Writing Tools – Software

I have only been full time writing for a year, and being the geek that I am, I used to try many writing softwares. But softwares comes and goes… and in the end I kept coming back to these three tools (for Windows, as I only own a PC). So I thought I’d mention it:

Microsoft Word

Some people hate it, some people swear by it. Me? I don’t say it’s perfect, but I like it. You have to learn to use it properly, with the document map, headings, and style. Stick to it, and it is a powerful tool. I especially love the grammar check. it’s a good first point of checking IMHO. One possible flaw is that sometimes it couldn’t handle long documents nicely (novels and especially table/graph laden documents like thesis/dissertation). And that’s why the next tool come in handy.

Chapter by chapter (http://pagesperso-orange.fr/sebastien.berthet/cbc/index.html)

It’s a freeware tool for Microsoft Word, and it only work on Windows. It works like a document map, but instead of working in a huge file, it creates a new file for each chapter. You could see the word count of each chapter and the total word count for the novel. You could flag a finished chapter, enter some notes, and create a compiled document where all the separate chapter is merged into a single file -> THE NOVEL ;).

Celtx (http://celtx.com/)

It’s an open source tool for Windows and Mac, originally designed for media pre-production. The first time I used it is for a scriptwriting – Script Frenzy challenge three years ago. Now I use it to keep track of my characters, plots, and outline. I still wish they would enhance it for novel writing with separate chapters, then it would be my perfect tool. One can only hope ;).

That’s all the software I need for cranking up that novel :).

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  1. Jay Tee January 17, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    When you get to the editing stage, you should check out the AutoCrit Editing Wizard. It’s my favorite writing software πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing. I’m going to check out Chapter by Chapter. It sounds like just what I need.

    1. astrid January 18, 2010 at 6:59 am

      Hi Jay,
      You’re welcome! Hope you find it useful too :). I’ll check out AutoCrit later ;).

  2. Amle January 17, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    is a Mac girl, but I love Celtx as a pre-production tool. Thanks to you for showing it to me! πŸ˜€

    1. astrid January 18, 2010 at 7:00 am

      You’re welcome, Amle :). Glad I could be of help :D.

  3. Rebecca Laffar-Smith February 3, 2010 at 5:19 am

    One of the things I love about Microsoft Word is the “Track Changes” feature. Some of the clients I do editing for prefer I use “Track Changes” and it is a lovely tool, a fantastic way to allow editing to be a truly collaborative process. While some clients expect me to just go ahead and “fix” things it is good to be able to work with the client and to feel like I’m helping them grow with comments in the margins and being able to share the WHY I changed things not just the changes themselves.

    A product I use for my novel length writing is called Storylines from Writer’s Cafe. It’s a great way to plan out your novel and organize it in scenes. The layout and design makes it easy to move scenes around if needed, to take notes by scene, to have detailed character profiles and location notes, and it brings your manuscript together for printing in novel or screenplay format.

    What I love most about Storylines is it’s an electronic version of my story board. Scenes are organized on index card style notes and you can juggle them around on the story board while you’re writing or planning novel-length work. Outside of these there are also sections where you can store detailed character profiles and notes about the various locations used in the novel. It also helps that Storylines doesn’t require Microsoft Word because it meant that when I got my new laptop I could continue writing despite this new computer not having Microsoft Office Suite.

    Now I need to download the software you recommended and compare it to what I’ve known and loved in the past.

    1. astrid February 5, 2010 at 7:25 am

      Rebecca, thank you for mentioning Storyline. I was wondering if there’s something like that for PC. I’ve heard of Scrivener for Mac but I couldn’t find any recommendation of such software for PC. I will try that out too!


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