Library Writers Group: Software Overview

24 May

I know my writers’ group has gone over writing software before, but I can’t remember if it made it to the blog yet. Regardless, we went over it again so I’ll write another quick synopsis here. Enjoy!

We focused on three major types of writing software; outlining, basic writing software, and commercial software. For outlining, we took a look at The Guide, an open-source software. Similar packages include Keepnote, Treepad, and Cherry Tree. The software exists with simple parent-child relationships composed of different ‘pages.’ You can reorder them fairly easily and the data saves and backs up with minimal issues. There is no spellcheck and formatting is a bit limited. You can, however, changes icons in the outline to notes things completed, in process, etc.

Plume Creator is an example of a basic novel-writing software package. Another would be Rough Draft. With Plume Creator, another open-sourced software, you have all of the features of The Guide except the icon changes. In addition, you can add notes and synopses. You can compile selected parts of the data and  backup is still very simple. There is a spell-checking option with Plume Creator and it’s undergoing a lot of changes at the moment to make it more like Scrivner (see below). You also have the option to format your writing in a manuscript format when you’re ready for that step.

Scrivener is probably the best-known writing software. It’s only $40 and if you win NaNoWriMo, you can buy it for 50% off. yWriter is a free version of Scrivener though I can’t speak to its features. Scrivener has the same features as Plume Creator with a more extensive export options list and brings back the ability to change icons to mark scenes as you see fit. I know many people who have used this to some success and the major complaint I’ve hears is that if you want to get the .txt file for one scene, it’s hard to find because the scenes names you use do not translate to the base documents. That’s a pretty minor complaint, though!

Personally, I use Word. I find it’s enough for me and I have a better idea of seeing how far into the story each plot point happens by looking at the right-hand scroll bar. It works for me, but some people swear by these other softwares. It’s all personal preference.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at And as always, feel free to leave a comment!


8 Responses to “Library Writers Group: Software Overview”

  1. Claire | Art and Soul May 24, 2016 at 11:30 AM #

    It’s nice to hear from someone else who sticks with Word. I find it’s more than enough for me – at least for now! 🙂


    • Sam May 24, 2016 at 5:14 PM #

      I’m glad we’re all out here somewhere! I might be talked into an outlining software, but the more advanced ones are to much for me. I keep it simple. Happy writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. beckylindroos May 24, 2016 at 12:49 PM #

    Fwiw, I’ve always found that Pages for Mac – is fine. I think it costs $20 now.


    • Sam May 24, 2016 at 5:14 PM #

      What kind of benefits does it offer? Is it similar to any of these software packages?


  3. patgarcia May 24, 2016 at 4:06 PM #

    I have Scrivener and I am still in the process of learning how to use it, because it is not as simple as it sounds. So, right now I am using both Word and Scrivener. One day, I will probably jump in completely with Scrivener but not right now.
    Shalom aleichem,


    • Sam May 24, 2016 at 5:15 PM #

      I’ve heard there are good tutorials but it looks really confusing to me. Good luck making the jump over! I’ve heard it’s very streamlined once you figure it out. Happy writing!


  4. Emily Witt May 24, 2016 at 9:14 PM #

    I had Scrivener for ages before I actually used it (made the most of the NaNo deal) and I actually first came to it for editing, because I had written most of my WIP out of order and the Word document was starting to get confusing. I still tend to use Word in planning stages, though my current WIP is being written primarily in Scrivener (again, because I’ve ended up writing the scenes that come easiest rather than in the right order).


    • Sam May 25, 2016 at 12:22 PM #

      That’s a great use of the tool!! How perfect to be able to form your story arc with the software. Enjoy and happy writing!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: