Well, after spending a long time, doing a lot of writing, the conclusion I have come to is that, out of the writing software I’ve tested I prefer Scrivener. I liked it from day one but thought that I may be biased so I’ve since done a few writing projects on yWriter to make sure of my findings. Don’t get me wrong here; yWriter is a perfectly good writing tool and once I got used to its interface it works fine. It does, however, lack some of the sophistication of Scrivener, I feel. One area of yWriter I don’t like is the spell check facility which identifies a misspelled word, by colouring it, but only offers alternative spellings if you are connected to the internet.
So whilst using it off line meant, for me, using a dictionary. If no conventional book style dictionary is available then substituting letters in the word and pressing F7 to see if the word reverts to black type and thus spelt correctly, is somewhat time consuming. Perhaps I have become lazy over the years of using MS Word, where spellings are highlighted and alternatives offered or even changed, have become the norm’ for me. I have to admit that it was quite fun, initially, looking words up in the conventional way but it becomes a drain on time after a while. Plus if you travel a lot, as I do in my work, a dictionary is another item to be carried.
Whereas Scrivener is a MS Word type interface and spellings are highlighted and alternatives suggested; but unlike MS Word, its English UK based so the ‘s’ is not constantly replaced with a ‘z’. Small difference I know but it does make a difference to us Brit’s. Scrivener was conceived and written by a guy who wanted to write a novel and found using word-processing packages too difficult to work with when the manuscript reaches 80 to 100,000 words. He then focussed his attentions on perfecting the software and is still writing that novel. yWriter was developed by a guy who was a published authour and his focus seems to be the writing of more novels. But that could well be a simplification and I don’t really know their driving desires from reading blurb from their websites.
I suppose you will have to make up your own minds whether you want to pay £33 for Scrivener or if you are happy with yWriter you get the bonus of using it free forever.
I’m certain that both packages, or any of the many other writing software packages out there, have lots of features that I will never use; but for the basic stuff, which I do use Scrivener does it for me. I’m sure the discussion will continue for a long time but it would seem that its really about personal preference.
For Scrivener check out www.literatureandlatte.com
For yWriter check out www.spacejock.com