Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Kitted Out - Author Tools That Rock: yWriter5

Here's another tool that all you Indie authors will fall in love with:  yWriter5!  It's awesome, it's free, and it's completely intuitive.

You can use yWriter5 to write your novel, which is pretty cool.  But it is not traditional word-processing software.  Instead of one loooooooooong document that spans the length of the page, yWriter5 gives you a dashboard where your novel is broken into chapters.  Within each chapter you can have as many (or as few) scenes as you like.  That's just the very beginning.

There are plenty of places to keep scene notes and overall project notes, which will definitely help when you're revising.  Each scene can be rated for relevance, tension, humor, and quality.  You can track your time line so you know exactly how much time has passed within your story.  Add goals, reference pictures, and so on.  There are tabs and windows for everything.  Simon Haynes, the creator of yWriter, is an author.  He designed this software to be an author's best friend.

I pretty much love everything about yWriter5.  I have used it personally for about seven years, and I don't imagine I'm going to switch to anything else.  The "items", "characters", and "locations" tabs are absolutely indispensable, especially if you are writing something epic.  My first project in yWriter was a fantasy novel with an endless slew of character races, objects that were unique to the world, and made-up indigenous flora and fauna, among other things.  I could have filled a notebook with all this stuff, but I would never have been able to find what I was looking for.  Instead, yWriter5 handles all this neatly.  Not only that, but when it comes time to write the sequel, yWriter5 will import all those notations into your next project so you are ready to go.

I also love that yWriter5 keeps track of your daily word count, and provides chapter and scene word counts in addition to the overall numbers.  Probably the best thing, though, is that yWriter5 automatically backs up your project on a regular basis.  No more *poof*, *scream*, *mental breakdown*.  It also generates log files, so if you need to revert to an earlier version of your work, you can.  Incredibly author-friendly.

Just head on over to Spacejock Software, where Simon Haynes offers yWriter5 (and some other cool goodies) for free!  It is a simple download.  Open it up, create a project, and start writing.  And there's no need to worry about added junk.  Simon Haynes, on his site, promises, "All my software is virus-free. No unwanted toolbars, trojans or other nasties."  Why does Simon build this awesome software and just give it away???  I don't know.  He must be awesome!!!  (You can make a donation, or buy his books, or spread the word about his cool stuff if you just can't contain yourself and you want to say thanks.)

If you can use word processing software, you can use yWriter5.  Once you've downloaded it, simply go to Project>New Project Wizard, and follow the prompts to set up your project.  Once you have the empty project, everything is based off of creating chapters and scenes.  So, go to Chapter> Create New Chapter.  Then go to Scene> Create New Scene.  Everything you write will be within a scene, so you have to have a scene to write.  However, if you only want to have one scene within a chapter, that is just fine.

As for the rest of it, you can explore the tabs and see what you find.  Most of it is self-explanatory.  If you're having trouble, try Rowena Tayler-Henry's Quickstart Guide to yWriter5, or go to the yWriter5 wiki, or check out this yWriter5 video tutorial.

Alright, so what are you waiting for?  Get writing!

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