yWriter5 by Spacejock Software
WinXP or later, Mono 2.4 or later
What is yWriter?
First, and most important, yWriter is FREE to download and use! No registration, no time limits, no expiry.
Second, and still rather important, it's a word processor which breaks your novel into chapters and scenes. It will not write your novel for you, suggest plot ideas or perform creative tasks of any kind. It does help you keep track of your work, leaving your mind free to create.
(Although yWriter was designed for novels, enterprising users have created their own translation files to customise the program to work with plays, non-fiction and even sermons. The sermon translation is included under the Languages menu as 'Sermon5'.)
Who designed it?
I'm Simon Haynes, the designer and programmer. I have twenty years programming experience and I'm also the author of the Hal Spacejock series which is published by Fremantle Press and distributed by Penguin Australia
Because I'm an experienced programmer AND a published author, yWriter contains a bunch of tools a working novelist will find useful, and nothing some marketing expert came up with to promote additional sales.
What's so special about yWriter?
I really struggled with my first novel because I wrote slabs of text into a big word processor file and I just couldn't make sense of the whole thing at once. No real overview, no easy jumping from scene to scene, nothing.
Next I tried saving each chapter to an individual file, with descriptive filenames, but moving scenes between files was a nuisance and I still couldn't get an overview of the whole thing (or easily search for one word amongst 32 files)
My last attempt to use Word involved saving every scene as an individual file - e.g. Chapter 01 Scene 01 - Hal Spacejock Gets a Job.doc. That was fantastic until I decided to move one scene three chapters ahead, and had to manually rename all the files. Then I decided to put it back again! I could never remember which of the 200+ files contained a note I was looking for either.
As a programmer I'm used to dealing with projects broken into source files and modules, and I never lose track of my code. I decided to apply the same working method to my novels ... and yWriter was the result.
Why does yWriter focus on scenes instead of chapters?
A scene is a pleasant chunk to work on - small and well-defined, you can slot them into your novel, dragging and dropping them from one chapter to another as you interleave strands from different viewpoint characters and work out the overall flow of your book. You can also mark a scene as 'unused' if you've written yourself into a dead end, which will keep it out of the word count and exports without deleting the content.
Of course, you can't just write a bunch of unrelated scenes. You need an overall design goal ... your plot. yWriter will generate a number of different reports from your scene and chapter summaries, from a brief scene list to a comprehensive synopsis. If you update the 'readiness' setting for each scene it will even generate a work schedule showing what you have to do to meet your deadline for the outline, first draft, first edit and second edit.
yWriter also allows you to add scenes with no content - just type a brief description and you can pretend you've written it. This is great for the parts you're not ready to write yet, or for when you get blocked. Skip over that part and come back later! Unfinished scenes, rough ideas ... it's so much harder to keep track of them when they're all pasted into one long word processing document.
yWriter may look simple, but as the author of several novels written with this tool I can guarantee it has everything needed to get a first draft together. Without yWriter, I would never have become a published author.
Best of all, yWriter is free.
Organise your novel using a 'project'.
Add chapters to the project.
Add scenes, characters, items and locations.
Display the word count for every file in the project, along with a total.
Saves a log file every day, showing words per file and the total. (Tracks your progress)
Saves automatic backups at user-specified intervals.
Allows multiple scenes within chapters
Viewpoint character, goal, conflict and outcome fields for each scene.
Multiple characters per scene.
Storyboard view, a visual layout of your work.
Re-order scenes within chapters.
Drag and drop of chapters, scenes, characters, items and locations.
Automatic chapter renumbering.
Users of earlier versions: You can install later versions (e.g. yWriter 4 and 5) at the same time as versions 2 and/or 3, and each version of yWriter has an importer which will read in any earlier yWriter project, right back to yWriter 2. The only thing you can't do is re-export your project back into older versions.
Every major version of yWriter uses different installation folders and start menu entries, and they won't interfere with each other.
yWriter 5 follows proper Windows guidelines and installs the program to (program files)\yWriter5, the log, dictionary and ini files end up in (docs & settings)\username\Application Data\Spacejock Software\yWriter5\, and saving a new project defaults to a sub-folder in your documents folder. So, if a second user runs yWriter 5 on the same PC they get their own settings, log file, dictionary, etc.
Why is this software free?
Looks Great! And He's offering several other Free Software Apps. Just for Windows though... I may try them out when I get my Windows Machine back up and running again...
1) Download the installation file from the list below.
2) Find the downloaded file on your computer and run it.
3) During installation, accept the defaults. (You might like to tick 'Create desktop icon')
4) Programs will appear under 'Spacejock Software' in your Start Menu
If the file doesn't download properly or gives a 'corrupt file' error message when you try to run it, return to the program's home page and download it again.
To run these programs from a memory stick see the instructions at the foot of this page
|A note about trojans: If your anti-virus, anti-spyware or anti-whatever has a fit when you try to install or run one of my programs, please don't assume the worst. Just contact me with the name of the anti-virus software so I can clear it up with the manufacturer.|
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You can run my programs from a memory stick. See How to run your applications from a thumb drive for more info