Aug 19, 2011

Software for Writers

by Tanya Parker Mills

I started out the old-fashioned way...well, not the REALLY old-fashioned way (quill and ink and paper) or the somewhat old-fashioned way (pen and paper)...but the common old-fashioned way in today's world of publishing: I opened a new page on Microsoft Word and began typing away.

That has worked well for me until now. Two weeks ago, I began to outline a rather complicated middle grade fantasy series that spans a long range of time, and find I have already created three different Word documents ("Notes," "Basic Outline and Ideas," and "Character Storylines") without even beginning the first draft of the first novel in the series yet! Today I woke up determined to begin the story despite my misgivings about how best to keep track of all this extraneous supporting information. Like an answer to my prayer, I found an invitation in my email inbox to try out StoryMill 4.0 for Mac.

I've tried a couple of other software programs for writers (yWrite and Scrivener), but they just didn't do it for me. They seemed a little too complex and, being a Mac user, I'm used to the facile and intuitive approach. I don't want anything with a huge learning curve. So, I looked for a review online and was impressed with the program's features as described here and here. You might want to check it out if you have a Mac with an operating system of 10.6 or higher because it seems to be designed particularly for novelists.

Whether you use this, or another, or refuse to even consider using such a program, I'd be interested in your response.


  1. I look forward to hearing how you like your program and what other people are using as I am doing the multiple files in Word on my PC.

  2. I continue to use yWriter5, and only care about the features that suit me. I've used it for a recipe booklet; a collection of short stories and poems; and currently, I'm using it for my WIP, a novel.

    yWriter5 available for free at

  3. Absolutely fantastic blog!!! Glad I found it! Love it!!!

    Lola x

  4. I'm a die-hard Scrivener user. It works very well for me.

  5. I'll definitely keep you all updated on how the program works for me. Got my first scene (and first part of Chapter 1) written yesterday with no glitches. The progress bar is moving. Today I'll probably enter in a bunch of pictures and notes I'd been keeping, as well as write the next scene. So far, so good!

    I've still got yWriter5 on my netbook, Marsha, and will likely use it there off and on. It just didn't work well for my Mac.

    While Scrivener was designed with the Mac in mind (I believe), it didn't do it for me, but I'm glad it works for you, Luisa!

  6. I was looking to writing programs but couldn't decide. I like to use Evernote to keep track of web sites, photos, and other research type info for my books. Thanks for the post. Looking forward to updates about how the program is working for you.


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