The problem is there are many software packages geared toward creative writing—everything from ones that guide you through writing a novel to plotting basic story structure. Some packages help you brainstorm, while others don’t even contain a word processor. Not to mention prices that range from $19.95 to over $250. So how do you make sure you are getting what you want? Better yet, what you need?
The features of the software you choose should support you and where you are in your writing journey. If you are starting out, a package with all the bells and whistles may not be your answer. So start by asking yourself some of these questions:
- Do you need help organizing your ideas into an outline? Some products have templates guiding your story through various story structures.
- Some programs include a series of questions about characters, settings, and conflicts to spark creativity. Do you need help in any of these areas?
- Are you interested in a package that will help you brainstorm various options for your book? Some packages have a predetermined set of questions to help you think about alternate story lines.
- Do you need more education when writing a turning point, the black moment, or the character’s journey? Some come with thought-provoking questions and help menus that really make a difference.
- What can you afford? Some products allow you to download a trial version. I suggest doing this before putting any money on the table.
- Can you do the same thing with what you currently have? Maybe you don’t need help organizing your thoughts, or brainstorming, or getting additional help developing my story structure and what you have works for you.
With your list in hand, you need to research what’s out there. Creative writing software should help you create, organize, and develop your book, and it should be easy to use. Writing can be daunting enough without adding technical issues on top of it.
Also consider the following:
- How easy is it to install, setup and use? Are you comfortable digging into new software? If not, read the reviews and find out which ones are user-friendly.
- If you are technically savvy, then make sure the product has enough help options. (i.e. FAQ’s, customer support, contact information, help screens).
First and foremost, the best creative writing solution for you is the software that will help in your writing journey, not add to the stress.
In future articles I would like to review a few software packages. You can email your requests along with any technical questions you may have to email@example.com. Please put “Write Technology” in the header of the email.
Jennie Atkins has a degree in Information Technology Management and when she isn’t attached to her computer, she is a nearly obsessive gardener.