I get asked a lot which programs/apps I use for my writing. There are quite a few out there, but I have found a few that work really well for me.
I honestly don’t think I would have finished any of my books if not for this program. I’ve been using it since yWriter2, and I can’t imagine not using it. I did try to switch over to Scrivener, but after writing The Lament of the Vampire Bride with it I returned to yWriter. yWriter makes it so much easier to organize chapters, track your progress, and keep all your character/world-building information close at hand. I used to go crazy trying to find things in Word, and yWriter has eliminated a lot of my old writing headaches. Seriously, I think the only reason I ever finish a book is because I have this program.
This is an online app that you can put on your computer or other devices. I use it for recording story ideas, jotting down plot points in upcoming chapters, etc. It’s pretty easy to use, and I like the drag and drop feature. Also, it emails my updates to me every day.
Word is the standard in the industry, so I use it for my final revisions. I export from yWriter to Word when I’m ready to do my final draft. Once my manuscript is polished, I send it to my indie editor or my agent. I do all my followup revisions in Word.
If you can’t afford word, Apache Open Office is free and allows you to save in .doc. I used it for years until I ran into trouble with my agent and editor having issues with the file I sent them. Since Word and OpenOffice use different scripts, there was some problems with my files getting scrambled. Also, my formatter started having issues with my files because they were being opened and changed in the two different programs. Now, not everyone has had this issue, and I heard that recent changes have eliminated some of the problems I had.
This program adds an Add-In feature to Word that allows me to listen to my manuscript in a voice of my choosing. I bought the British Rachel voice because it forces me to listen more intently. It really helps smooth out wonky sentences, find misused words, etc. Highly recommend it. Just remember to save your install files on a cloud, or external drive. It’s a bitch to get new download links from the company.
Sadly, the website has vanished and Google isn’t showing the program I have. Basically the program takes over your computer for either a specified word count or time (you set it) and you can’t access the internet, email, etc until you finish. I use it for busting through tough parts in my book, and transfer the text to yWriter when I’m done. I usually do 15 minute sprints. I’m really glad I backed up this little program since it works so well.
I’ve started making boards for my new works in progress. It really helps to save images that inspire me to the boards and then use them whenever I get hit with writer’s block. It’s also a neat way for readers to get an idea of what I’m up to.
This is a recent discovery, and I really like it. You cut and paste your text into the site, and it edits your text by pointing out potential issues. I like to use it to find weak words and phrasing.
This is what works for me. I know other writers have their favorite tools, but this is my streamlined toolbox.
Note: I don’t write anything by hand. I don’t keep notebooks or notepads with ideas. I’ve gone fully electronic for my sanity and to save my hands and wrists.