yWriter for writing novels

Another wonderful writing software is yWriter. I have been using it to outline long manuscripts for years. yWriter has been around long before Scrivener became available for Windows and has a devoted base of dedicated users who are perfectly happy with it. Perhaps the biggest advantage of yWriter is that it’s free. That does not mean that it lacks in features people otherwise pay money for. It is better than many paid writing apps.
yWriter for Windows main interfaceUnlike many competitors, it does not have a steep learning curve. If you are a general computer user, you can become proficient in yWriter within a day or two. While many apps tuck away important functions behind layers of options for minimalistic clarity in their user interface, all of yWriter’s options are available directly through clearly visible menus and buttons. For the new user this makes it easy to learn by simply pointing and clicking.
A lot of people use yWriter for its dedicated area for character profiles, location profiles, and items. This is great if you tend to write random sequences as inspiration takes flight and return to remaining ones later. You can make sure you are mentioning the gun in chapter two which will eventually go off in chapter eight. yWriter also has integrated tracking of time so your hero doesn’t end up in his office all dressed up at three in the morning on a Sunday.
beautiful small flowers growing wildyWriter also tracks your progress so you can visually see the logs of the day’s work or the total work done or the word counts across your entire project broken down to more understandable bits. It also allows detailed notes on viewpoint character, goals and conflicts for each scene. These notes are indispensible when compiling your work and trying to figure out the amount of time spent on each character or at various locations.
It also has a storyboard view which is a more a visual layout of your work. You can move the order of the scenes within chapters just by clicking and dragging as well as with characters, items and locations. If you aren’t ready to do a scene or a chapter yet, yWriter also allows you to add blank scenes. This would be difficult to do in full-featured word processors designed to handle text sequentially.
But keep in mind that yWriter also has its fair share of drawbacks. The actual writing area is just a narrow window towards the bottom on the right. While there is a feature where it can edit your work in more conventional word processors, it’s not the same thing as having an editor built in. I would love to have a simple full-screen editor like Q10 be incorporated in the main yWriter program. To me that would really make it a complete writing application for novel length projects.
And although I have never had any problems with it as far as losing any work is concerned, I have read reviews from people who have lost work or have not managed to save work properly. So if you come across these when researching yWriter’s viability (internet never forgets, does it?), keep in mind that this was for a much earlier version of this software. The majority of complaints have come from version 4 while the current version of yWriter is version 6 and all these problems have been addressed by Simon Haynes, the creator of yWriter. And since the software is free, I would recommend everyone interested in writing to give it a try. Here is the link for its download.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.