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Which Writing Software Should I Use to Write My Book?

Dear Editor…

I’ve recently been inspired to write a New Adult novel. I have a pretty clear idea of what I want my book to be. I’ve never written a book before so I decided I would do some research and came upon your book Writing New Adult Fiction. I’ve read a good part of the book and think it can definitely help me as I move forward with my story. The only thing I’m not quite sure about yet is which software/app I should use to write my book. I’ve heard of a couple but I’d really like to know which ones you would recommend I use. Thank you so much for your help!

Best regards,

Dear Veronica…

The best choice for you is the software that facilitates your unique creative process rather than impedes it. I’m comfortable with Word so I use it exclusively, as do many writers I surveyed this week via social media. After receiving your question, I posted, “Writer friends: Your fav writing software and why?” The detailed responses were so illuminating I’ve compiled them anonymously as a pdf for you: Writing Software Testimonials. (Dear readers, I’d love to hear your fav and why.) Many writers shared that they use different programs at different stages of writing. Well-known  Scrivener is beloved for features that help organize the story, tracking characters, plot lines, etc. If research is part of your project, you might like its split screen feature, allowing you to view research as you write the story. It can be complicated to a newbie but its devotees are many. Sometimes writers use Scrivener for outlining only, or maybe writing a first draft, then move to more straightforward Word (or Pages, Apple’s word processing program). Power Structure was praised for organizing, and Evernote for collecting inspiration and research. Dragon Naturally Speaking Premium is new to me: this voice-to-text software can read your words back to you, helpful for editing because you “hear things your eyes might miss.” Co-writers told me they use Google Docs to work on the same manuscript from separate computers. And let’s not ignore old-fashioned pen and paper. My dear friend Jean Ferris first-drafted all her novels longhand on a legal tablet, then edited as she typed that into Word. Many writers hail the tactile act of putting pen to paper as essential to their creative process. Read the 2-page pdf—it’s intriguing! Whichever your choice, you’ll eventually convert the manuscript to Word, the format most agents, editors, and publishers require for manuscript transmittal.

Happy writing!
The Editor