The post in which I try to be helpful

When I was starting my first round of rewrites (what I call draft 1.5), I had a heck of a time organizing my manuscript. I am a major pantser, and my first draft was written completely out of order. I typed everything up (yes, I hand wrote it. Never again), into a semblance of order, and started working on filling in the blanks.

I quickly became frustrated with the whole project. At first I had one big document. It got to be too much to scroll through to find a particular passage. So I broke it up, saving each chapter as a separate document. OK. Fine, but when it came time to move scenes around, or insert new scenes and chapters, that quickly fell apart.

So I turned to The Google, the one place I can trust to answer all my questions, to guide me in in its infinite wisdom, to show me the ways of the universe.

I looked up "writing software". Then, because I'm me, I typed in "FREE writing software", and I came up with this:

It's a free writing software similar to Scrivner. At least that's what The Google tells me. I've never used Scrivner myself. After finding yWriter, I looked around, found plenty of people saying it wasn't going to destroy my computer with viruses, (it's free, you never know) so I decided to download the program.
It was the best thing I've ever done. Well the best thing I've ever done in service of my MS.
yWriter is a program that allows you to set up a project, create however many chapters you want, and inside the chapters create however many scenes you need. You can drag and drop scenes and chapters wherever you want. Need to add a chapter? Create a new one, drop it where ever, and renumber the chapters. It's mind bogglingly easy to use.

The program will also import a pre-existing project from a word document, and as long as you already have it broken down into chapters, it will automatically create you chapters and break the manuscript up for you. You can then export it back out to a word document whenever necessary.

To be honest, I don't use 90 percent of the features that come with the software. I don't do much outlining, and I don't have enough characters to use the feature that lists all the characters who might inhabit a particular scene. But it's great for organizing my thoughts as they go down, and there is a text to speech feature that gets a lot of use. It's amazing how many missing and misspelled words you find when you hear a robot read your MS.

So, if you're looking for something that will help you organize your work, is easy to use, is FREE and probably* won't break your computer, you can always check out yWriter here. I'm not pimping it or anything, I just figured I'd share.

*I don't guarantee anything.


  1. Thanks for sharing, this looks great! I've wanted something like this for a while but didn't know you could get them for free, I'm going to download it now. Thanks again! :)

    1. You're welcome, Laura. I hope you find it just as useful as I do.

  2. That chapter by chapter, scene by scene approach to constructing a manuscript is priceless. The software I use I wrote myself, but it's built on the very same premise. I have tried yWriter and liked it (for the most part) and am planning to give Scrivener a try too. But to date, I still use my own because if I don't like how a feature works, I can change the programming. (usually) LOL

    1. I don't even know where to start in writing my own software, so I'll stick to yWriter. I don't ask for much, I just like the ease of being able to move chapters and scenes around.

  3. This sounds great. Thanks for sharing, I'll have to give it a try. I've been using Scrivener lately and it's so nice to be able to group things and move them. One thing I like about Scrivener is it lets you have multiple panes open.

    1. If you're already using Scrivner, yWriter would probably be step down. But it does have the ability to have multiple panes open if you want to toggle between scenes or chapters.


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