9 Ways yWriter can take Your Novel-Writing to the Next Level

Are you looking for a new way to write your novel? Have you been dragging your feet on finishing it, because you’ve come to dread using Word?

If you yelled, “YES!”, I understand your frustration, my brother. I’ve been there, my sister. Be frustrated no more! I have a solution for you.

I’m certain that most, if not all of you, know about Scrivener, a powerful content management software for writers. Best-selling authors Michael Hyatt and Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn are just a few writers who swear by it and all that it can do. I eagerly await the day when I can swear by it, too. However, until that time arrives, I’ve been using an alternative: yWriter.

Simon Haynes of Spacejock Software is not only the designing mind behind yWriter, a writing software, but also an author. What better person to design a programme for writers, than one with 25 years’ computer programming experience PLUS a number of books under his belt! He has made yWriter available to download and use for free. Ever since I came across this resource late last year, I’ve ditched Word for my fiction writing. True, yWriter is less advanced than Scrivener; this is simply a matter of two different levels, than of quality, though. In fact, yWriter has a few features that can carry out tasks like those in Scrivener.

Read on to learn how yWriter can take your novel-writing to the next level.

YOU CAN PLAN AND ORGANISE YOUR NOVEL

Say goodbye to missing chapters and scattered scenes, and hello to an organised work-in-progress.

An important first step is setting up your novel via the New Project Wizard.

yWriter wizard
Welcome message.
yWriter wizard_step 1
Step 1.
yWriter wizard_step 2
Step 2.
yWriter wizard_step 3
Step 3.
yWriter wizard_finish
Final step.
Once you’ve completed that process, you can bookmark the Manual in the Help section for your ongoing reference, or review it as you go along, if you need clarification. Then, on to some of the core work – structuring your Project or Novel Notes, creating your chapters and scenes, and indicating the stages of your work-in-progress, that is, whether you’re working on an outline, draft, first edit, or final draft.
yWriter_chapter 1
Chapter 1 of The Girl Who Lived.
yWriter_scene 1
The first scene in Chapter 1 of The Girl Who Lived.
Of course, you don’t have to write your chapters or scenes in sequential order, thanks to the drag-and-drop feature in yWriter.
yWriter_chapters
yWriter_scenes

For instance, if you’re on Chapter 3, but are bursting to write a scene that’s slated for Chapter 10, you can write it immediately, and then drag-and-drop it into its assigned slot when you reach that particular chapter.

YOU CAN CREATE RICH CHARACTER PROFILES

Add your main character(s), antagonist(s), and supporting/secondary characters, along with their bios, physical descriptions and traits, and even photos for character inspiration. You can also specify the viewpoint for each scene, whether it’s from the perspective of your protagonist or a secondary character.

yWriter_character
Mass George, a supporting character.
yWriter_character_Mass George
The viewpoint of this scene is Mass George’s.
yWriter_character_Mass George_2

With reference to photos for character inspiration, if you’re on Pinterest and haven’t done so already, you can create boards for your important characters. That way, you can pull what you need from that photo bank, and plug them into the Picture feature in yWriter.

YOU CAN STAY FOCUSED VIA SCENE GOALS

Stating goals for your scenes and making notes in this section will keep you focused on the purpose and outcome of each scene, as well as writing only that which will move the story along to a satisfying conclusion. yWriter even allows you to specify the amount of tension or humour in each scene.

yWriter_scene goals   

YOU CAN GIVE LIFE TO YOUR SETTINGS

Don’t underestimate location. It’s a crucial element that’s just as vital as your characters.

yWriter_location
Puerto Seco Beach – the location in this scene.
yWriter_chapter 1_scene 1_location

Treat each setting like a character by providing details and adding photos for inspiration. You can also specify the location for every scene. Check out my Pinterest board for Settings and Scenes.

YOU CAN STORYBOARD YOUR NOVEL

As your novel progresses, you can see its visual representation, colourfully displaying all the twists, turns, and peaks and valleys of your story.

yWriter_storyboard
The early stage of a storyboard.

YOU CAN MONITOR YOUR PROGRESS

yWriter_word count target

The beauty of this feature is that, once you’ve set your deadline and total word count, it calculates the amount of words you’ll need to write daily, and the time remaining until your target date for completion. You’ll see the word count for each chapter and scene in the left-hand panel. At the bottom of your screen, you’ll also see the total word count for your novel at any given point, along with the amount of words you wrote each day.

YOU CAN IMPORT AND EXPORT YOUR WORK

 

yWriter_import and export

If you started your novel in Word, like I did, you can save it as an RTF (rich text format) file and import it into yWriter. When you’ve completed your novel, you can export it for either editing, or publishing purposes.

YOU CAN BACK UP YOUR NOVEL

Can you imagine losing a 100,000-word novel? I don’t even want to know what that would feel like. We don’t have to experience that agony, though. In Tools, you can select the option for yWriter to automatically back up your entire project daily.

YOU CAN PREPARE YOUR NOVEL SYNOPSIS

yWriter_synopsis

Ah yes, the dreaded synopsis. Your novel-writing would be incomplete without it, especially if you’re going the traditional publishing route. In yWriter, you have a few options from which to choose.

I’ve touched on only some of the features and ways in which yWriter can benefit you. Now that you know what it can do for your novel-writing, what’s your next step? Will you say “Bye-bye” to Word, and “Yes” to yWriter?

Believe me, it’ll be worth your while.

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