Tools to bring out the novelist in you


Virtual Typewriter screenshotIt was 170 years ago today that Jules Verne was born, author of one of my favourite books, Around The World in 80 Days. Verne actually started out life as a lawyer and it took encouragement from the likes of Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas for him to succeed with his writing. There’s little chance of you meeting either of them to inspire you, not least because they’re dead, but there is software out there to help get the ink, or more accurately the keyboard, going.

The biggest problem many writers have when starting out is not a lack of words but a lack of structure. It’s therefore wise to use a few tools to help you order your thoughts and writing before embarking on a project. yWriter is dedicated to helping aspiring novelists to get their structure right so they can concentrate on the writing. yWriter includes helpful tools like a word count (including break-downs by individual words and how many times they are used), a time line, story outline, and scene summaries. If you’re one of those people who constantly writes down ideas on scraps of paper or text files as they come to you whilst you are writing, then a better way to keep track of them is with Text Block Writer.

If ideas are constantly coming to you thick and fast and you jump from one writing project to another, then SuperNotecard can help out. It’s designed to help you separate fiction and non fiction projects as well as define character and plots before you go too far. Finally, if it’s just aesthetics you’re looking for, one of the coolest writing programs you’ll find is Visual Typewriter. If you can remember when writing a page of text involved bashing away on a typewriter, then you’ll love this. It doesn’t come with many formatting options but it does come with a spell checker and of course, authentic key tapping sounds and carriage return effects. It will even read out what you’ve written!

Of course, none of this software can make you a good writer. That part is entirely down to you although if you’re looking for a bit of advice about essential ingredients that you’ll need, these top ten tips are a good start.

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