As a writer, you may be familiar with the countless software packages available designed to help you flesh out your book ideas using a formula created by somebody else. Although these programs do have some uses, do you really want your book to be created based on someone else’s idea about how it should be written? In this article, you will learn that there are software tools you can use that increase your productivity without impeding on your creativity.
If you aren’t a writer but have some sudden urge to write a book, the Instant Author. Write Your Book in Thirty Days course might just help you reach your goal of writing a book quickly. Whether you are a new author or an old pro, the following software tools might just help you become a better writer.
At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, the best book writing software you can buy is simply a word processing program. Microsoft Word is a great choice and is considered the preferred document format when submitting your work to editors and publishing houses.
It doesn’t even have to be the latest version of Microsoft Word to be an effective book writing tool. Any version will work but the features available in Word 2007 and up almost make it worth upgrading if you are currently using an older version of the software.
If you are currently using a different program for writing your book and want to learn more about migrating to Microsoft Word, check out Learn Microsoft Word 2010.
Organization Software for Writers
Although a word processor is definitely your best friend as a writer, there are some other software options available that can help keep your thoughts organized until you can get them down on paper.
One of the best software packages for organizing your thoughts into the next bestseller is Scrivener. This program was originally created for OS X but has since been made available for the Windows platform as well. It provides a Corkboard view similar to how writers traditional use index cards to work out plot structures.
What sets Scrivener apart from your average word processor is that it helps you keep your notes and research files within the same project binder as your manuscript files. You can actually link a research document to any section of your manuscript. For example, if you are writing a scene where your main character has a run-in with police in London, you can display alongside your manuscript character notes about the police encounter, a photograph of London that you are using as a model for your setting, and even information about the London legal system. By having all of these notes at your fingertips while you are writing, you can develop complex scenes quickly and easily.
Another feature that makes Scrivener so useful is how easy it is to change the order of scenes, chapters, and plot events. Along the left side column of the Scrivener window is the hierarchy of your entire manuscript. You can drag-and-drop various components into the document and move them around as your story unfolds.
Other useful features include the ability to attach virtual index cards to every scene or chapter and color coding functionality so you can assign a specific color to sections or characters within the plot.
Note Taking Software
Having an organizational tool like Scrivener is a great way to keep your thoughts organized while you’re sitting in front of your computer working on your book. But what about when you are not at home and you have an awesome idea to finish out a scene you have been struggling with?
That’s where virtual note taking software comes in to play. Evernote is probably one of the most popular and it is free to use. What’s great about Evernote is that it is a cloud-based solution. Even better, it is available for your computer, your smartphone, and your tablet.
If you’re on the subway and suddenly get a great idea, jot it down in Evernote and access to it when you get home. Since Evernote is cloud-based, you can access your notes from anywhere that has Internet access meaning that your notes are never very far away.
Not only can Evernote keep track of your written ideas, but it can also keep track of photographs and Internet research on the go. Maybe your next book idea comes from an image you see while walking to work. Snap a quick picture with your smartphone and upload it to Evernote so you can draw out your story in more detail when you have time.
Many people think of writers carrying around a small notebook and jotting down ideas frantically, but in this technology driven age, it only makes sense to take advantage of convenient technology when it’s available. Evernote is certainly an example of a portable solution that just about any writer can take advantage of. You can learn more about using Evernote in A Non-Geek’s Guide to Evernote.
Of course, all of the software in the world is not going to make you a better writer. A good book comes from the heart, the imagination, and the raw intellect you possess as a book writer. Without these things, your book is doomed to failure. If you do have the passion and drive required to successfully complete your book but you are stuck, consider the Block Buster: Overcoming Writer’s Block course to get back on the right track.
Whether you are writing a nonfiction book, a fantasy novel, or the next great horror trilogy, a combination of the proper tools, knowledge, and your own determination to finish what you started is all that you need to become a successful book writer and just maybe – reach the Best Seller’s List.