Bizarrely Productive Monday and More Writing Software Reviews

I’ve been freakishly productive today.   That’s so weird.  I mean, it’s Monday.  Monday usually means I’m exhausted from the weekend, locked into staff meetings all morning, and playing a perpetual game of catch up.  But by 10 o’clock, I’d already dealt with all my classes, graded all discussion boards, fielded all emails and questions about quizzes and lectures, audited the attendance for the classes that require it, been to staff meeting, did my morning hooping, got back to the calorie counting wagon, and caught up on all my OTHER email.  I’ve also input the edits on a paper I was working on Friday, done a round on the ministepper with weights (which I’ve been a bad girl and neglected the last 3 weeks), AND played around with the demos for both WriteWayPro and Writer’s Cafe–neither of which look as alarmingly complicated as Liquid Story Binder.  And over my lunch break I got the laundry and clean dishes put away, the house generally picked up, 3 chapters of Covet read, and pulled out the components for supper to thaw (some kind of chicken in a raspberry balsamic reduction, I think).

I have no idea what’s gotten into me, but I hope it continues!  I like it when I get stuff done.

Returning to the writing software I’ve been playing with, I’ve been very much the cheerleader for yWriter this last year.  For a free software, it’s fabulous for helping to organize your plot, particularly if you are of the plotting persuasion (although you can certainly use it as a pantser).  It’s got plenty of tabs where I can tailor the information and paste in my own little scene worksheets, which I love.

I’ve looked at Liquid Story Binder, which has a 100 page instruction manual that goes along with it.  I am a computer person, and normally I don’t balk at learning new software packages, but I’ll be honest, LSB intimidates the hell out of me.  It’s this huge sprawling, very cool looking program with amazing capabilities.  But it also has a pretty steep learning curve.  Unlike yWriter or StoryBook, it’s not a program I can just jump right in and use.  I downloaded the trial, spent a couple of days trying to play with it.  I haven’t opened it since.

Well this morning, Larissa Ione was talking on Twitter about Write Way Pro, which is what she used before she moved over to a Mac and Scrivner.  Having never heard of it, I had to go download the demo and check it out.  I had reservations.  I mean, this software is $59, and we all know I am cheap and still operating on grad student’s budget while paying off assorted things like cars, house, and student loans.  But then I opened it up.

My immediate impression is that it’s set up very much like yWriter (and ergo made a lot of sense to me on an intuitive level)–except…more. Whereas yWriter has places I can paste in my own worksheet for scenes or characters or whatever, WWP allows me to create and automatically load my own personalized templates.  It has the same drag and drop functionality with scenes and chapters, and several additional tabs for each one.  Whereas yWriter has Content, Description, Characters, Locations, Items, Scene Notes, and Goals, WWP has tabs for Plot, Scene Sketch, Character, Conflict, Setting, Dialogue, Romance, Subplot, and Revision.  With detailed templates for each.  You can put as much or as little info as you like.  There are, of course, reports, and word count projections if you’re into that kind of thing.  And it has its own word processor, which you can view on the same page as your tabbed notes (which I like).  Sure, in yWriter you can flip tabs and see whatever you need to see, but it’s just a nice bit of functionality.  There’s also a section for your research, which allows you to type notes, cut stuff from webpages, insert pictures and the like.  There’s a storyboard function, which is something I loved from StoryBook that is sorely missing from yWriter.  You can arrange that based on 9 different types of cards (the info on the tabs I mentioned earlier).  The word processor itself seems to be a bit better than the one in yWriter.  YWriter is very bare bones as a word processor, which is intended to help you ignore the bells and whistles and get the words down, but upon export into RTF form to work with in Word, it has some kinks.  I can’t speak to how the RTF export function works with WriteWay, but it does have that capability.  It also allows you to create galleys for editing, which I find very cool.  You can, of course export into any of the available formats with any of the assorted notes shown before the scene–GREAT for revisions and editing.

I’ll admit it.  I’m being seduced.  It’s everything I love about yWriter and then some.

I played around with Writer’s Cafe, which also has some interesting features, but it just didn’t grab me like WWP did.  I’d have to work to figure out how to use it, where I won’t with WWP.  And Larissa said their customer service is excellent.

I’m going to give it until tomorrow to see if I’m still crazy about it (trying to avoid the total impulse purchase–it’s one of the first rules of living on a budget), but I’m leaning very heavily toward taking the plunge and buying the software.

3 thoughts on “Bizarrely Productive Monday and More Writing Software Reviews

  1. Woo – congrats on your Monday efforts. I fainted with a blend of exhaustion and envy, about 3/4 way through the first para. Nice one!

    I liked yWriter, too, but have recently deserted PCs to return to my first love, the Mac. Have just got Scrivener and am still getting used to it, but it seems pretty intuitive. Just a shame that I can’t open Apple’s own iWork files from Scrivener – whose idiot idea was that?? Sigh. 😉

  2. Hey! So I actually got a little writing done over the weekend between dates with my pillow. Maybe I should title this reply “Bizarrely Productive Sick Days”? 🙂 Anyway, here they are:
    17th – 567
    18th – 302
    19th – 750
    Hope everyone else is having good writing days, too!

  3. I tried out WriteWay Pro, and while it’s not for me (I’m a dedicated yWriter user), I found something cool I thought I’d pass along: the author of WWP has a discount running. Check out his Twitter, where he gives a coupon code that’s good during NaNoWriMo. 🙂

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