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Writing Process & Programs > Anyone use writing software other than Word?

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message 1: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda | 45 comments My italics (or any character style) disappear randomly when I use the styles formatting for my paragraphs. I searched for answers and apparently it's just the way Word works -- the styles formatting overrides character formatting. Although, not always, oddly. There's a work-around (but it reads a bit complicated for me), so I'm wondering if anyone else can recommend a different software that's meant for novel writing.


message 2: by Maria (new)

Maria Vermisoglou | 1 comments Scrivener is pretty good software for writers. Personally, I use sometimes Word and mostly Reedsy. If you Google your question, I'm sure you'll find a lot. Good luck :)


message 3: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda | 45 comments Maria wrote: "Scrivener is pretty good software for writers. Personally, I use sometimes Word and mostly Reedsy. If you Google your question, I'm sure you'll find a lot. Good luck :)"

Thanks, Maria. I did get a lot from google, which only made me curious as to what most people here used / recommended. There's a lot to choose from. I'll check out Reedsy, though. I didn't even know that had writing software.


message 4: by Martin (new)

Martin Wilsey | 447 comments I use Scrivener, MSWord, OpenOffice, Grammarly, and ProWritingAid.


message 5: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda | 45 comments Martin wrote: "I use Scrivener, MSWord, OpenOffice, Grammarly, and ProWritingAid."

Do you have a favorite / most oft used, Martin?


message 6: by Ben (new)

Ben Cass (bencass) I used Word for years, but started using Scrivener last year, and will never use Word again. Scrivener changed my writing for the better; things that would have been laborious in Word (writing out of order, tracking POV, etc) are just baked-in to Scrivener.

I'll use Reedsy on my laptop when I can't use the Mac, and then I'll copy/paste into Scrivener.


message 7: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda | 45 comments Ben wrote: "I used Word for years, but started using Scrivener last year, and will never use Word again. Scrivener changed my writing for the better; things that would have been laborious in Word (writing out ..."

Thanks, Ben.


message 8: by Martin (new)

Martin Wilsey | 447 comments Rhonda wrote: "Martin wrote: "I use Scrivener, MSWord, OpenOffice, Grammarly, and ProWritingAid."

Do you have a favorite / most oft used, Martin?"


All my first drafts are completely done in Scrivener.

It allows me to have all my research, character sheets, and outline in one place. It automatically makes backups and versioning.

There are also various templates.

Lots of tutorials on youtube.


message 9: by Daniel (new)

Daniel | 9 comments Being a Mac person I use Pages. It will export files as RTF, PDF, Word, EPub, and Plain Txt


message 10: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 787 comments I use WordPerfect. I like to live like it's 2003


message 11: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda | 45 comments Justin wrote: "I use WordPerfect. I like to live like it's 2003"

Lol.


message 12: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 888 comments I use Scrivener, which is great for organization and books which need a lot of research as you can keep it all there and access it easily. It integrates with Scrapple (a program for mindmaps).

I use MS Word to write after the first draft since I can format it easily. The new one is great when you are polishing as it has text to speech which isn't bad. It also allows you to use ProWritingAid without leaving the program. I found Goggle Docs less functional for me when compared to MS Word.

The other program I like is The Novel Factory. It's like doing the Snowflake method on the computer. Like with Scrivener you can add pictures to your prep work. If you write in scenes, you might want to check out the Novel Creator which is set up by scenes. Like in Scrivener, you can move them around. It's based on the Marshall plan of writing. If you do the Story Engines style writing, it's a great program and more functional than Scrivener because you can see all the cards easily.

There is yWriter which I wasn't fond of and a couple of others which I looked at and didn't bother trying due to the expense.

So with that all said, the programs I use the most to write: MS Word, Scrivener, Novel factory. My add ins are Scrapple and ProWritingAid and Aeon Timeline for those novels where you have to have the timing just right.


message 13: by Junkomi (new)

Junkomi Eno | 28 comments I used to use yWriter which is a great free software. Scrivener was nice but it is a bit too much in price for me (of course, if money is no problem...then yeah.) I mainly use LibreOffice now due to being on Linux. There is Plume Creator which is pretty great for writing but so far, LibreOffice works for me. There is also LaTeX which is free, though it is more for mathematical/scientific documents and generally used to typeset your book then to write it but of course, you can use it for novels, as I have done it.

It all just depends on what works for you (and your wallet)


message 14: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 888 comments Scrivener is worth the cost which is minimal compared to some of the programs out there. You pay once and it's yours. I'll admit it has a learning curve, but it is probably the most useful of the programs when putting a book together for the cost. Of course, I bought it when it was $25 if that tells you anything. I've gotten my money's worth from every program I've used. If I had very limited funds: Scrivener would be my first choice then a life time subscription for ProWritingAid. The two together: Powerful writing tools and worth every penny. Look at the expense as an investment in your writing career.


message 15: by David (last edited Dec 02, 2018 11:39AM) (new)

David | 4 comments As another Linux user, I'm also rather fond of LibreOffice. It's intuitive, solid and free. Plus it outputs pdf files with ease. What's not to like?
Once upon a time, I made use of Word but did find it a bit clunky. Anyone else agree?


message 16: by Kevin (new)

Kevin I do a little bit of writing, but a lot of book formatting. I'm a big fan of Libre Office. I use Word too, but I prefer LO. It does everything I can do in Word for KDP Print. I think it handles images in the PDF creation process much better than Word. I like the direct export to ePub (which Word doesn't do). I used Scrivener too - and it's a great outliner and output to ePub / Kindle format is good, but it's not so great for print formatting (KDP Print / Createspace [in its day]).


message 17: by Micah (last edited Dec 03, 2018 08:56AM) (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments I'm another Scrivener user. I switched from Word because Scrivener is a project-based application, rather than a document-based application as Word is. Inside each project you can write, re-arrange, format, edit, make notes, store pics/urls/videos/etc., collect character information, outline, plot, and compile any amount of metadata you want, make or use templates ... and it keeps your project backed up and allows for versioning.

Like Word it's got far more features than 90% of us will ever use (or understand or even be aware of), but the tutorial that comes with it and the plentiful tutorials online mitigate the learning curve. I was off and running on my first project in it within a day, so it wasn't that bad.

I have not actually completed a project in it yet so I can't comment on its ability to produce eBooks or manuscripts. I'll get to that eventually. But right now I can't imagine ever going back to Word for book writing at all.

As for its price, the standard license right now costs $45, which I can't see as being too expensive in any way. Consider that you'll be using it on every project from now until something shinier comes along. I mean $45 is the price of a modest dinner for two and less than one month of phone or internet service. And unless you're using homemade or premade book covers, Scrivener costs like half as much as an inexpensive custom eBook cover which you'll use on only one book. It's nowhere near as expensive as hiring an editor.


message 18: by Shanna (new)

Shanna Swenson (shannaswen) | 32 comments I write in Word then format with Vellum. I love it, so easy and very professional looking.


message 19: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Shanna wrote: "I write in Word then format with Vellum. I love it, so easy and very professional looking."

I've heard very good things about Vellum. Pity it is Mac-only.


message 20: by Mike (last edited Dec 03, 2018 08:59AM) (new)

Mike Robbins (mikerobbins) | 61 comments I use Libre Office too. I originally tried it because I moved one of my laptops over to Linux, but was sufficiently impressed to install it on my Windows 10 machine as well. It seems to generate less junk than Word - I have far less trouble formatting blog posts when they've been generated in Libre Office - and it can save your document as a Word file without difficulty.

If there is a drawback, it is that it takes a little long to start under Windows (not a problem under Linux). Also, if you are involved in editing a document with Word users, you can get the odd issue regarding comments and edits. Even so, I'll stick with it now.


message 21: by Shanna (new)

Shanna Swenson (shannaswen) | 32 comments Kevin wrote: "Shanna wrote: "I write in Word then format with Vellum. I love it, so easy and very professional looking."

I've heard very good things about Vellum. Pity it is Mac-only."


Yes, I bought a Mac specifically for that reason... well and because my husband's laptop is ancient... Santa came early this year ;-)


message 22: by Mike (new)

Mike Robbins (mikerobbins) | 61 comments Justin wrote: "I use WordPerfect. I like to live like it's 2003"

It was very good! I miss it.


message 23: by Ben (new)

Ben Cass (bencass) Micah wrote: "I'm another Scrivener user. I switched from Word because Scrivener is a project-based application, rather than a document-based application as Word is. Inside each project you can write, re-arrange..."

I exported my Scrivener file to a Word file, and then used Draft2Digital to create my ebook. It came out beautifully, so I will be doing that again for my second book.


message 24: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth Cline | 15 comments I agree with Shanna about Vellum. It's so convenient and easy to publish files in the correct format for both Kindle e-book and paperback. I like the fact that they add new updates all the time, like most recently, the ability to do footnotes.


message 25: by Robin (new)

Robin (mkrmauthor) | 7 comments I use Scrivener and Open Office for the actual writing. If I'm on the go, I use Google Docs, too. My favorite is Scrivener for ease of organization. I can keep track of all my research within the file for each book. I can also add inspiration/mood board images of my characters and scenes to keep me inspired.
I use Grammarly and Hemmingway (free online service for both) to help with editing. But I hear so many good things about Pro Writing Aid that I'd love to try that program out.


message 26: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments Robin wrote: "I use Scrivener and Open Office for the actual writing. If I'm on the go, I use Google Docs, too..."

I use Scrivener even on the go. I just default all my Scrivener save files to my Dropbox folder. Anytime I'm on Wi-Fi, it automatically updates and keeps things sync'd.

Google Docs I've found to be pretty sluggish to use.


message 27: by A.R. (new)

A.R. Clayton I use WordPress. It's free.


message 28: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 720 comments Mod
Google Docs, when I last tried, seemed to be very laggy on longer text (20k+ words). I'd only use it if I wanted to have a well-reached place to share a larger sample for potential beta readers when it comes to that.
Did the lagginess change since my last tries?


message 29: by Zoltán (new)

Zoltán (witchhunter) | 267 comments Using LibreOffice 99% of the time. Two main reasons:
1) Works much better with large documents and when you need to format it properly. (Publishing both in e-book and printed format.)
2) I regularly use multiple OSes (Linux, OSX, Windows) and need something that works everywhere.
+1) It produces good PDFs.

Occasionally using LaTeX too, but primarily for technical/scientific oriented materials.


message 30: by Sreedhar (new)

Sreedhar Iyer | 11 comments I use Manuskript a free alternate for Scrivener. Looks comfortable to move chapters here and there. Not yet finished this book, so it is early to say. It has export options to html and text.


message 31: by Mike (new)

Mike Robbins (mikerobbins) | 61 comments Tomas wrote: "Google Docs, when I last tried, seemed to be very laggy on longer text (20k+ words). I'd only use it if I wanted to have a well-reached place to share a larger sample for potential beta readers whe..."

No, the lagginess hasn't gone. Three of us used it as joint editors of an anthology earlier this year; it proved to be a very practical solution for what we had to do, as we could all work on the manuscript online, post and answer and clear queries etc. But it wasn't very quick or responsive. It's good when working with other ppeople but for solo work, I'll stick with Libre Office.


message 32: by Paul (new)

Paul Arvidson (paularvidson) | 2 comments Scrivener for a first draft and organising.
Then I run it through Word plus Grammarly plug in.
Then my editor doesn't hate me :)


message 33: by Edward (new)

Edward Smith | 1 comments I use Apple's Pages wp as I can drag and drop images, videos, sound files .... or I use iBook Author where I can do the same but easily move the file to an eBook .... I write multimedia poetry and prose poetry.


message 34: by Lee (last edited Dec 15, 2018 05:00AM) (new)

Lee McIlmoyle (leeedward) | 2 comments I've written novels in Scrivener and in yWriter 5. I also prefer Editpad Pro to other text editors, and yes, I've used them extensively as well.


message 35: by Lee (new)

Lee McIlmoyle (leeedward) | 2 comments Paul wrote: "Scrivener for a first draft and organising.
Then I run it through Word plus Grammarly plug in.
Then my editor doesn't hate me :)"

Same... although I lost my Editrix a loooooonnnng time ago. I really should find a new one. I'm the kind who needs a gifted editor to fly me like a kite.


message 36: by John (new)

John Byron (johnbyron) | 7 comments Scrivener, man! Hands down, it is the best bang for the buck! Great features set, with a caveat or two of course, but rock solid in my humble opinion! But again... that’s just my opinion... I could be wrong.


message 37: by Sreedhar (new)

Sreedhar Iyer | 11 comments V.M. wrote: "Sreedhar wrote: "I use Manuskript a free alternate for Scrivener. Looks comfortable to move chapters here and there. Not yet finished this book, so it is early to say. It has export options to html..."

Of course with occasional hanging, but did not lose data. Always have the habit of using ctrl+s.


message 38: by M.K. (new)

M.K. Williams (1mkwilliams) | 16 comments I'm using Scribus right now to format print book.


message 39: by Ben (new)

Ben Cass (bencass) Sreedhar wrote: "V.M. wrote: "Sreedhar wrote: "I use Manuskript a free alternate for Scrivener. Looks comfortable to move chapters here and there. Not yet finished this book, so it is early to say. It has export op..."

I LOVE that Scrivener autosaves to Dropbox for me. No need to worry about pushing cmd-s. (I still do from time to time, out of habit, but it's completely unnecessary!)


message 40: by Jane (new)

Jane Jago | 888 comments I use Pages on mac. L8e it much better than word


message 41: by David (new)

David Humphrey | 16 comments I'm Mac not PC and only use the most (free-ish) basic of tools for writing, as any formatting is a redundant. Writeroom for distraction free writing and Grammarly lite for proofing. All .txt files are saved to Dropbox and I can make quick notes on same files on iPhone or iPad using Caret to see files. I write absolutely nothing longhand on paper anymore, don't see the point of that in 2018.


message 42: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 787 comments One thing that sucks about any Word program is sometimes you write out a word that you know is a real word and you know you've 100% spelled it right but yet Word still doesn't know what it is and underlines it as a misspelled word.

Anyone else or just me? lol


message 43: by Zoltán (new)

Zoltán (witchhunter) | 267 comments Justin wrote: "One thing that sucks about any Word program is sometimes you write out a word that you know is a real word and you know you've 100% spelled it right but yet Word still doesn't know what it is and u..."

I'm yet to see any tool with a spellchecker that doesn't have this problem :)


message 44: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4333 comments Mod
Justin wrote: "One thing that sucks about any Word program is sometimes you write out a word that you know is a real word and you know you've 100% spelled it right but yet Word still doesn't know what it is and u..."

Even scarier... I just bought a new laptop and am working with the current version of Word. It recognized the word McRib. Eek.


message 45: by Zoltán (new)

Zoltán (witchhunter) | 267 comments Dwayne wrote: "Even scarier... I just bought a new laptop and am working with the current version of Word. It recognized the word McRib. Eek."

Or the spellchecker plugin failer on it utterly and crashed in the background, but all you can see is a hidden system log noting an error report and sending a copy of your book for analysis...
Congratulation, you just acquired a beta reader!..


message 46: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 720 comments Mod
Zoltán wrote: "Or the spellchecker plugin failer on it utterly and crashed in the background, but all you can see is a hidden system log noting an error report and sending a copy of your book for analysis...
Congratulation, you just acquired a beta reader!.."


Unfortunately, I doubt they'll give any decent feedback.


message 47: by David (new)

David Humphrey | 16 comments I may be in a minority here, but I have always hated Word. It's buggy, bloated and has far too many superfluous features you don't need to write prose. I save all my files as simple .txt documents. People use word because it is the first app on their PC and they really should look harder


message 48: by Jessica (new)

Jessica O'Toole (jayotee) | 100 comments Shanna wrote: "I write in Word then format with Vellum. I love it, so easy and very professional looking."

You can get Vellum if you use MacinCloud which can be accessed from any PC. This is what I used initially, until I dove in a bought a Macbook. My "laptop" is more a desktop replacement and so hefty to carry about. I wanted something a little more portable...

Vellum is pretty incredible though. I used to manually format my books, which meant I had a bit more leeway about fonts, guttering, etc. but the amount of time it takes out of formatting means you can make small changes that will turn out how you want, and generate in matter of seconds. It has enough wiggle room to make your book look how you want, and you can use inline images and book chapter jpgs and other useful things. I've not delved too deeply into this yet, but in the future will certainly have a novel where I can try this out.

I've actually just downloaded a trial of Plottr, which has a timeline for character arcs and scenes. I'm just seeing how it goes, but this is probably what's missing in my general writing toolbox.

I can't stand Scrivener. Most of the features on it I didn't use. I don't use anything for writing other than Word, and I like to be able to see my scenes in one long flow. But Word has a Navigation Pane for keeping track of where scenes are and they're easy to relocate.

I think it's a little unfair from David above to state that we're essentially lazy if we use Word. I've tried everything else, and Word suits me fine. I have Pages on the Mac but it messes up my formatting so I downloaded Word and it works great. It is buggy if you're trying to format a novel because that's not what it was built for, but it is very powerful if you work out all the ways to use it to your advantage. Word files used simply (chapter titles, part titles, body text) can be transferred over to Vellum easily and with minimal to zero issues.

To each their own and all that. :)


message 49: by David (new)

David Humphrey | 16 comments Sorry if you felt I was calling people lazy Shanna, but it wasn't want I meant. You have tried many apps and that's great but many don't bother. My real point was: If you are writing, why are you formatting text? Do that at the end. It has no purpose other than slowing your writing down.


message 50: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments Jessica wrote: "...I can't stand Scrivener. Most of the features on it I didn't use. I don't use anything for writing other than Word, and I like to be able to see my scenes in one long flow. But Word has a Navigation Pane for keeping track of where scenes are and they're easy to relocate. ..."

The thing about Word is that it was designed as a universal word processor and not specifically for authors. Its feature set was more aimed at businesses originally ... and then MS just kept adding everything in the world to it. If you think you don't use much of Scrivener's features, then I'm betting you're using about 90% less of Word's features. I mean do any of us use Word's document merge features or Visual Basic programming when we're writing books? Maybe someone does but not me.

And, BTW, it's as easy as clicking one icon in Scrivener to see your whole manuscript in one long flow.

Using Word is not wrong, but for me, I've found Scrivener to be far more streamlined and useful for writing projects. It took a few days to get used to the different work experience but after that, no, I'd never go back.

(I don't use most of Scrivener's features either but that's true of most software I've used, from spreadsheets to databases to web browsers to virtual instruments to audio production software.)


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