Friday, November 6, 2009

Free Software to Write Your First Novel - Get to Know the Software

The term "free novel writing software" is actually a paradox. No software will write your novel for you and you must still use the good old grey matter.

 Doing a search on the internet for free novel writing software, I could find yWriter5 from Spacejock and Storybook on the first couple of pages of Google. There are a number of other programs available offering free demo's like Novel Writing Made Easy, Storycraft and the ever-popular NewNovellest, but to make use of all the feaures you have to buy the program. Granted, it is not that expensive an exercise to buy these programs and you do get many additional features, but for a novice, first use the free ones.

People have different preferences in their method of writing and you may prefer to simply start with your story idea and let the characters lead you where they will. For some people this works very well, but for others, like me, I need some form of structure to guide me when I stare at the blank page and the character refuses to do his/her own thing. Hence, the search started for software that could make life easier.

Writing programs that offer you the ability to organize your novel in easy to find chapters and scenes and have information about your characters physical and psychological traits on hand while your write, just makes life easier. How many of you had to search for that one scene where you described a location or person. Searching through 40 000 words is time consuming and causes procrastination when you could have spent the time writing the next scene.

Whether you plan the novel completely in advance or simply write by the seat of your pants, copying the scenes into a program that organizes the work, makes editing at a later stage, easier. Trying to edit a scene of 300 words just seems like less work than staring a 3000-word block of text.

If you are a novice like me, you don't want to spend unnecessary money on a sophisticated program when you don't know if you are any good at writing. The two programs mentioned above will surely suffice for a start. Paid programs do offer additional features to assist the author and I would definitely consider looking into them - as soon as I manage to publish my first novel.

Do investigate the free programs mentioned here and tell me what your views of the programs are.
In the next post, I will start showing how I use yWriter to plan/outline a novel.

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