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Best Free Novel Writing Software for Windows and Mac

Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting out, having the write software can make your job easier as well as protect your data. I’ve rounded up what I feel to be the best free writing software for both Windows and Mac, as well as some extra tips that can help you store and publish your data.

If you’re not looking to spend big bucks on many of the commercial writing software available, I’ve got some great options available for you. Why would you want to use a free writing program over a commercial one? For several reasons:

  1. Free! Who doesn’t like free?
  2. Some of them are written for writers, by writers. This means many of the features are well thought out and beneficial to the writing process.
  3. You may just be starting out writing and not sure if you want to make the financial commitment to buying an expensive software package.

Windows

1st Place: yWriter

This is a popular option among writers. It was created by writer and computer programmer Simon Haynes, and is designed to help you organize your novel into chapters and scenes. This is the program I use when I decide to sit down and write.

 

 

 

 

2nd Place: Blurb BookSmart (Windows and Mac)

BookSmart is a great piece of software that Blurb provides for you to create books (and publish with them as well). It’s well laid out software that is also picture friendly (think kids books/comics/etc). The great thing about BookSmart is you can use it to layout your novel and see what the final product will look like.

 

 

 

3rd Place: Storybook

Like yWriter, Storybook is designed to help you organize your writing. You can organize your writing into chapters and scenes, and view it chronologically. One of the really cool features of Storybook are the charts. They allow you to take a look at your writing in many different ways.

 

 

 

Mac

1st Place: Jer’s Novel Writer

Jer’s is a popular program for Mac writers. It’s not super fancy, but it does have a clean interface and is very stable.

 

 

 

 

 

2nd Place: Blurb BookSmart (Windows and Mac)

BookSmart is a great piece of software that Blurb provides for you to create books (and publish with them as well). It’s well laid out software that is also picture friendly (think kids books/comics/etc). The great thing about BookSmart is you can use it to layout your novel and see what the final product will look like.

 

 

 

 

 

3nd Place: Bean

Bean is a word processor, but it has many features that can help you in your writing process. One of the great features is a full screen writing mode. It also allows you to do page layouts and it can autosave and create backups.

 

 

 

What Next?

My first suggestion, if you’re serious about writing, is to encrypt your data files. Most programs don’t offer this feature, but you can use a tool like Truecrypt to create an encrypted drive and store your data files on it. Then just mount your Truecrypt drive before launching you writing program and you’re all set.

Now that you have a well written book or novel, what do you next? Thankfully, this day in age you don’t need to be printed by a big publisher. There are several great options in the self publishing world thanks to the internet. Since I haven’t published a book through any of these websites, I won’t rank them. I’ll list them here for you and you can see which one best meets your needs.

- Blurb

- Lulu

- Xlibris

As you can see, there are a ton of options for you writers just starting out or looking to change the software you use. There are also some great web based writing tools, but I decided to leave them out of this article. Unfortunately with most web-based software, you may end up opening another tab and spending all day on Facebook.

What program do you use to write? Have a suggestion for a linux writing program? Let us know in the comments!

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  • http://www.professionalwritingsoftware.com/ Dacey

    There are various writing software that works with mac and windows but i like the ywriter and literal software since these software provide distraction free writing software and various advanced tools.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chelli.lady.flower Chelsea Flower

    Nice blog!

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  • http://silenciobarnes.com Silencio Barnes

    I made my own list for free novel and fiction writing software – http://writinghood.com/writing/free-novel-and-fiction-writing-software/ – Our choices are completely different except the first one, yWriter – definitely one of the most powerful free writing tools available. The creator still updates it regularly too.

  • Lloyd Edwards

    One excellent word processor that is not often mentioned but is excellent is the Kingsoft word processor. It is a pretty close clone of MS Word for Windows, but its outline works, unlike MS Word’s. Kingsoft offers a spreadsheet and a slide presenter similar to Powerpoint. And it’s all free.
    You don’t really need specialized software to write a novel or a non-fiction book. The Kingsoft word processor has a tabbed interface, so that you can keep open an outline, lists of characters, locations, and scenes, and the working text all at once. Beautiful!

  • capngp

    Encrypt the files? Must be a tough neighbourhood! Better shred the proofs too. Seriously, be careful of usb backup drives. I have lost several, and when they go, your files are gone. I have had good luck with net drives, and hot swap internal drives (CRU makes them). Always have at least 2 separate physical backups. Many keep one backup at a separate physical location. Don’t blow off regular backups. Measure how willing you are to loose your data against the backup effort. Cloud storage might also be a solution. With some care, your writing might even survive for others to read. Don’t suffer the agony of a disk crash in the middle of your final chapter. Encryption will probably insure there is no chance of recovering any data from a failing drive, so it seems excessive to me. I suppose if you are writing a tell-all on your marriage or a playboy column it might be appropriate.

  • Miss Alister

    This was the most helpful post on the best free writing software to be had…and I looked long and hard! Eternal thanks.

  • Juile

    I tried to get to the Storybrook site, but it asked me translate to German, only to tell me that the site was for sale. :( You might want to update you links. I’m looking at yWriter though :) Thanks for the info.

    • http://www.themodernguy.com kanundra

      Ya it looks like Storybook’s site is down. yWriter is awesome, I hope you like it.

    • HmmLetMeThink

      Storybook ran into some, uh, legal troubles. Yeah, they probably ain’t gonna be back. I recommend Ywriter. It’s hands down, the best free novel writing software out there, If you’re in need of a good tool and your direct deposit hasn’t come in yet — if you know what I mean, Writeway pro is only $35, and IT’S WORTH EVERY PENNY!

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