Your Favorite Noveling Software

What’s your go-to noveling software?

Do you keep it simple with Word or Google Docs? Are you a Scrivener fanatic? Do you write your first draft in one program, and edit in another? There are so many options to choose from, so talk about your preferred software here.

I’m currently using Bibisco, which is pretty decent and simple for free software, but I dislike the rigid structure it forces me into. I may move back to Scrivener again someday. Even then, I actually found Scrivener way too feature-heavy, which is why I haven’t used it in years. I know it’s been updated since then, so I’m curious to see if it’s been streamlined in a way I can get into.

I’ve used Ommwriter in the past, and may try it again for this NaNoWriMo.

I’m not a fanatic for Scrivener, but I’ve grown to rely on it more and more. Particularly as they’ve been upgrading the Windows edition to match the Mac edition.It can be a little overwhelming at first, but you can just start typing and eventually learn the cooler functions.

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For the last 20 or so years my go-to has been Microsoft Word. Recently though I’ve picked up Scrivener again - I had a trial of it installed on my last laptop but never really warmed to it. I decided that if I somehow managed to meet my Camp goal for July, I would take advantage of the 50% off offer and buy a licence. Met my goal, so after I get paid next week and once the codes get posted I’ll be buying a paid copy. I’m in the middle of migrating all my WIPs over at the moment.

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I have a hierarchy of sorts - basic starter notes, where I’m still working out the absolute bare bottom, go in Notepad or Evernote, longer and more detailed notes and early test drafts happen in LibreOffice, and when I’m ready to start properly writing a first draft, I move things to Scrivener. I do like Scrivener, even if it’s a bit… fancier than I’m used to? I guess that’s the word.

I did write my whole November project in Scrivener last year, and I enjoyed that plenty, but I save it for projects I know will take longer and require more organizing, because Scrivener is great for those and make it much easier to get an overview or find particular scenes and chapters, rather than scrolling and scrolling to find them in a single document. I fully expect to be using it this November as well.

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I’ve been a Google Docs fan for years. I know there’s much fancier programs out there with all these elaborate bells and whistles… but as I lean pantser anyway, it all seems unnecessary for my purposes.

I do take story notes, though, and the past few years have explored the exciting world of Actually Having A Vague Outline, but it’s all just in OneNote, nothing fancier. I’ve been interested in other programs before, but I’ve just never understood what benefit they could offer someone who isn’t a heavy planner.

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I do my plotting/worldbuilding/character development in OneNote, my writing in Word, and my editing in Word or Scrivener.

I seem to be one of the few people who really hates Scrivener. It’s extremely useful for rearranging chapters/scenes/sections, which is what I use it for, but it’s so unwieldy for everything else. I keep it just for editing. I’ve tried writing in it and ugh, it’s just so bad.

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I’ve grown to be a Scrivener type. Earlier I used Libre Office, but nowadays it’s only for final formatting and spell check (Scrivener doesn’t have Finnish speller). Just the ease of keeping the text in smallish pieces that you can easily move between. I’m pantsing, but also occasionally not writing in order. Or like this camp working with several separate pieces.

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Scrivener doesn’t really know how to spell in English either. It thinks it does but…

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Just Word. It’s on all of my computers, and I don’t need anything fancier. For keeping track of stuff, I use Excel.

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I’ve used Google Docs for a few Camps, which was primarily handy for me in that I could easily access the whole thing even on mobile, letting me write right into the document even when I was out and about, or if I wanted to check something I’d written or any of my notes. I’ve mostly delegated that role to Evernote now, but only for notes, not the actual writing. It’s one of the few things I do kind of really miss about using Google Docs for this. If you don’t like or want any other features than a plain, simple document place to write and do basic formatting, I completely understand sticking with it!

The only main reason I personally don’t use it anymore for my main writing and switched to Scrivener for Novembers is simply because it gets tedious to scroll through tens and thousands of words in order to locate any particular scene or chapter. I know it’s theoretically possible to do bookmarks on Google Docs for an easier way of navigating between chapters and scenes, but I like that Scrivener just lets me do it in a more intuitive way, if that makes sense - I very much sort all my computer files in folders and subfolders, and Scrivener has a similar way of doing things that just clicks a little easier with my brain.

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I mainly use Google Docs. A quick way to scroll through stuff is if you use the outline. On a computer you can just click it and it will take you to that header or if you’re using mobile device you can quick scroll until it says you’re at that header. Works great for me.

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I used to be a Google Docs user too, but it started being unwieldy when I started to have a tendency to have multiple things on my screen to cross-reference while writing. Switching between 3 internet windows just to scroll one of them down a little bit because the combined interface was so big I barely got any notes on screen got really annoying pretty fast. I decided to switch for something a lot more minimalistic.

Since I barely use anything but the most basic formatting, I ended up with a duo of plaintext editors (Vim with the Goyo plugin installed for writing and gedit when I’m moving things around). And for writing on the go, I just use gmail to hold it for me, as it has minimal bells and whistles, is already there and usable offline, and is easy to copy back into my main file once I get on my computer. Although I prefer to avoid that at all costs since, let me tell you, autocorrect can get very, very odd when you have your mobile keyboard set (and used in) three different languages at once. Though I don’t blame it for that.

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I find that I use different tools for different parts of the process:

I use Google Docs for brainstorming, line editing, and short stories/poetry/flash fiction, etc. because it’s easier to scroll through and track comments and export from. Also you can share documents and the alternative of Word isn’t free.

I use Scrivener for writing novel-length projects, outlining, and content editing because I love the index cards view, which saves me a lot of paper, and I love being able to jump around between scenes when I write and easily reorder them as well.

I tried 4thewords for a couple of nanos when they had free trials, but I couldn’t really get it to fit into my process. But I would be open to trying again since that was a few years ago and I’m sure they’ve improved.

This combination works well for me. Oh and I love that Scrivener has window that tracks your word count for the session during nano.

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I’m in the Scrivener team. I’ve used Scrivener for the past 3 years and I’ve grown accustomed to how the software works. I really enjoy that I can do the planning and writing in one big document instead of having multiple separately saved texts. I used to write in Microsoft Word before and while it works for writing it’s just not a good planning tool. Scrivener is a lot better in that regard and makes switching around between the manuscript, the planning documents, the characters etc. a lot easier!

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I’m a Scrivener person, though I used to do it in Microsoft Word but I like the freedom of being able to jump from scene to scene when I want to. Instead of having different word docs for scenes or scrolling down until you find a scene you want to write into, you can just use the binder to click on the different scenes and switch between them. I use Word now mainly for character profile, outlines, background details, and anything else I think I need it. Though, I have been using Scrivener for more and more of that too.

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I keep trying 4thewords during November because of their nano event… The site crashes annually and since you need to write in the site I just can’t deal with it

I used to write in Google Docs, since I had multiple computers (my personal one, and a school-issued chromebook that was locked on my school email), but my biggest problem was that it tended to have trouble loading once my project got too long. I had a teacher buy me Scrivener as a graduation gift (she wanted to support my future in writing and I did the trial before she paid for it) and I fell in love, but I still do my initial outlining in Google Docs, and most of my tracking for edits is there too.

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yeah I agree.

I am a huge supporter of Simon Haynes’ yWriter. Simon is an author who was also a NaNo participant way back from the old days (early 2000s). Back then he wrote his own writing software and made it available for free.

I started out using yWriter2, and have followed his upgrades to the latest version 7. In the past few years he has developed a mobile version of yWriter for both Android and iOS platforms, and it is my understanding that he very recently puslished a Mac compatible version of the software as well. I love the ability to be able to write on my phone if I have a few minutes during the day, and when I sit down to my computer for a longer writing session, everything done on the mobile version is there waiting for me.

I bought Scrivener and tried it out for a while, along with multiple other systems , but I always come back to yWriter.

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I take my story notes in the Notes app on my iPhone. This is convenient for me because I like to write on the go and it’s nice to have my notes right there and accessible.

For the actual story writing, I use mainly Microsoft Word. It’s what I’ve grown up on and what I know best. When I’m writing at school, I’ll use Google Docs. I like that because it’s accessible across all platforms. It’s easy to write from school and then pick back up when I get home. However, the downside is that Google Docs is a HUGE data hog. I’m to the point where I can’t afford to write on Google Docs on my phone unless I’m hooked into a Wi-Fi network. If there is no Wi-Fi and I want to write, I’ll just use the Notes app again.

I guess I’ve just never seen the need for all the fancy writing software that’s out there right now.