I’ve blogged before about writing softwares and whether they are useful/necessary. I think my verdict earlier was ‘no’, but now that I’m 25 000 words in, and my hard drive is littered with Word documents called things like ‘The bit where mc gets homesick’ and ‘scene describing the town’, I wonder if there might be a use for some kind of organising program.
One that’s been recommended to me is yWriter, but unfortunately it doesn’t work on macs.
I like its simple approach: ‘yWriter is a word processor which breaks your novel into chapters and scenes. It will not write your novel for you, suggest plot ideas or perform creative tasks of any kind. It does help you keep track of your work, leaving your mind free to create.’
No frills. However, so far I can achieve the same effect by using the document Navigation pane in Word, as long as I label all my scenes with ‘headings’. I’d like to do a comparison with yWriter, to see if it’s more effective than Word alone, but will have to wait until it becomes available on Mac I suppose.
In the meantime, my favourite tip for making software work for you is using the Autocorrect function to enter characters’ names. I can’t remember where I picked it up, but it’s pretty handy when one of your major characters is called ‘Aunt Honoria’. Just open the Autocorrect options menu in Tools, and add an autocorrection: Replace ‘aun’ with ‘Aunt Honoria’. Easy! And it saves me 10 keystrokes every time Aunt Honoria pops up in a scene. I can't imagine how I got by without it.
Are there other shortcuts you use? What else am I missing out on?