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The Best Things in Writing are Free

The best things in life are free and so can it be with your writing tools.  A few years ago I discovered freeware.  Freeware is software that is available at no charge or an optional charge ( i.e. asking for donations ).  Being somewhat of a skeptic, it took me a while to trust freeware.  After all who would invest their time, energy and sometimes money into designing a great program and then just give it away?  As we writers write for sheer joy, apparently there are people ( I won’t call them über geeks ) who love programming for the sheer joy of it.  These wonderful people then put their creations out on the net for you and I to use at will.    I have found the following  little jewels indispensable:

1. yWriter –  A word processing  program for writers that lets you write scene by scene and chapter by chapter.  Once you have written a few scenes you can drop and drag to change the order or move them to different chapters.  You can print out reports that give you a synopsis of your book and includes chapter outlines.  It also has a storyboard function.  There is great support through a yahoo groups forum.  It does not have as many editing features as WORD or Open Office ( another free program), but you can easily export to another program if you need more editing tools. (I hear Celtx is good for scriptwriters.)

2. idailydiary – I’m a pretty boring kinda girl so I don’t keep a personal diary.  However, I have what  I refer to as  “freestyle days” where I just write with no particular novel in mind.   I’m always looking for ways to organize these ramblings so I can use them later if they fit a particular project.   I had recently read an article about  journaling and how it could stimulate your writing life, so I downloaded some software.   Now I maintain a couple of diaries for my characters.  (My female assassin has some real juicy stuff going on) I’ve tried a couple of different programs, but I find idailydiary very easy to use and the interface looks nice.  You can also password protect it from prying eyes.

3. Treepad – Treepad is an organizational tool.  The best way to explain it is it works like Windows explorer where you have folders inside of folders.  The folders are nodes and they contain articles.  The articles are where you write information.  It’s a good way to organize information that you like, but aren’t ready to use or to store research for a particular project.  You can use images and links.

4.  Syncback – Syncback is a program that lets you synchronize files on your hard drive to an external drive or a flash drive.  What I like is that you can create different profiles that it saves.  So if I want to sync only Red Earth Stories files in one place I can do that and I can create a profile for my legal stuff to save somewhere else without having to designate what I want saved and where it goes every time.

In support of full disclosure, treepad, idailydiary and syncback all have versions that you can upgrade to and pay for.   However, the free versions work very nicely.  If you have some freeware suggestions, I’d love to hear from you.  Hope this bit of FREE advice was helpful.

disclaimer: I have no financial interest in any of the aforementioned programs.  However, I do accept donations for my priceless advice.   When using freeware of any sort, do your own homework.  Some freeware is just a guise for malware, worms, viruses and spyware.

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