During the slog known as NaNo, I’ve been writing each scene as its own Open Office Writer .odt file. Some months back (could be a year now) I had tried out yWriter and loved it. Except, at the time despite my preachyness here on the blog about structure and organization, for some reason I never really got to using yWriter as a force of habit. It was just another tool I had collected in my arsenal, but didn’t use as often as I should–a bit like Mind Manager. I’m silly like that, I know.
Tonight as I was working on a new scene, I got to thinking about this story folder full of scene docs, and I realized that it was starting to get difficult to manage. Yes, I could just have everything all in one text file but then that defeats the purpose of breaking things out into chunks. I’m all about this modularity scene-by-scene groove these days, the only problem being it makes a new task out of organizing the modules. Then I remembered yWriter. “Oh yeah,” I thought. “That tool I already have and was already toying around with a few times here and there is something perfect for my NaNo story.”
So I fired it up and started transferring my Open Office files to yWriter. It didn’t take long before I started to appreciate some of the finer points of yWriter:
- Wordcounts Per Scene
- Wordcounts Per Chapter
- Draft view
- Outline view
- Status markers ‘Outline, Draft, 1st Edit, 2nd Edit, Done’ for each scene.
- Character viewpoint tab for each scene (drawn from a list of characters you enter).
- Spitting out all your separate scenes and chapters as a text file or HTML.
- Exporting of a synopsis based on your outline notes.
- Export scene descriptions (outline) only.
- Fully customizable daily wordcount targets; Think NaNo’s progress reports and graphs.
- Find Problem Words feature, for catching all those nasty ‘Suddenlys.’
- A Word Usage counter to see which words you use too often.
- Print by Chapter or Scene.
The list goes on and on, and I’d be writing this post all day to give you a full feature list, in which time you could just download it and try it for yourself. yWriter is THE novelist’s tool to keeping track of everything in one program. I can see why Simon Haynes whipped this little tool up. If you can get beyond a little of the confusion of learning the interface, there’s no other tool like it.
NaNoWriMo just got a whole lot better.