Writing Software Review
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Writing Software Review

     When writers get stuck, it is easy to feel frustrated. Years ago, writers feed blank sheets of paper into typewriters. Writers of today’s technology era, have way more advantages. There is the benefit of word-processing, spell-check, online dictionaries and thesauruses, speech recognition, and Google. The options are almost endless.  

     One of the best options, I’ve found is writing software. There are software programs that can help a writer strategize and flesh out that story. If visual aid is needed, there are programs that allow writers to color-code plot lines. There are many varieties out there. Of the ones I’ve tried, a few are my favorites. The following are the software programs I recommend:

 


DRAMATICA PRO

Pros: This program is easy to learn and is excellent for helping to get started, flesh out plot, and helping to understand the dynamics of character, conflict, and complex storytelling. Download a free trial at http://www.dramatica.com/.

Cons: Relying too heavily on this program may cause characters to fall into predictable prototypes.




POWER WRITER

Pros: This program is one of the easiest an most beneficial of all writing software. It helps organize writing, ideas, and research in much the same way as Microsoft Wordbut more efficiently because everything is in one central location. Writers can see their document and outline side by side. They can then color code the plot points to ensure there are no loose ends. Download a free trial at http://www.write-brain.com.

Cons: The downside to this program are the glitches. The note section, called Story Tools, is assigned to individual chapters. As chapters accumulate, it is very easy to lose track of where information and research is located, and Story Tools can not be printed. It can only be cut and pasted. Glitches, however inconvenient, don't stop this program from being one of the best on the market.



THE WRITER'S SOFTWARE COMPANION

Pros: This program is like an interactive writing workshop that offers advice and/or theory on many of the areas where writers may need further development or tend to get blocked, i.e. character, prose, setting, dialogue, plot. Individual categories are right at your fingertips. This software can be purchased at http://www.novalearn.com.


Cons: Demos cannot be downloaded.



NATURAL READER 9.0

Pros: Natural Reader 9.0 can read back whatever text is cut and pasted into it. It's great for hearing those omitted words and helping to tighten dialogue. At $49.99, it is virtually inexpensive. The full (paid) version can covert text documents into MP3 files and has more voice option. Download a free version at http://www.naturalreaders.com/.

Cons: None.




OTHER SUGGESTIONS



WRITERS BLOCKS
This program is like color-coded sticky notes that come together to form a story matrix. It's worth a try. Download a free trial at http://www.writersblocks.com/.


STICKYS
This program is absolutely FREE. It acts like a Post-it on the computer and, depending on whether your computer has speech engines or not, may read back whatever text is cut and pasted into it. Download it for free at http://www.kellysofware.com/software/Stickys.asp.


MASTER FREELANCER
http://www.masterfreelancer.com/software-for-writers.php - This site has many of the software programs and offers Academic and Student pricing.


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