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Thread: Writing Software

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    Publishing Mentor dsieg58 is a Premium Member
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    Writing Software

    There's nothing wrong with using MS Word to write a manuscript. For business writers, you can't go wrong. For fiction, and non-fiction writers however, it leaves a lot to be desired.

    • No way to see the "30,000 foot view" of your manuscript. (Outline view doesn't cut it)
    • No way to EASILY cut your book into chapters, paginate it, and have it all come exactly as you intended. (Possible, but not easy.)
    • Formatting is easy on the page, but then comes out wonky when you compile it any other format. (.pdf, for example)
    • MS Word does NOT like big files. (Over 25 mgb) Easy to do if you have a lot of pictures in TIFF (Print) format. So you have to cut it up into sections, which leads back to problem number 2.
    • No way to lay out a manuscript in sections and fit it together once you've completed it.
    • It was not created for professional writers in mind. (Business writers yes, creative writers, no.)

    There is, of course, lots of software for professional writers. However, none of them seem to do everything well. So you end up having to buy more than one piece of software to get the entire job done. Or maybe I'm just picky.

    If you want a review of the various one's available you can try here: http://creative-writing-software-rev...enreviews.com/
    From someone who has reviewed a whole lot more of them than I have, go here: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/writing-software/

    Writing software runs the gamut from excellent, to crap. From dirt cheap, to stunningly expensive. Since I'm not trying to promote anyone's software, I'm just going to talk about what I use personally.

    If you want the best there is, or want to write on a professional platform, Adobe InDesign is the way to go.http://www.adobe.com/products/indesi...?promoid=KAUCC
    This is the software all the big boys use, it simply doesn't get any better. It also has a price tag to match.

    I do know of one way to get around the price tag ethically. Where they nail you on the price is getting the original copy. (I think it is $800) What you do is go to one of the software wholesalers, like here: http://buycheapsoftware.biz/ (or Amazon, or Ebay) and buy the oldest version they have. Get the "OEM" version. You can usually get it dirt cheap. Install it, then go buy the official upgrade or the latest version from Adobe. You can usually save $500 or more.

    Cheating? Possibly. But it's not "Pirated" software, it is OEM. (There's a difference) But if you want to pay full retail, it's certainly OK with me and Adobe.

    While Indesign is built for mainly for publishers and magazines, not specifically for writers, it isn't perfect for "our" type of writing. It is however perfect for formatting different elements, putting things exactly where you want them and locking them down, and putting your manuscript together exactly the way you want it, then compiling it the way others want to see it given to them. (Createspace, publishers, etc.) It's also perfect for compiling in different formats. (ePub, .pdf, .mobi, iPad, etc.) I'm a perfectionist and I'm anal about this stuff. (I admit it.)

    Other (writers) software has other options that come in handy. For example...
    • Character creation and traits (To keep it all straight)
    • Locations (Same)
    • Reference pages you can store in the research phase and pull up easily, inside the software when you need them.
    • Different details you need to keep track of, and only need at a certain time.
    • A place to store photos, text, video, or just about anything you find in the research phase.
    • Notes you can write to yourself at different times and have them show up when and where needed and necessary. Not cluttering up your workspace when you don't need them.
    • The ability to arrange, and rearrange, chapters and elements so that you can see everything as a whole, and where everything fits together or not. (30,000 foot view)

    For any kind of writing: Scrivener http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php gets you to the fabled 30,000 foot view storyland. (Free trial $40)
    Another thing I like about it, is you don't have to write in a linear (Chapter 1, 2, 3...) fashion. You can jump all over the place as the mood hits you, and put it together later. (Which is how I write)

    For fiction writers: New Novelist works pretty good: http://www.newnovelist.com/ (Free trial $47)
    What I like about it is that it has a plot wizard, where you choose your plot, answer some questions, and it plots the story out for you. Very handy. You don't have to pay attention where everything needs to go, just stick the plot elements where they belong, and you're good to go. It saves time.
    What I don't like about it, is that you can't arrange your chapters on a story board ahead of time, and get the overall 30,000 foot view. You also can't edit the chapter on the fly in preview mode. You also have to write in a linear fashion.

    For Grammar checking and proof reading: http://www.gingersoftware.com/ (Free) Not much to say about this one except it's free and it works great. I've paid a whole lot more, and gotten a whole lot less with other grammar checking software. This one, is the best there is. Way better than MS Word, or other built in systems. I'm surprised they aren't charging big bucks for it, truthfully.

    Creative Mind-mapping software
    : http://www.xmind.net/download/win/ (Free) and it works great. Back to the 30,000 foot view again. This is the way to see the whole thing perfectly.

    For all things Kindle: http://www.kdsuite.com/ ($97) It's the best I've found so far.

    Most of these are also available in Mac as well. But since I'm a Windows guy, I don't know anything about it.

    Does anyone have any others they would like to add, or review?

    I hope this helps,
    Last edited by dsieg58; 20 June 2013 at 8:00 pm.

  2. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to dsieg58 For This Useful Post:

    Chabrenas (21 June 2013), Clinton (21 June 2013), Dave McM (20 June 2013), JimWaller (5 July 2013), Kay (20 June 2013), tke71709 (21 June 2013)

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