Kate Winters's picture
Kate Winters from Toronto is reading James Rollins' Sigma Force series October 3, 2011 - 2:45pm

So a friend introduced me to Scrivener a while back, and after giving it a test drive I found that while there are things that could've been better, it makes my work flow much smoother than when I was using Word exclusively.

Do you use Scrivener? or do you prefer the simplicity of Word? or another writing software all together? Any tips/tricks? Share your experiences! :)

wickedvoodoo's picture
wickedvoodoo from Mansfield, England is reading stuff. October 3, 2011 - 2:50pm

Never had a problem with Word. Also because almost everyone has it, it is usually the best choice of filetype for workshopping and submissions to editors and so on.

HoboWriterDK's picture
HoboWriterDK from Upstate, New York is reading White Teeth, by Zadie Smith October 3, 2011 - 3:03pm

I've been using a program called Ommwriter lately. It's pretty cool because it strips away almost everything but the actual words so it's easier to just freewrite. It's not great for editing/formatting though, so I copy and paste all of my rough work into Word for polishing.

Joseph_Falcone's picture
Joseph_Falcone from Maple, Ontario, Canada. is reading The Elemantary Particles by Michel Houellebecq October 3, 2011 - 3:06pm

I was just going to ask a similar question. I use Pages for Macbook. Don't have many complaints. Its transferable to my Iphone 4 and Ipad 2. I can write anywhere. What is the best kind of creative writing software out there right now?

mgriffin's picture
mgriffin from Portland, Oregon, USA October 3, 2011 - 3:07pm

I'm a big fan of Scrivener. I use it for everything up to the final step of making sure my submission manuscript looks tidy, with nice headers and proper linespacing and everything, in Word.

As a compositional tool, Word is perfectly fine for just typing away, but not very helpful when it comes to rethinking the structure of your story, moving pieces around, quickly trying out different scene sequences, and so on.

Kate Winters's picture
Kate Winters from Toronto is reading James Rollins' Sigma Force series October 3, 2011 - 3:15pm

@mgriffin I'm doing the same thing right now. I like how Scrivener has the ability to store the little bits and pieces of one-liners and scenes, as well as character information.

@Joseph_Falcone There are a bunch, but Scrivener's the only one I've tried - a friend recommended/swore by it, so I was thinking "it can't hurt if it works well". I've seen people use an open source/free program call yWriter?

Mike Mckay's picture
Mike Mckay is reading God's Ashtray October 3, 2011 - 3:26pm

Microsoft word works great but the best has to be Google Docs. It is organized and so convenient whether you're at home, a friend's house, or even at school it is just awesome I love it. I can virtually work on my projects anywhere the only con is at certain times google will go AWOL and say there is a problem with your connection and cut you off while not saving your work but that has happened to me only three times so I wouldn't worry about it.

*Note: If you happen to be working else where but home make sure you remember to sign out of your email address after being finish.

Nav Persona's picture
Nav Persona from Purgatory is reading The Babayaga October 3, 2011 - 3:36pm

I use yWriter and Celtx... and love them both dearly.

Dr. Gonzo's picture
Dr. Gonzo from Manchester, UK is reading Blood Meridian October 3, 2011 - 3:44pm

I just use Word but I'm thinking about branching out.  I like the sound of Scrivener.  I might download the beta tomorrow.

I can be very stressy about change--like Rain Man but without the cream jacket.  I'm not a technophobe, but it's all too much for me.  Dramatic.  Even Word can upset me sometimes.  I'm delicate.

bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. October 3, 2011 - 4:16pm

I use google docs when I can, but openoffice when I need to do other things.  Anyone know if there's a track changes function in openoffice like in word?  I love track changes automatically crossing things out and putting insertions in different colors.  So handy.

Kate Winters's picture
Kate Winters from Toronto is reading James Rollins' Sigma Force series October 3, 2011 - 4:18pm

@133 yeah, Google Docs does work well for being away, but I take my laptop almost everywhere so... 

@Dr. Gonzo I find it not too different from word. The interface can be changed to page view, so it's basically a word document. the interface takes a bit to get used to, but once I figured out the main functions I need it's easier.

Dr. Gonzo's picture
Dr. Gonzo from Manchester, UK is reading Blood Meridian October 3, 2011 - 4:22pm

Thanks, Kate.  I'll give it a go.

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 3, 2011 - 4:25pm

im the decenting voice here who uses officeLibre/open office and sees no issue with it

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts October 3, 2011 - 4:25pm

Been using the Scrivener for Windows beta since it came out pretty much. It's useful, however I can't ever figure out how to properly format and all the exported documents get fucked up, so I copy & paste into word to pretty it up and save as a send-outable document.

fummeltunte's picture
fummeltunte from Seattle is reading The Left Hand of Darkness October 3, 2011 - 4:27pm

My two favs are OmmWriter and Scrivener. I use Ommwriter in conjuction with 750words.com, because it gives you a nice atmosphere to just churn writing out. I'm a really auditory person, and I rely on music and background noises to get me into a writing space. Ommwriter gives you a lot of control over that-- keystroke noises, background sounds, etc. They made a free version, so you can get a taste of the environment it gives you.

 

I started with the month trial of Scrivener during NaNoWriMo, and was so impressed, I shelled out the forty bucks for it.The most powerful thing about Scrivener, for me, are the different views you can take on your fiction. You can view a bulletin board with index cards that summarize each document. You can tag all your fiction with metadata, track various statistics, set word goals, add comments, and compile into various submission formats. 

 

Also, if you're a big outliner, check out MindNode. It's a very interesting way of mapping out ideas and research. Mindnodes tend to look like crazy million-legged sea-creatures when they're expanded. They also have free and pro versions. 

fummeltunte's picture
fummeltunte from Seattle is reading The Left Hand of Darkness October 3, 2011 - 4:30pm

I need to add this to my Scrivener rant:

The reason I haven't been using Word as much to compose things is because I feel like I'm writing in one direction-- top to bottom. Scrivener really encourages non-linear writing, so I can zoom out, view all the different sections of my writing, click into an area, and pick up where I left off. Shade some things in here and there. I'm not going in chronological order, which can be good if you're needing to check back in with earlier areas of your writing. 

.'s picture
. October 3, 2011 - 4:45pm

First my second hand electric type writer then Word.

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 3, 2011 - 4:46pm

@jack: psh! electric! i have a 1889 oliver

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books October 4, 2011 - 12:03am

I use Word. I love Apple, but Pages never really 'did it' for me.

For first drafts I usually stick with black ink and a stack of college rule, though, so I think I need quick, easy formatting more than anything else, because I am transcribing.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading A truckload of books October 4, 2011 - 12:04am

The reason I haven't been using Word as much to compose things is because I feel like I'm writing in one direction-- top to bottom. Scrivener really encourages non-linear writing, so I can zoom out, view all the different sections of my writing, click into an area, and pick up where I left off. Shade some things in here and there. I'm not going in chronological order, which can be good if you're needing to check back in with earlier areas of your writing.

 

See, this is interesting to me, because with this current project I have taken a sort of "puzzle piece" approach and it has worked really well for me. I may have to look into this...

moleskine's picture
moleskine from Virginia is reading The Booked. Anthology, edited by Pela Via October 4, 2011 - 12:12am

Hm, seems like I'm the sole Liquid Story Binder fan here. I compose in LSB because its features make it easy to maintain and organize separate files for chapters or scenes, and for some reason I like to keep my stories exploded into small parts during the first draft. Once I'm ready to compile the pieces, I move the text over to Word. Lots of work but I'm weird like that.

EricMBacon's picture
EricMBacon from Vermont is reading The Autobiography of a Corpse October 4, 2011 - 10:08am

While I enjoy Scrivener endlessly, this is how I get down to business:

I would like to introduce you to Virgil. There is nothing quite like the moment you find a rhythm on a typewriter, the clacking of the metal arms singing out to you. It takes me wherever it is that I find words.

Daniel Crenna's picture
Daniel Crenna from Canada is reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane October 4, 2011 - 10:18am

I use ohm writer (http://ohmwriter.com) -- nothing better for clearing digital distractions and gettings fingers to the keys. There's a free version, too.

Kate Winters's picture
Kate Winters from Toronto is reading James Rollins' Sigma Force series October 4, 2011 - 11:17am

@EM Oh my, that is a beauty!

Charles's picture
Charles from Portland is reading Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones October 4, 2011 - 11:26am

@EM: if virgil ever needs a new home, please email me. im a collector of vintage manual typewriters, and that looks like about a 1936 portable. one of my favorites.

Jack's picture
Jack from England is reading texts of rejection from pretty ladies October 4, 2011 - 11:27am

@EM: I'm guessing that makes you at eyeline level with Faulkner's name while writing, which must be pretty intimidating.

EricMBacon's picture
EricMBacon from Vermont is reading The Autobiography of a Corpse October 4, 2011 - 11:40am

@Charles: it is. Circa 1930s, not sure exact year. It is in great shape, and I never plan to get rid of it. Actually, I would only ever add to my collection. I am always looking and always with empty pockets, so...

@Jack: No intimidation, but always in good company.

Laramore Black's picture
Laramore Black from Joplin, Missouri is reading Mario Kart 8 October 4, 2011 - 11:41am

To Em Gray:

I would kill for the privilege of writing on that beautiful thing.

I tried to download this software for Word to make typewriter noises as I wrote, it was all wacky and left me completely unsatisfied. 

ExpletiveDeleted's picture
ExpletiveDeleted from Cambridge, MA is reading Maile Meloy October 4, 2011 - 11:50am

I use OpenOffice and Google Docs for most of my writing. For little snippets or quick ideas that I get, I just use Notepad.

fummeltunte's picture
fummeltunte from Seattle is reading The Left Hand of Darkness October 10, 2011 - 1:46am

Here's a pretty interesting article called "30 Truly Useful Mac Apps for Professional Writers."

There's quite a wide range of software listed there. 

.'s picture
. October 10, 2011 - 2:09am

@Chuck- Price, your priceless. 

I definitly need to hit a few antique shops to find a manual type writer. Though I would also settle for a Selectric if I had the money.

addiemon's picture
addiemon from California is reading The Way of Shadows October 12, 2011 - 6:16pm

When I really need to focus, I've found that nothing-- even my typewriter! --is better for me than Write or Die. Which I can actually make yell at me if I stop working. It really, really works.

For planning my NaNo work I've been experimenting with a new cloud-based program, Pangurpad. I like a lot of things about it, particularly the timeline feature, and the fact that I can take my netbook with me wherever and if the mood strikes, I can jot out more thoughts about it. (It ALMOST works on my cell phone as-is-- just can't get my keyboard to pop up.) I don't know if I'll use Pangur to actually write it, though; I have Write or Die desktop version and there's a web version as well.

Obviously for editing/formatting, etc. I eventually go into Word.

Renfield's picture
Renfield from Hell is reading 20th Century Ghosts October 12, 2011 - 6:24pm

I don't know software. Is there a way in Scrivener or the like where I can set up a first draft on the left side of the screen and a new draft on the right to write and compare line by line?

Alex Kane's picture
Alex Kane from west-central Illinois is reading Dark Orbit October 12, 2011 - 7:21pm

I use OpenOffice. It's okay. Served me well so far, I suppose.

Bekanator's picture
Bekanator from Kamloops, British Columbia is reading Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter October 12, 2011 - 9:17pm

Open Office.  I once tried an open source freewriting program but I didn't really get much out of it because I just can't sit and write without some kind of inspiration from the day.  Scrivener actually seems really cool but I don't think I'd really get into it; I kind of like doing all my organization in my head.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs October 13, 2011 - 12:04am

I use Microsoft Word, but I'm really looking forward to using Scrivener for Windows once they fix all the bugs and the official version comes out or whatnot. I tried the beta version and it seemed like it would have been awesome had it actually worked properly.

PROleary's picture
PROleary from central NJ is reading anything and everything October 13, 2011 - 8:49am

I actually like writing in basic no frills, no formatting software. I'll sometimes just write in Notepad and paste into word when complete. It keeps me from being distracted by fancy features.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs October 13, 2011 - 2:23pm

The annoying part of writing in Word is that I mostly write novellas and I often have to refer to something I wrote earlier and it's inconvenient to spend a lot of time scrolling up to get to it. While when I get Scrivener for Windows (when the bugs are worked out), I won't have to deal with this annoyance. As far as writing shorter things, Microsoft Word is a first-rate word processor. I guess the only problem that I can think of is their grammar check feature rsince it often says something is incorrect when it is perfectly fine for fiction (although perhaps not an academic essay) while it misses a ton of other grammatical errors.

PROleary's picture
PROleary from central NJ is reading anything and everything October 13, 2011 - 8:20pm

Do any of these programs offer a database where you can catalog your work and keep track of submissions and things like that? I made something simple in Access but I would like to see what else is out there. I can't seem to find anything good.

pathetique's picture
pathetique from Seattle is reading Dead Stars October 13, 2011 - 8:52pm

Word or WordPad, usually. I usually work in super short-form so it hasn't really occured to me to use tools like this, but now I kind of want to poke around.

misskokamon's picture
misskokamon from San Francisco is reading The Moonlit Mind October 17, 2011 - 8:43pm

I use Scrivener. The program offers you so much, but it isn't overwhelming! I've tried other programs, but the stark whiteness of those Just Write apps intimidates me, and Word always felt a little informal. When I downloaded the free trial of Scrivener, I was sure I wouldn't like it. I don't like wasting time learning new programs and I was about to purchase Word. But within ten minutes I had my project set up and my first scene  in progress. Over the month I fell in love with the program and ended up buying it just two weeks into the trial. I'll be buying a Windows license as well, once they finalize the Windows port of the program.

I can have old versions of my book open so I could reference sections while writing, and I don't need to click between windows. I have all my notes for my project at my fingertips, so I don't need to have multiple documents open and I don't need to carry around my notebooks anymore. Scrivener has turned my little Macbook Air into a fierce writing machine and has made it all too easy for me to sneak in a few pages while in the office, as well! I wish there was a mobile version, I love the program so much.

 

lynx_child's picture
lynx_child from Seattle is reading The Dresden Files series October 17, 2011 - 10:18pm

Scrivener sounds fantastic, but it has crashed on me so many times.

TwistedPaper's picture
TwistedPaper from Poland is reading "The Book of the New Sun" by Gene Wolfe & "Seven Wonders" by Adam Christopher October 18, 2011 - 2:40am

I'm using Word but I found Google Docs also very useful 

Typewriter Demigod's picture
Typewriter Demigod from London is reading "White Noise" by DeLilo, "Moby-Dick" by Hermann Mellivile and "Uylsses" by Joyce October 18, 2011 - 3:10am

open office and text editor. Simple. Beautiful. Bug-free.

simon morris's picture
simon morris from Originally, Philadelphia, PA; presently Miami Beach, FL is reading This Body of Death, by Elizabeth George October 18, 2011 - 4:01am

Here is the kicker for me: Because I used MS Word, I was ready when my editor sent revisions in word which has a great section for comments and revisions. That is the industry's preferred method for revisions which may be a 6 month process involving a line editor, a book editor and the writer with the ms going back and forth dozens of times. Because you can pass it back and forth instantly, you can make editorial decisions that used to take weeks in an hour. All I know is that at the end of the process I had a bulletproof final draft so that when I signed off, I knew that what went to press was the best it was ever going to get.

Bradley Sands's picture
Bradley Sands from Boston is reading Greil Marcus's The History of Rock 'N' Roll in Ten Songs October 18, 2011 - 12:05pm

"Do any of these programs offer a database where you can catalog your work and keep track of submissions and things like that? I made something simple in Access but I would like to see what else is out there. I can't seem to find anything good."

 

No idea, but it's easy enough to keep track of in either a Microsoft Word file or Excel. As well as the website, Duotrope.

As far as using MS Word to edit the work of others, I have done a lot of this in the past and dislike the "comment" and "track changes" features (particularly when other people use them to edit my work.) So instead of that when I edit the writing of others, I always use red text for my edits. And if I delete a word, in addition to changing it to red, I cross it out (or use the strikethrough format). And I put all of my comments between parentheses. And then I tell the writer who I'm working with to delete all the crossed out words that he agrees with, change all the text that I have added to the default black color if they agree with my changes, and write their own comments in a different colored text besides red and put it between parentheses. Then we send the document back and forth until the edit is done. I find this technique works a lot better than MS Word's editing features, which I find extremely annoying.

Boone Spaulding's picture
Boone Spaulding from Coldwater, Michigan, U.S.A. is reading Solarcide Presents: Nova Parade May 30, 2012 - 7:19pm

I'm finding that a beat-up 1960s-era Olympia manual typewriter (green chassis encased in streamlined green metal casing) is working quite well for me. No distractions. No spell-checking. Lots of typos - but, typos don't matter that much, after all...

Besides the familiar clackety-clack of the metal keys, I find the "ding" at the end of lines and the ratcheting of the carrier return brings a strange sense of primordial memories of what the sound of writing used to be...

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated May 30, 2012 - 7:58pm

You fancy kids with your type writer. I kick it old school, pencil and paper. No joke, it's the only way I get anything done.

Boone Spaulding's picture
Boone Spaulding from Coldwater, Michigan, U.S.A. is reading Solarcide Presents: Nova Parade May 30, 2012 - 8:47pm

Too lazy...& keyboards help - all the letters are there and I don't have to sing "The Alphabet Song"...

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated May 31, 2012 - 3:51am

Glad they help somebody.

misskokamon's picture
misskokamon from San Francisco is reading The Moonlit Mind June 3, 2012 - 12:06pm

Scrivener on Windows 7 crashes on me all the time. It also eats my work, so I have to be careful if I plan to use it. Fortunately, I have to Macs in the house -- one for my professional work, and one for writing purposes. I've talked about my Macbook air here before. I really think it's the best little writing device I've ever owned. (The other mac, a Macbook Pro, I acquired when my company went under. That thing is worth $2500, but I bought it from the liquidators for only $500. I'm so lucky!) 

I don't like Windows Scrivener much because of all the major errors, but on a Mac, it's the best there is.

As for a typewriter, I had one when I was in grade school. I bought it from a yard sale, and used it to write short stories for myself. But I ran out of ink eventually, and there wasn't a place nearby to purchase the ribbons. I wonder what happened to that typewriter?