Many people just use a word processing program to write and that works for them. Other people swear by certain dedicated writing programs. In this post, I am going to highlight a few of varying price for you to see if any interest you.
If you are a screenplay writer, whether you’re an industry pro or a hopeful working on your first, Final Draft is your go-to program. Designed specifically for film and television, this program will help you organize everything from formatting your screenplay to brainstorming to script breakdown. The format of a screenplay is extremely important, and many movie studios opt for the format used in Final Draft. Another very popular program is Movie Magic Screenwriter. There are others out there, potentially cheaper, possibly less complicated, and less robust, so it might be worth a look around.
If you are writing just about anything else, you have plenty of options. There’s Scrivener, which is a beast of a program that takes a long time to learn. However, if you self-publish like I do, it is easy to export files to places like iBooks or Amazon. It’s much easier to move sections around if they would fit better somewhere else, and there is a storyboard-like feature to keep your character details and plot straight.
For PC users, there’s always Microsoft Word, which most of us have used at some point in our lives. It’s a popular file format, too, which makes it easy. Mac users tend not to have the same (relatively) smooth user experience with Word, so Apple created Pages, a similar app with more of Apple’s style. You can even work on your book from your iPad or on your PC through the cloud. And, unlike Word, it’s free.
There are more options for the budget-conscious.There is WriteMonkey, a free program that looks suspiciously bare-bones but has a lot of power. It is a bit on the minimal side, but that is intentional: a lot of the options are hidden so that it is less distracting. Known as zenware, they appeal to those who don’t like a lot of user intervention in order to work. There are plugins you can add by donating to the developer. Some of these include sentence highlighters or a corkboard feature.
What if you’re familiar with Word but don’t want to shell out the money for Office? Then the open-source program LibreOffice is perfect for you. It has many of the features you’re used to but without the expense. The good news here is that it has all the office software you could possibly need, the price is right, and you will find yourself pretty familiar with it from the get go.
No matter what you use, make sure you back up your writing somewhere, whether it is a cloud backup or something physical like a flash drive or a hard copy. Protect yourself and your writing by not leaving anything to chance and having more than one copy of everything you write!