Who would like to recommend some creative writing software?

Tim Newman, occasionally of this parish, would like some recommendations about creative writing software.

My one of Open Office seems not to be enough…..

29 thoughts on “Who would like to recommend some creative writing software?”

  1. Another vote for scrivener. Jers Novel Writer is a free, similar application- unsure if it’s on Windows, as I’ve only used the OSX version.

    Alternatively, write in a text editor, and assemble manually into a formatted MSS

  2. I had no idea that such a thing existed. Now that I do, I shall try to forget it, and continue to imagine that the things I enjoy reading have not been ghosted.

  3. Tim, Scrivener comes in IOS, OSX and Windows flavours- the link in Matthew’s reply is for IOS.

    The Devil’s Kitchen tweet has the desktop version

  4. I’ve used LyX before for engineering papers, but you can use it for any document format. It’s a neat frontend for LaTeX which lets you concentrate on content while it sorts out the layout and formatting. I found the time learning the software in the beginning more than made up for faffing around with Word at the end.
    On the other hand, Scrivener seems to be almost an industry standard for this kind of thing, so Tim should probably use that 🙂

  5. @ jgh,

    That answer reminds me of a time years ago on a forum when somebody was asking for recommendations for web-building software, and somebody responded with “Notepad”.

  6. I found Scrivener too fiddly and distracting (I’m a professional writer under another name, BTW), but then I write sequentially. That is, I get Chapter 1 reasonably complete before starting Chapter 2.

    Scrivener is excellent for certain sorts of writers and writing, especially when you need to do a lot of research. However, for fiction written sequentially I strongly recommend FocusWriter:


    It’s free (though I sent the author some dough) and cross-platform, so I can work equally happily on this MacBook or my Linux desktop. You can modify the colours, fonts, etc., etc., just as you please and even define more than one ‘theme’.

    For many of the other functions Scrivener offers, like keeping track of chronology, a spreadsheet is more than adequate.

    I suggest you download both FocusWriter and Scrivener and compare them, then (natch) choose whichever better suits your way of working. Scrivener gives you a month’s free trial.

  7. WrittenKitten.

    Every 100 words you write brings up a random image of a kitten (or puppy or whatever you want).

    It doesn’t help with content or formatting but at least you keep generating copy

  8. Writing is a little like most things in life in that you have it or you don’t. That said, writing in general is reckoned to be ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration – a double whammy for yours truly.

  9. @Thomas Fuller:

    Focuswriter (or one of its many clones) is excellent for no distraction, just-get-the-words-down work.

    It was exactly what i was thinking of when i suggested a text editor plus assemblage earlier on.

    Although (when I’m not using focuswriter) I do first drafts on a typewriter and rewrite into Scrivener for editing and mss production.

    Forget emacs/Vi/ etc.-Olivetti is proper hardcore.

  10. I write my stuff in Emacs and LaTeX, which causes some consternation when people ask me for an editable copy.

  11. Reading all this, I feel like a chap who pulled a gal who turns out to wear a padded bra, fake eye lashes and false teeth.

  12. @Mr Lud,
    But at least she creates her manuscripts using a self-written text editor on Haiku OS for SPARK64!

  13. I used to use Scrivener for ebooks, but switched back to LibreOffice when I started writing print books. Much easier to format it for print and convert to an ebook than to go the other way.

    (Though, frankly, LibreOffice produces at best competent print books, and not good ones).

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