Dramaquill's All Things Writing

May 19, 2009

Writing Software Programs – do you need one?

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Most aspiring writers put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) whenever they can schedule in writing time around their full-time jobs.  Finding time to write can be a daunting task and most writers would encourage any time saving tips and devices.

Common sense tips:

1.   During your writing time, don’t check email or surf the net
2.   Turn off all chat software so you aren’t interrupted
3.   Just get the words down (don’t edit or revise until later)
4.   Have a dictionary & thesaurus handy
5.   Don’t answer the phone – let the machine take messages

But is there more the writer can do to maximize the output of a single writing session?

Some writers swear by software programs. 

But what makes a good writing software? 

1.   Personally, I think “ease of use” and being able to learn the program
       quickly are most important.
2.   Cost of the program versus your budget
3.   Does the program actually help you save time
4.   Is there online help for troubleshooting
5.   Can you basically do the same tasks by using Word

Below are the names of some of the more popular, highly rated writing programs.  Do the research and decide for yourself…DO YOU NEED A WRITING SOFTWARE PROGRAM?

Dramatica Pro http://www.dramatica.com/

Power Writer http://www.write-brain.com/power_writer_main.htm

Story View http://www.amazon.com/Write-Brothers-StoryView-2-0/dp/B00007K3A7

Writer’s Blocks http://www.writersblocks.com/

New Novelist http://www.newnovelist.com/

Character Pro http://www.characterpro.com/characterpro/index.html

Final Draft http://www.finaldraft.com/

Many writing programs offer free demos of their actual programs so that you can try them out before you buy.  Here’s one link that offers several choices:   http://storymind.com/store/info/downloads.htm

My Personal Choice:

I have tried a couple of writing programs over the years but remain most comfortable using Microsoft Word.  I think it’s because I’m so much more familiar with this word processing software that I continue to use it as my first preference.  I’m also still somewhat of an old fashioned writer in that I enjoy using pen and paper when I’m thrashing out ideas.  I get inspired by a wall full of sticky notes and I love to draw plot points and timelines by hand.




  1. I personally use ‘Freemind’ mind mapping software – it is rather good for plotting.

    Comment by Sebastian Blackwell — June 26, 2009 @ 10:56 AM | Reply

  2. Those five criteria you’ve listed are important to keep in mind. I might refine that list for my own blog someday. Of course, I’m focused (almost!) exclusively on free and/or open-source writing software, so #2 isn’t much of a worry!

    Comment by awkisopen — January 15, 2011 @ 4:42 PM | Reply

  3. I still get the most work done by simply using word
    Mind mapping software can be very useful
    Free is great and many programs offer free versions so you can try them out

    Comment by dramaquill — January 21, 2011 @ 9:36 PM | Reply

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