There is no shortage of writing software available, both free and commercial, for the eager writer to expel their stories into and unto the world. I would even go so far as to say there are too many options. There isn’t much value in having so many flavors of what are essentially iterations of the same program – “light-weight featuring full-screen, typewriter sounds, LaTeX support, etc”.
With so many options out there what is the best writing software for windows? As far as I’m concerned the only correct answer is Scrivener.
I don’t hide the fact that I’m enamored with Scrivener for Windows, even if it isn’t quite as feature-rich as it’s Mac version. Whatever features are missing… are features I’m not missing. Although, it would be nice if there was the option for typewriter sounds, which is a little trite but there is something about hearing old-school typewriter sounds that can be inspiring.
Yeah, you could pick any of the numerous writing tools available, or even fully-fledged word processors like Microsoft Word or LibreOffice Writer, but they just don’t stand a chance in comparison to Scrivener and are the wrong tools for the wrong job. Finding, adding, removing scenes, and rearranging entire sections, is infinitely easier in a Scrivener project than it ever could be in long-form text editors and word processors.
Others who are fans will tell you that their favorite feature is the cork board; Not I.
Others might fawn over the ability to drag all of their research into the project and have it in one convenient location; Nope, that’s not what impresses me the most.
Others will enjoy the ability to tag and color code their scenes as they write them; Meh.
I’m not suggesting these opinions are wrong or these features aren’t useful or awesome. These features all sum to a brilliant piece of writing software. But they aren’t what I enjoy the most about Scrivener; They are all cool features but are the frosting on the cake.
What I appreciate so much about Scrivener is it gets out of the way and lets you write, while always being ready to support you with all of the features contained within. It takes the brilliant idea of separating chapters and scenes into individual sections, as found in yWriter, and makes it all far more flexible and refined.
Start a new project, add a chapter folder in the draft/manuscript section, add a scene file under this chapter, and away you go! Want to enter full-screen so there are no distractions, and maybe even have a custom font and colors for full-screen and custom background to keep you inspired? Go right ahead and go full-screen! Customize that full-screen font, and that full-screen background to keep you inspired.
Close Scrivener and your work is already saved.
Scrivener gets out of your way and lets you create and manipulate the structure of your writing project with ease – just drag and drop. The creative process is easy and without hiccups or interruption. Open, write, close, done!
I mean, if yWriter had a decent spell-checker that checked as you typed, instead of when you manually trigger the check or on opening of a scene, then I would have liked it a lot more. If yWriter wasn’t so clunky and inherently buggy I would have liked it a lot more. If Scrivener didn’t completely outshine yWriter in all regards plus more then I would have stuck with yWriter, but through gritted teeth.
Scrivener is powerful, customizable, and can output in so many different formats that you won’t be left wanting. Considering the amount of shine and polish in the Windows versions when it’s considered a lesser version of Scrivener for Macintosh… just, wow.
The biggest hurdle everyone has, after coming to grips with the notion of breaking their projects up into chapters, scenes, and maybe even sub-scenes, is understanding the array of options available when finally compiling their project. If you selected the appropriate project template when first creating each project you are usually good to go and can hit the compile button and take what Scrivener outputs and run with it, but if you want to tweak things within Scrivener so they are “just” right there are a number of settings you can adjust to format the project to your specifications.
Scrivener is powerful at the end while staying out of your way during the creative cycle. The paradigm shift from one long string of text to a series of scene chunks and chapters is profoundly freeing, and everything else that Scrivener brings to the table just adds to the awesome.