FREE Novel Writing Software – and how to use it!

free novel writing software1

This is a guest post from Carey Green, blogger, podcaster, and author of his first novel, Dragon Slayer: Beginnings. Here at Book Marketing Tools, we love anything that helps authors, and this guest post from Carey Green about the free novel writing software he uses is just another way we’re helping you to navigate this world of self-publishing.


I’ve had some folks ask me about the “technical” stuff that goes into my writing process. Primarily, they want to know if I’m using MS Word, some fancy Apple program, or something else entirely when I write on my novels.

MS Word Isn’t Built For Writing A Novel

The answer is that I began with MSWord but became frustrated very quickly. It’s simply not designed for the kind of drag and drop editing that a novel writer needs. Cut and paste is not good for chapters, scenes, etc. because it becomes increasingly difficult to find the right location for your “cut” text as the manuscript gets longer. It’s also next to impossible to keep track of all those cuts and pastes in a way that keeps your head from imploding. (Very painful, I wouldn’t recommend it).

So I went looking for software that was custom built for writers.

On the recommendation of many authors, I found what seems to be the industry standard – Scrivener – but it cost $40. It’s not that I’m opposed to spending money on a quality product, it’s that I’m a beginning writer and need to go the “free” route if at all possible. I’ve had pretty good experiences with free or open source products in the past and I was sure there had to be something designed for novel writers. So, instead of jumping on the Scrivener bandwagon, I kept looking.

yWriter – Free Novel Writing Software

That’s when I found yWriter – a FREE novel editing software designed for novel writers. It’s from, and a guy named Simon Haynes who deserves the nobel prize in literature for this wonderful contribution (Yes, I like to exaggerate, but I DO like this software).

yWriter is everything I was looking for and more. You can drag and drop scenes into new chapters, chapters into new places within the book’s flow, and even keep track of character appearances and interactions behind the scenes so the aforementioned head implosion, or anything remotely similar, does NOT take place. You can also do word searches throughout the entire text of a book, make edits, changes, and do much needed find/replace functions. On top of that, you can keep track of word count, set and monitor writing goals, and use built-in thesaurus and dictionary functionality to hone your craft on the go. You can also self-identify your scenes as “outline”, “draft”, “1st edit”, “2nd edit”, or “done,” to help you keep track of your progress. You can even keep track of items and places that you’ve included in your novel. And you can export to html, text, or RTF formats. Simon has thought of many helpful features that I’m still discovering. Thanks Simon!

You can find yWriter here and download your free copy. The only drawback is that it’s available only for PC and Linux. OS users will have to settle on the $40 Scrivener program.

Get Help With yWriter

I’m planning a Google Hangout to do a live demonstration of yWriter and to answer questions as they come up. If you’d like to be notified of the time and date of that on-line event, please let me know by emailing carey(at)dragonslayerbook(dot)com. And no, I won’t use your email address for any other purpose except to invite you to this one event. I promise.

If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to interact with you!

Enjoy writing your novel in a new, more-intuitive way!

croppednewCarey Green is both a fiction and non-fiction author. His latest work is the novel “Dragon Slayer: Beginnings.” You can connect with Carey at or on Google Plus. If you want to see how Carey uses yWriter, you can watch this video here.

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