Generally, I like to do all my idea scratching and formulation in either easy-to-read blurbs or character sketches. These are usually done longhand or jotted down in spiral notebooks. It's just quicker and more portable that way. However, I've been doing so many series lately that have overall story arcs that I've found it's getting more difficult to find the information I'm looking for in the notebooks.
Now, over the years I've tried various software programs geared toward getting writers oganized. While the designers' hearts were in the right place, the navigation of the programs have been less than easy. Here are the ones I've trialed and things I've noticed with them.
Caution - this is not an indepth analysis of these programs since I generally got frustrated after a few sessions and quit using them.
WriteWay - Seemed like a good product when I used the free trial. There are some functions of this software that is not available in the free download, but I figured all right that makes sense as long as I know it's there when purchased. I enjoyed it enough in the idea stages of wriing to go ahead and buy the professional edition. This is where my infatuation faded to frustration.
After working on a story for a few hours. That's hours. I decided I wanted to save onto a zip disk. (remember those?) The program wouldn't let me. Say what? I could only save work to my hard drive. - That's enough to make this writer break out into a cold, cold sweat. Occasionally, I might save onto the hard drive, but I don't like it. I want to save to secondary systems and email things to myself for storage. That alone was enough to make me abandon that program and go back to my old method. Granted, this was an earlier version, maybe from '06 or '07. So, any versions since might have fixed this little foible. I don't know. I haven't tried it since.
I worked along happily with MS Word for a while (until they changed that. I hate Word '07 with a red hot passion. Why any designer would take a program that worked perfectly well and was easy to navigate and make it harder, I have no idea. Idiots!)
Anyhoo, in Romance Divas chat one night, someone mentioned working with Liquid Story Binder. I thought, whoohoo, another other with a free download I can try. Here's my experience with that tool.
Liquid Story Binder - Despite it being a beautiful program with an absolutely stunning website, the software itself is like trying to navigate the streets of New York in a blindfold. Almost impossible. Living with a graphic artist, I do know the joys of downloading free tutorials for new programs to understand how to use them to optimal effect. Well, that just wasn't happening here. Liquid is so dense with tabs and sections and sub-sections it makes it very difficult to get around in and the "how-to" is a tomb that would put War and Peace to shame. Really? How is learning this software going to save me time? It's not. I think for people who write graphic novels or screeplays, it might actually work miracles for realizing your complete story arc in both text and visuals, but for a novelist, not so much.
Again, I tried the free version of this software off their website a few years ago. Any upgrades or newer versions I'm not familiar with. All I know is that I opened the program, took a look around, and backed out slowly fearing to wake the beast.
Two years pass...
Again, sitting in Diva chat writing and a few of the divas mentioned they use yWriter for composing their ideas and writing their rough drafts. All right, I have to try this. I've come to the point in my writing career where I have sooo many series going, I really need to streamline and get a good handle on what I'm doing. I need to work more efficiently and be able to find information about characters quickly.
yWriter is a free download, but unlike the other programs mentioned, it is free to stay. There are no functions that are limited or absent until you purchase the software. What you get is a full working program that might not be as pretty as Liquid Story Binder, or as colorful as WriteWay, but it does have one major benefit that the others don't - It's easy to learn. I started my first project on it yesterday and so far it was not the hair-pulling experience I thought it would be. The tabs are all pretty self-explanatory, the information saves easily. The manual is short and to the point. (The Quickstart Guide comes bundled with the download as a PDF- I printed mine so I didn't have to switch back and forth between programs. But honestly, I read it a few days before and then just started in when I had the chance and didn't look at it at all yesterday.)
So far, so good.
My diva connections told me they save their files to thumb drives and even have versions on other computers so they can work on their projects on more than one if they need to. Bonus!
We'll see how it goes. I'll keep you posted.
In the meantime, fee free to leave your comments about any writing software you've used. For novelists, that is. Screenwriting software is a different animal, and well, the only one I've ever used of that was Final Draft, which I completely love.
Until next week,
We are the authors Sierra Wolfe, Tierney O'Malley, Wendy Ely, Alisha Paige, Mark Alders, Kate Davison, and Gracen Miller. Welcome to our blog. We hope to entertain and inform you. This is where we will share our writing journeys and life experiences, and maybe, share a bit of wisdom we pick up along the way. We hope you enjoy it!
Gracen is a hopeless daydreamer masquerading as a "normal" person in southern society. When not writing, she's a full-time basketball/football/guitar mom for her two sons and a devoted wife to her real-life hero-husband. She's addicted to writing, paranormal romance novels and movies, Alabama football and coffee…addictions are not necessarily in order of priority. She is convinced coffee is nectar from the gods and blending coffee and writing together generates the perfect creative merger. Many of her creative worlds are spawned from coffee highs. To learn more about Gracen or to leave her a comment, visit her website at www.gracenmiller.com.
I like to read and write just about anything. But I am a sucker for a Happily-Ever-After. I need to know characters ride off into the sunset and all is right in their world. That's why I chose romance instead of another category. HEA's aren't always promised in other genres, though I do read them too.
Most of the time you'll find me at the keyboard, moving between the 5 projects I tackle at a time.
Most of the time you'll find me at the keyboard, moving between the 5 projects I tackle at a time.
I write paranormal, magic realism, fantasy, erotic and vintage romance. I live in a haunted house built in the 50s and love to drink red wine and eat dark chocolate while sitting in the swing out back. I love to watch my children play in the sandbox while my dogs wrestle on the grass. Does life get any better? It's the simple things in life I cherish.
Writing is an adventure I started at a young age but never took it serious until last year. My focus is on contemporary romance and have two books coming out later this year. Besides writing, I run a childcare, attend college, and am a single mom. Life isn't boring for me!
- Aimee St. Claire
- Amy Redwood
- Cate Masters
- Debra Kayn
- Haven Rich
- Jen Bluekissed
- Keta Diablo
- Lainey Bancroft
- Lucy Woodhull
- Lynne DuMae
- Moonlight, Lace, & Mayhem
- Regina Carlysle
- Romantic Inks
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- Tales From the Crit
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- The Naughty Girls Next Door
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Hi! My name is Tierney O'Malley, contemporary and paranormal romance author from the beautiful Pacific Northwest. My publishers are Cobblestone Press, Museitup Publishing, eXtasy Books, and Silver Publishing. I'm excited to join this blog and hope to share you fun and meaningful posts. :D Click here or go to my website http://tierneyomalley.com to learn more about my books or contact me. I would love to hear from you.
My name is Mark Alders. I live in a house. This house has a street in front of it which is a good thing because if it didn't I wouldn't be able to drive down to the shop and purchase the chocolate I need on a daily basis *giggle* Seriously, I am a mild mannered post office worker by day and an erotic romance writer (mainly male/male) at night. Not much else to say other than, like everyone else, I have bills to pay, a mortgage and family that I love and drive me crazy all at the same time. Oh, and I have a dog, too! See? Average Joe...execpet when I get down and write...then I let my imagination go to places I never knew existed and my characters invade my mind.
I have an Associates Degree in Nursing and work as a traveling nurse. Although, I miss my family and friends back in Missouri, I enjoy meeting new people and love to travel. Of course, I wouldn’t go anywhere without my wonderful daughter and two rotten dogs. Writing has always been a part of my life, but for many years, I thought it was only a hobby. Finally learning that I couldn’t live without writing my beloved stories, I decided to see where it would take me. Who knows where my next adventure will be? Either in nursing or writing, I will continue to look for new and fun places to explore.
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