Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Miscellany: Ways To Write

Did you guys have any idea that there are, like, a million programs out there for writers? I'm not talking research or printing or formatting programs, I'm talking word processors and storyboards and research consolidators. Incredibly useful programs. And a lot of them are free or inexpensive! I certainly didn't. I've been limping along with Works, Word, or OpenOffice (with the occasional foray into Notepad, WordPad, or a blogging platform like LiveJournal or tumblr) or I've been going the old-fashioned route and using pen and paper since I started writing. (There was also a DOS-based word processor way, way back in the day. I used to journal like Doogie Howser and Dana Scully on the very first computer my family ever owned. No, I wasn't even ten years old yet.)

I knew about Write or Die. I actually bought it last month and it feels super awesome to meet my goals in that program and hear the fanfare. I didn't know about programs like ZenWriter, yarny, yWrite, or Scrivener. There are more, too, apparently. I've barely scratched the surface. But for right now, these are the programs I'm checking out and testing.

One of my new muses is determined to turn me into a real novel writer. I've tried before and, I feel, failed miserably, so right now I'm taking baby steps. Playing to my strengths, doing a lot of research, and thinking about word counts. I've begun work on two novels, the vampire one--The Guest--and a fantasy novel--The Lost Princess (Returns? I haven't decided quite on a title)--and despite my short attention span, I'm not rushing anything. Programs like yarny, yWrite, and Scrivener are designed for novel-writing. So far, my favorite is yarny, but, then again, I haven't spent much time with yWrite and Scrivener yet.

As for ZenWriter, I have the feeling this could be very, very useful. I just haven't found the perfect situation for it to be useful.

Some of it may be because I'm so used to plain old word processors. Teaching yourself to use new programs can be tricky and frightening and human nature seems to resist change. That doesn't mean we can't learn to change... or use spiffy new writing programs that make our lives much easier.

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