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A screenshot of a novel project in yWriter.
A screenshot of a novel project in yWriter.

yWriter is a free novel-writing program designed by Spacejock Software, currently in its fifth version. It was created by NaNoWriMo participant Simon Hayes, author of the Hal Spacejock series of books. It is free to use, but those who wish to support the creator can register the software for a fee.

The program is a novel-specific word processing program which creates each novel as its own project in a folder that holds the actual words, notes, backups, and so on. A project breaks down into chapters, which break into scenes, each into its own .rtf file; this makes it easier to move scenes around within the novel structure. Each scene can be designated a completion level from outline through final draft. Scenes can be assigned a POV character, and characters can be tracked by their number of scenes. Scenes can hold outline descriptions and be assigned different priorities as well.

yWriter comes with tools many writers will find useful, like a space to hold character descriptions, location listings and general project notes. It will back up work automatically on a daily basis, as well as on command. yWriter can import projects easily from text or previous yWriter projects, and can export into a wide variety of formats, including ebook, RTF, and HTML, and can export the whole project or individual scenes and chapters. It also has several features specific for Nanowrimo, such as a scrambling feature (for Nano validation) and an option to set up a word count goal; the program will then devise a work schedule for you, letting you know if you're ahead or behind.

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