Monday, July 16, 2012

Writing with yWriter: Conclusions

A while back, I mentioned some new writing software I was planning to try out. It was a big jump for me because software is not really designed for the pantser. Wanting to give it a fair shake I decided to use it for my Nano book because I figured that would force me to use it more than any other time.

Now that I'm participating in FastDraft (and thank God I'm almost done) I switched back to Word. I was a little worried that the software would slow me down and with 5k words to scratch out every day, I would need every second.
I've got to weigh my options CC


So here's where I'm at. I really like a lot of the features in yWriter. I'm especially a big fan of the daily word chart that tells you how many words you added to the MS and the date you did. It creates a great historical record to view your writing habits. You can also put in your word count goal and an end date for it to tell you how many words you need to add every day to make your goal. This is nice, but became a very depressing feature toward the end of Nano.

I also think the schedule feature is nice. It let's you figure out when you are going to get certain tasks done such as a first draft or a second revision. I can see where this would be extremely helpful for anyone working on a deadline.

But this is where I started to feel a little boxed in by the software. In order to write a scene, you have to create it inside an existing chapter heading. This might not seem like a big deal to someone who plots out their chapter and scene breaks ahead of time, but for me this was really difficult. Theoretically you could just write everything under one scene and chapter, but that kind of defeats the purpose of the software.

In rebellion of all this organization I went off the deep end for FastDraft. Not only am I typing in a word document, I am not using any chapter breaks. I feel like such a rebel. If I don't have a transition to get from one scene to the next I just separate out the paragraphs with a pound sign and keep going.

I might hate this later when I start to edit, but in the midst of writing I love it. It is so nice to ignore the physical structure of the story and just write.

So here's my conclusion. If you are a plotter with scene lists and outlines and the whole shebang, you will probably really like yWriter. If the idea of sticking your story inside a box before you even get started makes you want to cry, it's probably not for you.

Once I'm done writing, I'm thinking about transferring the document over to the software to see if it makes editing any easier. As always, I'll let you know how it goes.

8 comments:

  1. Yes, definitely let us know how revising goes. And congrats again on fast drafting.

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    1. Thanks, I've come to love revisions so I'm interested to see how it goes.

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  2. I'm not a big fan of software for writing, either. I've tried a few freebies, and they just didn't work for me. Mostly because it's hard to move from machine to machine. A word file is easy to take with me on pretty much any platform, and I can keep it in my Dropbox folder so I have one version for each machine (Dropbox is kind of like Google Docs, but it keeps cleaner backups). So, yeah, writing software isn't my thing, either. :)

    Glad to hear you found something that's working for you so far! I'll be really interested to hear how the revising goes. Good luck!

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    1. Glad to hear it's not just me. I hear so many folks who are in love with Scrivener, but the confines just doing work for me.

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  3. Scrivener works for me. BTW, did you see the Booker Award I gave you? Check it out on my latest blog post!
    Catherine Stine’s Idea City

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  4. I wish I could be that organized. And yes, thanks for the award. I'm posing it tomorrow. :)

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  5. I use Scrivener, but I'm not entirely in love with it. Like you, I'm a pantser and I don't write linearly either so I tend to end up with scraps of scenes all over the shop while I'm drafting. But I do like revising in there. Moving scenes around is so easy!

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    1. I write mostly in chronological order, but I know I have a few scenes that need to be added it. I'm hoping the software helps in that regard when I get to editing.

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