Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Best Writing Software Ever!

I've been asked a lot...a LOT...which writing software to use. Final Draft? Scrivener? Dramatica?
Obviously, a lot depends on what you're looking for. If you're a screenwriter, film or television, Final Draft is the industry standard. That's mostly because of its automatic formatting and the ease of file sharing: screenplay format is an epic pain in the ass, and it's hard to make it look professional unless you've been doing it for a while...or (of course) you have Final Draft.

Then there's Scrivener, which lets you write your manuscript but
also acts as a sort of electronic filing cabinet/scrapbook/placeholder. I had high hopes for this, because I am chronically disorganized.

And there's Dramatica, which is meant to help you structure your story (NOT format it) from the start, based on a particular theory of storytelling.

And there's bare-write software that blocks out all other software on your machine while you write, stopping you from being chronically distracted - although this feature is also available on Scrivener and other word-processing programs.

What do I use?


That's it. Nothing else.

This isn't because Word is a wonderful program. It's not. It offers a lot of features, but it will sometimes lack the feature you need the most, or hide it under layers of submenus (stylesheets, anyone?) It's also slow and clunky - if your document tops 500 pages, just watch as Word struggles with pagination and the Find function. And unlike Scrivener, Word won't help you organize your documents, meaning that as your manuscript grows, your folders will fill with subfolders and scraps of text and information that will lose you hours as you hunt for what you were sure you had to hand just a minute ago.

But Word is the common standard. It will crank out your MS in any format required by your agent, editor, or publisher. If you write more than one kind of document - speeches, proposals, brochures - it will give you those too.

And the most important thing of all: NONE of these programs, not Word, not Scrivener, not Google Docs, nothing, will write the story for you.

You have to do that. With your brain cells.

Sorry, camper.

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