A woman walks into a coffee shop to find two writers, one writing content for a website and the other a novel. An argument is brewing over which writing software is the best. The novelist swears Scrivener is the one and only, while the content writer asks why yWriter is such a bad choice. An internet-old debate of freelance writers everywhere, Scrivener and yWriter each hold their own when in a comparison. Determine which writing software is best for your personal craft by exploring the pros and the cons.
Why should you use writing software instead of your basic word processing program? Functionality and organization are two of the main factors. Say you are researching a nonfiction book. You’ve got loads of interviews, telephone messages, photos and notes. If you were using a word processor, then each of these pieces of data would be cordoned into a file and then a folder. To access anything you have to open the folder, find the file and copy-paste to transfer the information. There is no way to organize everything you have so you can easily access your data.
When it’s time to write the book, in a word processor you can save each scene or chapter into a separate file. However, once you are ready to print the draft or restructure your chapters, it will take you ages to sort through all your documents. In comes writing software, capable of organizing scenes and chapters using digital index cards and bulletin boards. You can also look at your entire novel at a glance using the indexes and binders. Printing your manuscript or exporting it for publishing is as easy as exporting in a couple clicks. You can also look at the plot line, sort by keyword, or rename characters in a few easy steps with writing software.
Windows Versus Mac Users
Scrivener and yWriter are two types of writing software that allow writers to compile anything from research to chapters in a single location. Scrivener, created by Literature and Latte, was originally created for Mac OS X, but it has since been formatted for Microsoft Windows. Users of the program state that the Windows version is clunkier in terms of functionality than its predecessor Mac. However, if you are like me and have never owned a Mac, chances are you won’t know what you might be missing. The writing software deemed more Windows-ready would be yWriter. Even on the yWriter site, it blatantly states that Scrivener is recommended for Mac OS X users, while yWriter is suggested for Windows PCs.
The most prominent concern of any struggling writer is cost. Scrivener comes with a free trial version that is functional for 30 days’ worth of use. If you don’t use it but one day per month, you can maintain free access for a year and a half. To purchase a copy of Scrivener, it is 40 bucks. Additionally, the license code is sent to you via email, so in case your hard drive crashes or you purchase a new computer, you can upload the paid version as long as you have that access code. Trust me on this; I’ve had to use mine four times since I paid for Scrivener.
If you don’t want to pay anything, then yWriter is perfect for your budget. Created by Spacejock Software, yWriter offers full service without charging a cent. You can opt to register your copy for $11.95 or $24.95, but this registration is mainly a way to support the program financially. You may also receive perks like discounts on book publishing and possible extended features for registered owners.
Miranda B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.