Software Death Match: YWriter vs Scrivener

The first writing software I ever used was Simon Haynes’ Ywriter. By then, I’d finished a novel in Microsoft Word–one huge, unendingĀ  scroll of a document–and I was mired in revising. I knew I needed something different. YWriter is what I found. It’s free, and the guy who programmed it is a writer, himself, so he’s not just guessing about what features a writer needs. It’s easy to use, and streamlined, and I’ve used it ever since. It also happens to be free (with a tip-jar type option.)

I’ve always been happy with the software, and I should make that clear up front. I’m a huge fan of YWriter. It would probably take a force of nature to make me switch permanently.

However, I’m going to give Scrivener a shot.

Well, half a shot. I’m going to copy everything I do there into YWriter. So, I can quit any time I want.

The Scrivener program is something I’ve heard a lot about, and a lot of people are fanatical about it. There’s also a NaNoWriMo free-trial, so now’s a good time.

The big reason why I didn’t choose Scrivener in the first place is that back in the day, when I was making that decision, it only ran on Macs. So, there you go. Decision made for me. I played around with the Linux beta for a while. It was pretty bare-bones at the time, and I never got as far as finishing a project in it.

There’s a learning curve. And in my opinion, that just isn’t there with YWriter. YWriter is probably a little less flexible… just a limited number of folders you can nest things in… but if you’re familiar with novels and computers, you’re pretty much good to go as soon as it’s installed.

I’m giving Scrivener another shot this November. I won’t actually be writing my novel into it directly, but I will type it in and see how the organization structure works for me. (Since I already have software I know and like, I’ll also be copying the novel into the brand-new version of YWriter (Version 6! Where does the time go?)

And since I think a lot of the rave reviews come from people who are comparing it to Microsoft Word, or other office software, I’ll post my thoughts so you can have an apples to apples comparison from someone who’s actually used other dedicated novel-writing software.

Shout if there’s anything in particular you would like to know.