Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Faves--yWriter

I think I work best with more deadlines rather than less, so I've decided to make an addition to my little blog project: Friday Favorites.

Pretty easy to guess the purpose of these posts, eh? You got it: Each week, I post one of my favorite things. The posts will probably be related to writing, but who knows? There's a lot of really cool stuff in the world--wouldn't want to limit myself.

This week's installment, I thought, had to be great. A real gem. And I know just the thing: yWriter.

Those of you who write novels or other long prose projects should pay particular attention here.

yWriter is a totally free program designed by Simon Haynes. He's not only a computer dude, but a professional writer as well. As such, he whipped up this bad boy to make the nasty organizational side of novel writing a bit easier.

It's pretty bare bones, but in a good way. No funky fonts or silly pictures or anything. Maybe I'm just a technological 'tard, but a lot of those novel-writing programs seem to be waaaay more complicated and jazzed up with random $hit than they need to be. Just my opinon of course. I do wish I'd used this when I wrote my [now chucked] novel.

Anyway, yWriter is broken down the way we (or at least I) tend to think of our stories: First you set up a project, then you set up a chapter. Then within the chapter, you set up a scene. One scene, 12 scenes, doesn't matter--you can insert or delete them whenever you want. These chapters and scenes are displayed along the left margin in a clickable manner that is one-part outline, and one-part just plain helpful.

Once you've created the filepaths for your chunk of story, that's when the word processor window comes up for the typing of it. Before, during or after you type out that particular scene, you can add characters, locations--all sorts of things really--with descriptions that carry over into the next scene or chapter you chose to create. There's also a tiny little window where you can type up a quick blurb for the scene or chapter, so that when you're working on another, all you have to do is highlight the one in question to touch base and read the blurb. And if/when you realize you've got something in the wrong spot (let's face it, we both know it's going to happen), you can click and drag it to where you want, hassle-free. It autosaves and whatnot, too.

I don't know if I'm explaining this properly, and there are so many more neato-bandito functions to it that it would take ages to list them all, but this is definitely my current favorite writing program. It can be used for shorter stuff too, or for non-fiction projects like theses or speechs, maybe.  I can see how the possibilities would be endless. Can't remember how long it took to download; maybe a couple hours? I'm not sure.

Either way, it's WELL worth taking a look-see. Plus, say you disagree with me (I don't think you will!), you can just uninstall it.  It's not like you lose any money on it, after all.

Interested? Here's a link for info and downloading (and a much better explanation, lol):

Happy writing, everyone, and to the US folks, have a good Memorial Day weekend!


  1. Thanks for this post . I definitely need something like this ~ DESPERATELY & ASAP !!
    As a fairly new writer , I know NOTHING about these writing programmes available on the net . I've never even seen one , don't know a thing about it ... nothing ... nada ... zilch ... zip ...
    I'm gonna check it out !

  2. I know exactly what you mean, exactly! I didn't find this until fairly recently; a lot of the really big corporate programs have demos online for free--you know, the 30 or 90 day trial versions, but they all took FOREVER to download and then FOREVER AND A HALF to learn to navigate. Plus, most of them you couldn't save or print, because they were just trials. Very inconvenient, and in my opinion a not-so-subtle way to convince users they might as well just drop 700$ + dollars on a program that may or may not be of any real help! Bah!


    I'm one of those women with Post-It notes stuck all over the desk and laptop, so a novel-writing program is pretty, er...novel. Ha! Lol. It's great though, I was really, really pleased with it--and go figure, it's one of the free ones. Hope you like it!