Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Mac OS X

Writers’ Software ~ Is It Necessary?


Every writer’s needs, as they dance the dizzy path of creation, are different—except, of course, those writers who copy their work habits from other writers :-)

Sure, there must be many groups of writers who have similar routines and one of them is Writers Who Use Special Software.

I like to choose free software—basically ’cause I’m poor.

I use WriteMonkey for quick note taking and may use it for rough drafting on my next book. It’s been called “Zen” software because of its minimalistic, distraction-free design. (Windows only)

I use TomBoy Notes for projects that need inter-note linking and strong searchability. (Linux, Unix, Windows, and Mac OS X)

I’m checking out, again, a more versatile piece of software—something for novels and other multi-structured books–called yWriter. (Windows and Gnu/Linux)

yWriter is the work of Simon Haynes, novelist and programmer. Here are a few of his words about his software:

“I really struggled with my first novel because I wrote slabs of text into a big word processor file and I just couldn’t make sense of the whole thing at once. No real overview, no easy jumping from scene to scene, nothing.

“Next I tried saving each chapter to an individual file, with descriptive filenames, but moving scenes between files was a nuisance and I still couldn’t get an overview of the whole thing (or easily search for one word amongst 32 files).

“My last attempt to use Word involved saving every scene as an individual file – e.g. Chapter 01 Scene 01 – Hal Spacejock Gets a Job.doc. That was fantastic until I decided to move one scene three chapters ahead, and had to manually rename all the files. Then I decided to put it back again! I could never remember which of the 200+ files contained a note I was looking for either.

“As a programmer I’m used to dealing with projects broken into source files and modules, and I never lose track of my code. I decided to apply the same working method to my novels … and yWriter was the result.

“I realise Word, OpenOffice and other modern word processors have outlining features, but they don’t have snapshot backups to sequential files like yWriter does. Roll back scenes to where they were half an hour ago, or re-read a version from four months ago – yWriter stores them all, automatically.”

Here’s a link to Simon Haynes books on Amazon.

I also use Jarte (Windows only) for my ever-growing collection of .rtf files that contain others’ writing.

And, when I need all the formatting I can get, I take files produced in those other programs and put them into LibreOffice. (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X) I can also pop out .pdf files with this.

Do you use writing software?

Do you know an author who does?

Have you heard any glowing reports about particular types of software?

Have you heard any horror stories about particular types of software?
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