whether the scenes were in a better order.
Kats - "Iíve seen several programs for writing but most of them claim to basically do all the work for you. I donít like that. I donít like these programs that create names, maps, plots or anything like that. I think the story (which includes all the details of the story) should come from the author, not a computer program."
Ugh. I couldn't think of anything worse. If any of you have used a programming environment where the files are listed in a project, and are accessible with a click of the mouse then you'll have a rough idea.
"Your concept has some promise, but to be honest with you I doubt I would use it the way you describe it. Too complicated having to use a separate word processing program for spell checks. Bottom line, what does your program offer that a word processing program doesnít?"
Organisation. Right now, I use Explorer and Word. I want a program that will fit on a floppy disk with my novel. When the book is almost finished, I want to click a button to combine all the pieces into one large file, which can then be loaded into a word processor for spell checking, grammar and formatting. The original work files can then be deleted.
Anyway, I've already written the program to the stage mentioned so far. It's running quite well, and I'm looking forward to converting my 75 word files into text so I can get on with my novel :-)
May 29th, 2001, 05:34 AM
"Yep, I've done that before. It was all right in the initial stages, but I started to lose touch later when the chapters multiplied. I also wanted a daily word count, so I knew how much I was writing."
I'm right now in the 3rd volume of my saga, in book 2, with has 47 chapters till now, and still got no prob... But, if you have this programm ready, pls, do send it to me, if you can. http://www.sffworld.com/ubb/smile.gif
Does it support Greek language?
May 31st, 2001, 05:35 AM
Let us know when you have a new version uploaded to your site. I'm sure that there'll be many here like me who'll be itching to take your program for a test drive, especially if they've already seen yBook!
December 31st, 2001, 06:06 PM
For anyone who's interested, the latest version of yWriter, a great tool for authors, is now availabe free from www.spacejock.com (http://www.spacejock.com).
[This message has been edited by erebus (edited January 01, 2002).]
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