There are a number of programs available to help with organizing your writing. Today I’m going to cover two of them: yWriter and Scrivener. I will admit I still use Word for my writing. I’ve used it for years. However, with three different wips, it’s time for me to get better organized. Not only will that keep me on track with my work, but will keep my novels on track as well. With everything I’ve been reading lately, I’m very bad when it comes to being organized with my writing. Normally I sit with the laptop in front of me and start typing. No planning involved, just words to screen. This has led to a nasty problem with my current wip, one that’s driving me up the wall. If I had planned things out last year, I wouldn’t have this current mess to straighten out.
yWriter is a free program. That’s right, it’s free! This program is for Window PCs. Once you install it, you don’t need to remain connected to the internet to work on your book.
Here’s a list of its features:
Organize your novel using a project.
Add chapters to the project.
Add scenes, characters, items, and locations.
Display the word count for every file in the project, along with a total.
Saves a log file every day, showing words per file and the total. (Tracks your progress)
Saves automatic backups at user-specified intervals.
Allows multiple scenes within chapters
Viewpoint character, goal, conflict, and outcome fields for each scene.
Multiple characters per scene.
Storyboard view, a visual layout of your work.
Reorder scenes within chapters.
Drag and drop of chapters, scenes, characters, items and locations.
Automatic chapter renumbering.
This program is great for working from an outline. You can easily move scenes and chapters around, keep track of all the characters in your book, and have organize the write ups you do for various locations where the story takes place.
Since my second trilogy wip has a variety of locations where the action takes place, having the write up for the locations comes in handy. If you want to import your current work into yWriter, make sure you save the work as a rtf file.
The other program I’m learning to use is Scrivener. This program is not free though they do have a 30 day free trial. It’s available for both PCs and Macs. The cost for the program is $40 USD.
Scrivener uses a corkboard method to keep your work organized. This program is great for keeping your research organized and available for a quick look over. You can add images or maps you made to keep track of locations and what is happening in that location. You can add corkboards or remove them, place them in different folders. Another thing Scrivener allows you to do is create an eBook. There is a manual for the program, but I had problems following it. On Facebook you can find several groups that deal with using Scrivener, a great way to get answers to any questions you have.
Scrivener allows you to import the follow document formats: doc, docx, dot, fdx, html, htm, rtf, mmd, txt, odt, and ott.
KM Weiland, who has two excellent books for writing also has a Template for Scrivener based on Structuring Your Novel and Outlining Your Novel.
Since my current wip has two volumes completed in Word, it’s going to take a bit of work importing them into Scrivener. One thing I need to do is create a template for the way I have it currently organized. I tend to write chapters, not individual scenes.
If you have a wip you want to import into either programs, don’t import the original. Save it and add scrivener to the file name or yWriter. It’s a good idea to add the date to the file name as well.
There are two other programs that are of great use to writers: The first is SmartEdit, which has a version that works in MS Word.
Here’s what it checks for:
Repeated Phrases List
Repeated Words List
Adverb Usage List
Monitored Words List
Dialog Tag Counter
Separate Dialog & Prose Checks
Misused Word List
Foreign Phrase Usage List
Profanity Usage List
Suspect Punctuation List
Proper Nouns List
Sentence Start List
Sentence Length Graph
Smart & Straight Quote Checker
Dash and Hyphen Checker
Word, Character & Page Count
The Adverbs use list is a great one to help find and remove them.
Another good program is ProWritingAid:
Here’s what it checks for:
Check for hidden and passive verbs
Identify overuse of adverbs and glue words
Locate repetitive sentence structure
Replace commonly overused words
Reveal repeated words and phrases
Eliminate vague, abstract and complex words
Remove cliches and redundancies
Make sure you back up all your work to a flash drive, DVD, or something like Dropbox. There’s nothing worse than losing your work to some hiccup with your computer or with a computer program.
May the words ever flow!