On one of the many loops I belong to, someone mentioned a free writing program ywriter4 . About a dozen people on the loop chimed in saying they used the program and loved it. They mentioned story boards, and â€œproblem wordâ€ finder, total word count along with chapter and scene word count, and other neat stuff I didnâ€™t know I wanted. Curious, I downloaded the program and tried it. (For the faint of heart â€“no viruses, I swear.)
Okay, I love this program.
It has a Daily Word Count Tracker, so I know how many words I need to write each day to stay on target for finishing my work in progress. I donâ€™t know why I like knowing I need to only write 300 words a day to finish by December 31. I suspect itâ€™s because, heck 300 words is something I can practically finish in my sleep. 300 words is not as overwhelming as 300 huge blank pages of white. If I have to skip writing a day or two or okay, okay a week, and that Daily Word Count starts edging up toward 400 words a day, then I find myself working really hard to move it back down to my target of 300. And I canâ€™t cheat â€“one word on a page doesnâ€™t count as a page finished no matter how many paragraphs HAD been on that page during the day.
The Story Board feature is pretty cool too. After you create empty files of all your chapters and scenes (should you write like me and plot first) then you can decide from whose POV to write each scene. The Story Board then plots the book using your main characters as threads. At a glance I saw that I had six scenes from the heroineâ€™s POV and my hero completely disappeared from the book â€“not a good idea. So I was able to rework the outline before writing to make sure the poor man was included.
Do you find yourself over using words? This program will run a problem word finder, either predefined (as, then, suddenly, all â€œlyâ€ words, etc.) or user defined (for this book, seriously). It will even give you at total word usage count. I currently have written â€œseriouslyâ€ 192 times and the word â€œandâ€ 502 times. I suspect I need to get rid of some of both of them â€“seriously.
But my all time favorite part of this program, Scene Notes. I always have these brilliant ideas in chapter ten about chapter two. It is so very tempting to go back to chapter two and used said brilliant idea. Yet, noodling around in chapter two doesnâ€™t move my story forward toward the finish line. I want to get to the finish line! So I can click on the Scene Note tab for chapter two, write my brilliant idea down, then get back to chapter ten. The note is â€œhookedâ€ (high tech word â€“I know) to the scene for which I think I will use it and not in a Word document that I may or may not remember weeks later. Every time I bring up chapter two I see the note attached. This way I donâ€™t rewrite chapter two, over and over unless that brilliant idea was really brilliant and I can do it when I get to polishing the second draft and not while slugging out the first.
So if you are looking for something to help organize your writing ywriter4 could be for you â€“and best of all itâ€™s free. Let me know what you think of it or if you have something else you use, Iâ€™d like to know that too.
Marianne Donley writes quirky murder mysteries fueled by her life as a mom and a teacher. She makes her home in Pennsylvania with her supportive husband Dennis and two loveable but bad dogs. Her grown children have respectfully asked her to use a pen name which she declined on the grounds that even if some of their more colorful misdeeds make it into her plots, who would know the books are fiction. Besides they weren’t exactly worried about publicly humiliating her while growing up.
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