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.
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.
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.
YOU CAN GIVE LIFE TO YOUR SETTINGS
Don’t underestimate location. It’s a crucial element that’s just as vital as your characters.
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.
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
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
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.