NaNoWriMo, Writing Software

For those who participate on NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), or just like to write stories or fan fictions, here is a list of programs you might find useful. Most are compatible with Windows or Linux, but the Cross-platform section might include Mac programs. As I don’t own a Mac, I can’t review those programs.

The programs described here have been tested by myself, so I know what I’m recommending. The links point to the official software sites, not to random download sites, so you have no chance of getting “bad” software, unless the makers of these programs themselves are “bad”. Which is unlikely.

Also, I try to only include free (as in “free beer”) programs. Some might also be Free (as in “free speech”), which usually involves both senses of free. There might be a few exceptions, but I’ll try not to include programs that don’t have “workarounds” (WA).

Windows

  • yWriter4
    A simple but powerful Windows-only program that allows you to write stories by chapters and scenes, lets you organize locations and characters with basic information, and several things more.
    Price: Free · Source: Closed · Wine compatible: Yes
  • yWriter5
    The newest version (beta for now) of yWriter. It adds several features such as word count goals, points of view, apparently better file structure, and many other small improvements.
    Price: Free · Source: Closed · Wine compatible: No
  • Roleplaying City Map Generator
    A city layout generator. It creates realistic villages/towns/cities with lakes, rivers, streams, woods, deserts, buildings, city walls, roads, streets, etc. The graphics are not detailed, which is why I said “layout.” It allows you to export the generated map into an image, and it comes with a decent city name generator with several useful settings (such as length and amount of words).
    Price: Free · Source: Closed · Wine compatible: No
  • AutoREALM
    A realistic map designer for roleplayers – or writers, like us! It looks intimidating at first, but it’s fairly simple to use. It allows you to add symbols on your map (mountains, castles, etc.). The end result is amazing, and you don’t feel silly with your hand-drawn map full of flat lines and unrealistic borders.
    Price: Free · Source: Open · Wine compatible: Yes

Linux

  • Writer’s World Maker (WWMKR)
    Similar to yWriter4, but it aims to be more. Currently in development, but the character profile is far more detailed than in yWriter4. Linux only.
    Price: Free · Source: Open · Wine compatible: N/A
  • BasKet
    A KDE application for Linux systems, it’s a level-based. WYSIWYG note-taking monster. Some say, similar to OneNote, though I can’t confirm or deny.
    Price: Free · Source: Open · Wine compatible: N/A
  • KnowIt
    Another KDE program for Linux, very similar to BasKet, except it’s plain text only.
    Price: Free · Source: Open · Wine compatible: N/A

Cross-platform

  • CmapTools
    A powerful concept map designing software.
    Price: Free · Source: Closed · Wine compatible: N/A
  • FreeMind
    A cross-platform mind map software.
    Price: Free · Source: Open · Wine compatible: N/A
  • OpenOffice Writer
    OpenOffice is a Microsoft Office alternative, and OpenOffice Writer is the equivalent of Microsoft Word.
    Price: Free · Source: Open · Wine compatible: N/A
  • AbiWord
    A small Word replacement, it has spell-checker and it works great on any operating system. Great alternative if you don’t want an entire office suite.
    Price: Free · Source: Open · Wine compatible: N/A
  • Writer’s Café
    A program that is specifically aimed at fiction writers. It allows you to organize characters and locations, scenes, chapters, etc. More or less like yWriter4, but with a few more bells and whistles.
    Price: $65 (WA) · Source: Closed · Wine compatible: N/A
  • GRAMPS Genealogy System
    A great tool to detail your characters’ families and keep everyone’s profiles.
    Price: Free · Source: Open · Wine compatible: N/A
  • StorYBook
    Another program aimed at writers, with the chapter/scene structure, characters, and locations.
    Price: Free · Source: Open · Wine compatible: N/A
  • VUE NEW!
    A visual environment to organize digital information. Basically, a powerful concept map tool.
    Price: Free · Source: Open · Wine compatible: N/A

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