What's the best novel writing software for Mac OS X?
February 24, 2005 6:36 PM   Subscribe

What's the best novel writing software for Mac OS X?

I'm slogging through a manuscript right now and I realize that I need something to help me organize this thing. I've got ADD and I'm trying to organize my whole life, but I really, really need it here -- I don't know that I could finish it without some structure. I need something to help me with outlines, character sketches, etc. Scribbling in my Moleskine just isn't working out.
posted by sugarfish to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I can sympathize, but I'll be the first one to say it. Software won't help. Having said that- here are some you can try.

Tinderbox has a strong literary credentials behind it.

Something called Z-write looks to do roughly what you want.

Good luck. Give yourself deadlines.
posted by jeremias at 7:19 PM on February 24, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks, y'all, for the suggestions. I am checking them out right now. Jeremias, I'm curious as to what you mean by saying software doesn't work. Can you expound on that a little? I mean to use such software as a kind of outboard brain, to keep my ideas organized.
posted by sugarfish at 7:57 PM on February 24, 2005

I suppose I should have said that software wouldn't work for me. I have similar issues with organization and I've found the best method is using old-fashioned outlines. Technology can sometimes be a diversion- thinking that all that is needed is the right tool and everything will fall into place.
posted by jeremias at 8:15 PM on February 24, 2005

I use CopyWrite. I like the interface and the minimalist features. It's also been well supported and the developer listens to feedback. Good product.
posted by C.Batt at 8:40 PM on February 24, 2005

I haven't used it for a novel, but were I to sit down to work on that, the first tool I would pull out of my toolbox would be OmniOutliner. It and Notational Velocity are the OSX killer applications -- especially for "outboard brain" tools -- as far as I'm concerned.

If you just want a plain old word processor in which to write a novel, I've heard terrific things about Nisus Writer, and have used (in non-novel applications) Mariner Write and liked it a lot.
posted by majick at 8:59 PM on February 24, 2005

There was an interesting post and discussion on Steven Berlin Johnson's weblog a little while back, centered on a program called DevonThink, that your question reminded me of; maybe you'll find it useful. (I've never used DevonThink so I can't vouch for it one way or the other.)
posted by furiousthought at 9:47 PM on February 24, 2005

There was a discussion of this very topic just last month; I posted an answer in that thread stating that just minutes before the question was posted I'd decided on CopyWrite for my own novel writing needs. I've now been using it for a little under two months, and I'm very happy with it -- in fact, its most recent update includes fullscreen mode, which is a frequently cited advantage to its main competitor, Ulysses.

I've also posted a brief overview of OS X software for writers on my weblog that you might find useful.

Furiousthought mentioned DevonThink; I've been demoing that for a while now and I think I'll probably buy it, along with its sister application, DevonAgent. If your subject matter involves a significant amount of research, I recommend trying them out.
posted by Acetylene at 10:57 PM on February 24, 2005

You might want to try SuperNotecard, which was called Miss Lonelynotes until last week. Based on your question, this sounds like exactly what you are looking for. I'm using it for non-fiction writing, but it's mainly directed at fiction writers, and it's really good. (Recently updated with new features, too.)
posted by litlnemo at 11:14 PM on February 24, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! And Acetylene: thanks for the earlier link. I swear I googled :D
posted by sugarfish at 7:43 AM on February 25, 2005

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