I've just read the "Software for Writers" article in the latest Writer's Digest. Since I'm apprehensive about so many characters in my latest mystery project, I'm wondering if software would help me. Some of the software is free while others are quite costly. I'd be interested in hearing from those of you who have used software and if it's user-friendly and beneficial.

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Hi Susan,
I have wondered the same thing myself. I just heard of a program called "Quick Story" and it is designed to keep track of basic time-line, characters,and plot. I am assuming it is a basic spread sheet, but if it is made into a "user-friendly" format, like you say, it sounds great.
I have asked around, and yet to find anyone who has heard of this program.
Quick Story is not listed in the article. YWriter4 is free at spacejock.com, but I'd like to talk to someone who uses it before I step into it or any other software. It is listed for story structure but makes no mention of character development. Thanks for responding. Maybe someone out there will be able to shed some light for both of us.
Quickstory 5 can be found here: http://www.storyscribe.com/quick-story-software.php I've used a number of these layout programs and though they are useful, for me, they don't do anything that a piece of paper or a secondary word document wouldn't do. I have used them and enjoyed using them but they sometimes take over from what I am actually working on. Or, on the other side, I forget they are there and just keep writing. One program I have found useful, however, is celtx. This is actually a scriptwriting program but it has a whole series of character and plot development tabs that you can create to keep track of characters. i like the layout enough to use it for fiction writing as well as scripts.
www.celtx.com I just took a look at ywriter4 and it looks essentially like any of these programs. If it is useful for you to have a daily word count, and a full list of everything in your book, then it would work just fine.
Jeff, thanks for the tip about Quickstory5. The article does list Celtx primarily for script writers. It's free too! Darlene and I might want to check that one out. I've already written about forty "loose" pages. Is it easy to move this document so that the software can help with its problems or do people usually start from scratch?
I don`t actually write in celtx or, for that matter, any of these writing software programs. I use them to organize things and keep them open on the computer but not to write in. But, again, that`s just me.
on the other hand, with the `do people start from scratch`question, I think it is sometimes useful to, in the middle of a book, go back and create the characters and such in one of these programs so you can maybe figure out some of the things you might have missed.
Sounds like a plan.
Final Draft has changed my life. When writing in novel/manuscript format, I always use the index cards from Final Draft to keep my plot points straight. It is the best! It can assist with your outline, treatment, query letter & basic industry standards. It is also great for collaboration with another writer. Utilizing the screenplay or script format is just plain fun; carefree formatting & it offers great mechanical voices to read back your lines to you. I could go on, but then you would all think I work for them. I don't, it works for me! Really worth the 300 bucks or so.
Ange, thanks so much for the response. I'll add that to my list. I'm trying to get a wide variety of opinions before I jump in. Did you compare Final Draft to Celtx which is a free download? I'm wondering how much difference there is since they're both formatting software. Jeff, any comments on that?
celtx is a lot like final draft. I used final draft for years but since I found celtx I have switched over completely. It too has notes and timelines built in as well as character development sheets, &c.
Final draft, though, is excellent as well. But celtx is free and final draft is not.
Well, if you're lucky enough to be an Apple Mac user, far and away the best (and least expensive) software for writing is Scrivener. I think it was featured in the New York Times. Great for outlining, keeping your research, and a clutter-free writing screen that just hides everything except what you're typing. It's even got a virtual cork board for note cards!

John, I don't use a Mac but I'm sure this information will be interesting to Mac users. Jeff, if the two are that similar and celtx is free, I'll certainly lean towards the freebie.


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