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Forum nameMain Community Discussion Board
Topic subjectWriting Programs for the PC
Topic URLhttp://www.fmwriters.com/community/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=17&topic_id=91512
91512, Writing Programs for the PC
Posted by Seleane_Gray, Sat Sep-08-12 01:47 PM
I'm just wonder what writing programs are out there for a little money or free. I have a PC and I need to save money where I can because of some big bills coming up. I want Scrivener but right now I'm not sure if I should just cave and get it and be happy. Any advice or help would be great.

A few things I'm looking for is:
- Simple setup. I can learn programs pretty quick but if it has too much to it then my Muse and I freak.
- I don't want to have to use too many different programs. I like to have things in one spot but if I have to use 2 or 3 then fine.
- Possible full screen mode.
- Nothing TOO expensive. My limit is $50.

I may just get Scrivener but I wanted to know what else was out there before I committed.
91513, RE: Writing Programs for the PC
Posted by Erin_M_H, Fri Sep-07-12 07:00 PM
YWriter -- It's free. Created by a writer for writers. http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter5.html

-- Erin
91515, RE: Writing Programs for the PC
Posted by Wandering Author, Fri Sep-07-12 11:27 PM
I've tried just about every writing program out there for the PC. Some are junk, some are pretty good - but I have four that I use in my writing, depending on the project, my mood, etc.

Liquid Story Binder XE - confusing to some users, has a bit of a steep learning curve, but it's flexible. The last I checked, it was still under $50 (and it is a lifetime license, so you don't have to pay for upgrades).

Scrivener - useful for projects that take a lot more organisation than most. You've already looked into this, so I won't say much about it.

RoughDraft - free, pretty simple, although a bit outdated by now because it hasn't been updated in years. Still, I like it for simple things like poems and short stories.

FocusWriter - also free. Default mode is full screen, but you can set the toolbar to pop up when you mouse over that area. And you can set Themes to make the screen and the text any colour you want, so it's easy on the eyes. This is the one I find myself using most, or when I'm not sure what to use. Very simple, lets you focus on the writing. Excellent if you have even slight vision issues. (I'm legally blind - but it is not designed specifically for that, and that isn't the only reason it is my top choice. Just a nice bonus.) Another plus: if MS ever drives you away, there is a Linux version of this. It even has a feature that makes complex projects easier to manage than most "plain" editors: Sessions. That is the hardest feature to learn to use - not that hard, but the hardest - but it is well worth the slight effort.

If you like the idea of FocusWriter, but it doesn't quite 'do it' for you, there are a few other barebones editors around. WriteMonkey has a free and a paid (donation) version. TextRoom is similar to DarkRoom for the Mac, and free. Or there is Q10 which is also mostly a full screen, no frills editor. Of course, with any of the free ones, it's easy enough to download them and play with them to see what you think. I'd encourage you to at least give FocusWriter a try. As broke as I am right now, if I didn't already own LSB XE and Scrivener, I'd stick to FocusWriter, and I don't think I'd suffer much.

Oh, and since I've tried YWriter... It is free, and you could use it. I did, for my first NaNo. It was okay. The trouble is, one writer designed it to work, for his process, and if your process is very similar to his, you'll love it. If not, there are other programs that are much better and more flexible.
91516, RE: Writing Programs for the PC
Posted by Weird Jim, Sat Sep-08-12 12:30 AM
Out of curiosity I Binged 'free writers programs', or was that 'free writing programs' (the search engines often respond differently to different spellings) and there seem to be choices. There was one called StoryWeaver for $29.95 with a demo trial and a ninety day money back guarantee, although that could just be a come on.

Weird Jim

"Good reading is the only test of good writing"
Robertson Davies. A voice from the attic 1960
91560, RE: Writing Programs for the PC
Posted by SamR, Sat Sep-15-12 03:15 PM
I like StoryWeaver too. Especially as an idea-generating tool, it steps the user through some creative ways of coming up with unusual ideas.
91561, RE: Writing Programs for the PC
Posted by RavenCorbie, Sat Sep-15-12 05:22 PM
This is intriguing. How does it do that?
91518, RE: Writing Programs for the PC
Posted by Erin_M_H, Sat Sep-08-12 06:47 AM
Oh, and for free, there are also Google Docs and Open Office, both pretty similar to Word, so if you know how to use that, you're set. Google will require you to be connected to the Internet while you're using it, though.

-- Erin
91519, RE: Writing Programs for the PC
Posted by Linda Adams, Sat Sep-08-12 09:38 AM
Just another option, since budget is an issue: Wait for a while and use Word (I'm assuming you have it). It is still a good program for writing, and I use it in conjunction with Scrivener. It isn't hard to convert over to Scrivener later -- I did it with a manuscript I was revising.
91522, RE: Writing Programs for the PC
Posted by jschara, Sat Sep-08-12 01:47 PM
I didn't really like Liquid Story Binder. It's supposed to work similarly to Scrivener, but we didn't get along for some reason. Unfortunately, I can't provide any specifics, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I CAN say yWriter is wonderful. I used it in a basic mode for a year or two, and right as I was making the shift to Mac in 2008, I used it during NaNo to write the novel and figured out how to use the wonderful planning tools that come with it -- planning, timelines, POVs. If Scrivener for Windows hadn't come along, I'd have recommended it exclusively, but I ALSO love Scrivener. The two programs work differently, so I'd recommend you try them both to see which resonates with you. Scrivener has a generous free trial window, and yWriter is free. The biggest difference (and I don't know if yWriter has added this in the last four years or not or if I'm forgetting it was there) is graphics. yWriter has a pretty basic (but pleasing to look at) interface. It's not very configurable, but everything you need is easily accessible.

Scrivener has the corkboard, and some other configurable graphics. It can also be overwhelming. If you choose to go with Scrivener, remember you can use it in the most basic mode and turn off almost anything that gets in your way. I do recommend Gwen Hernandez's Scrivener for Windows class at some point.

Of course, there's Word and if you don't have that or want to look into a freely available office suite, I'd recommend LibreOffice (open source, MS compatible files).

Of writing specific software out there, I'd be torn between yWriter and Scrivener for the PC. They are free or free to try, so I recommend you decide for yourself which works best.
91538, RE: Writing Programs for the PC
Posted by gilroy, Mon Sep-10-12 07:44 AM
If you want to go really easy and free, with no learning curve (save your own need to know grammar), every computer has Notepad or Wordpad. Both create common text files. No fancy set up.

You can just write!
91541, RE: Writing Programs for the PC
Posted by Weird Jim, Mon Sep-10-12 07:56 PM
I just ran across this:


IBM's free word processor. Claims are that it's simple and easy to use.

Might get it myself if I start getting ambitious again.

Weird Jim

"Good reading is the only test of good writing"
Robertson Davies. A voice from the attic 1960
91542, RE: Writing Programs for the PC
Posted by zette, Mon Sep-10-12 11:31 PM
I collect these sorts of programs. I've used SuperNoteCard for outlines and liked it. I have used Write It Now, which is a combination of notecards and word processor and enjoyed working with it.

Then I tried Scrivener, and the only reason I've opened the other two since was to copy stuff out to put it into Scrivener instead.

This is by far the best program of this sort for me.
91603, RE: Writing Programs for the PC
Posted by mfassett, Tue Sep-18-12 08:45 PM
My software, StoryBox, is free to use (basically forever) if you can stand waiting 5-6 seconds when it starts in order to cancel the nag dialog. It's not crippled in anyway.


91607, Scrivener Discount
Posted by Dreamerscove, Tue Sep-18-12 11:44 PM
For Scrivener, I did want to mention that the company has made a regular deal with the "National Novel Writing Month" organization. Win a Nano, and one of the prizes is up to 50% off the cost of the program. For those who get 50k in November, this is a great deal.