If you have followed this series at all you know that I have my software favorites, and I’m not shy about saying so. Also you know that I try to evaluate these programs fairly, based on how affordable they are, how easy they are to learn, and how well they work. In most cases, I highly recommend you download demos when possible, and try the programs for yourself.
These creative writing programs do not replace your word processor. They are merely tools to enhance your ability to create. None of them write your book for you, and editing and formatting are best done in programs set up for that purpose. There are some better suited to writers and the way their brains work than others. WriteWay is one of those, although as you will see it is more suited to outliners than those of you who are “pantsters.”
Affordability: WriteWay Pro runs about $35-$40 although the reason for the timing of these posts is NaNo is right around the corner, and if you follow their posts and join the event on their website, you will often get discount offers on this and other programs (although you should have already been prepping for Nano. See this post from Kristen Lamb for more on preparing). This falls right in line with other software, including the one I use the most, Scrivener. It is less expensive than Character Writer which we explored here, but does not have the same features.
Learnability: The user interface on this program is very intuitive. The ribbon includes tabs for scenes, story boarding, characters, composition, research, and more. These pop open in separate windows that you can move and resize, allowing you to still work on your manuscript while viewing them, although the split screen is not as intuitive as it should be, and the placement of the windows sometimes less than ideal. That being said, one of the greatest features of this program is a word count/goal tracker.
Clicking on this pops out a separate window like the one above. It allows you to set goals, both daily and overall, and tracks progress for you. To see where you really are for NaNo? This is a fantastic tool, and will either keep you on target or drive you to drink. As an author, either way you win!
One minor issue in this category is user support. The program makers do not have the best support system, there are not many forums online, and sometimes help just isn’t—well, that helpful. If you are a nerd like me, that’s okay. Most of the time you can figure it out. If you aren’t you might want to factor the help or lack thereof into your purchase.
Compatibility. Here is the Achilles heel of this software. You can save your work in some common formats, but there is no offering of this software for Mac. No, you did not read that wrong. A creative writing software that will not work on your Mac or the popular portable platform the iPad? Yep, unless you are also running Windows on your Mac (something we discussed here) you are out of luck.
The End (so to speak). So is this software worthwhile? Well it could be, but for the money features and support are somewhat limited. However, if you like the format, and it helps you be more productive creatively, it could be a good fit for you. My official recommendation? Look around the website, and download the demo here. Try if for a bit, and see what you think.
Just do it before NaNo. I catch you wasting your writing time playing with software in November, you may be in trouble.
Until next time.