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writing tools


Software review: Write! (Part 1 of a few)

This week I got email from a gentleman telling me he’s a community manager for a piece of software called Write!, which he talked up to me as a distraction-free text editor. He said he was looking for writers and/or bloggers to review the program or at least mention it on their websites, and offered a free license to try the program out.

Now, as y’all know I’m a big fan of Scrivener, which will continue to be my go-to tool for dealing with larger projects. On the other hand, if I want to write something short (say, the extremely rare short story), I sometimes feel that Scrivener’s actually a bit too complex a tool for that. Sometimes I just want to whip something out in a text editor and not have to worry about a lot of bells and whistles.

And hey, since the guy was offering a free license, I took him up on the offer. So here’s a post reviewing Write!, possibly the first of a few, just because I’m going to do this right and go over it in depth just to see what I’m dealing with here.

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Now joining Team Scrivener: Me!

I’ve been super stalled on my writing a lot these last few months–perhaps a combination of mental weariness (albeit a good weariness, the kind you get from having a technically challenging job) from my day job, and a bit of needing to rest up from getting the Rebels of Adalonia trilogy finished off. But this has been going on long enough that I’ve finally decided I need to do something about that. And what I decided to do about it is investigate a potential new way to shoot new life into my writing’s workflow.

A lot of authors I know swear by Scrivener, a program intended to help you better organize your writing. You can write stuff in it and do basic word processing, but that’s less of the point. The program’s a lot more oriented towards letting you organize not only your drafts of your writing, but also accompanying notes and research materials.

I pulled down the trial version on Friday night and spent some time this weekend going through the entire tutorial that comes with it. Which, I gotta say, was splendidly written and gives a great overview of the program and its capabilities. Speaking as someone whose day job is indeed technically challenging, I very much appreciate a well-written tutorial.

After I did that, I started actually trying to do some work in the program. I built a new project from scratch, pulling in the already-written words for the still-unnamed Warder universe story about psychic Elizabeth trying to help Ross discover who murdered his Warder sister.

I’ve gone ahead and paid for the program to activate it, and will be using it as my primary means of writing a draft, moving forward. Still to practice: using it to export into useful formats, like HTML for building ebooks, and PDF for saving archive copies of drafts, and Word docs for anything I need to send to an editor.

What I really, really like about the program so far:

  • The aforementioned tutorial. If you’re at all interested in checking out this program, I highly recommend doing the tutorial, just to get a broad overview of its capabilities.
  • It’s super-helpful having the notes I’d written for the story immediately accessible in the sidebar, along with the individual scenes for the story itself.
  • The dialog box for showing your project target word counts is very helpful and motivating, if you’re trying to hit a daily word count. Progress bar for the win!

I hear rumors there’s an iPad build on the way, and I daresay I’ll be buying that–because having access to Scrivener projects via Dropbox on my iPad would ALSO be super-helpful.

But in the meantime, if you’re not already a Scrivener user and you think you might want to check it out, it lives over here. If you ARE a Scrivener user, what things do you like about it? Let me know in the comments!