On Writing  

Software for Tough Writers

© August 2004
DeborahAnne MacGillivray




There are all sorts of programs designed to help writers…many are handy for reviewers, too. So let’s check them out. I have divided them into two sections: first the Freeware version and then the Paid options. Quite of few of the programs for purchase offer a download trial of 15 days to a month. I suggest you check out their websites and if you are interested in one of them paid versions then download the trial and take it out for a “test drive”, see if you like the feel of the program, how easy it is to use, does it accomplish what you want, before buying them.



This program is a desktop calendar that is so neat. It has a choice of skins for your calendar. Put the mouse on any date, double click and it will open a message box. You can write in reminder/date for important times. Maybe you have written a review, but you cannot post it until its release. Just type in the title, and the day of the release, you will get a message box flashing to remind you. The dates can also be set for weekly, monthly and annual reminders.

Back to top.


is a stand-alone text analysis tool that examines a written document and displays statistics about the document. You may either type text directly into the program, open a file, or paste from the Windows Clipboard – You not only see the frequency of words used, but the word count, character count, unique words, percentage of unique words in the document, and a facility to find a particular word in a long document. NOTE: The output from Wurdz can be saved and imported into a spreadsheet application such as Excel® for extreme analysis. Wurdz is free but the author asks that you send him an email and let him know you're using it.

Back to top.


is a software program designed to assist word game enthusiasts in expanding their knowledge of words. It offers more than 3500 word lists and different ways of viewing these lists. Customized lists can be created based on patterns, cryptograms, anagrams, number of vowels, etc.

Back to top.

EBook Builder:

lets you compile your work into standalone, independent E-Books. Features include drag and drop, configurable colors, print, multilingual interface, and it's free!

Back to top.


is a simple program filled with facts about names. You can enter a name to find its meaning, or vice-versa, or find names by gender and place of origin.

Back to top.

Copy Machine:

If you have a scanner and a printer, guess what? You have a copy machine! Don't pay to make copies, make them yourself with Copying Machine. It's small, of course it's free, and if you want it to, it even speaks French!

Back to top.


is a light-hearted aid to assist writers in selecting character names for their writings, or pen names for themselves. The program allows you to select the category of name you want (you may pick different categories for first and last name), and to try different combinations. Several hundred names are supplied to get you started. You can add, edit, and delete the available names.

Back to top.


Ever wish you had someone to read your new draft aloud, just to see how it sounds? How about someone to read your email to you while you open web pages or do routine file maintenance? ReadPlease comes in several European languages including English, reads text via Windows clipboard from any program, comes with 4 Microsoft voices and will even read emoticons! I really love this! Just paste the file into read please and it reads it back to you. Great for catching typos! Comes ina ReadPlease Pro version I highly recommend. You can purchase ATT Natural voices for this one.

Back to top.

Adept Write:

is a small, simple program that will solve your word processing problems. Adept Write is a fully functional, graphical word processor. It has all the useful functions of programs such as Microsoft Word without taking up over 100 MB of your disk space. Adept Write offers its user the options of open, closing, saving, print, print preview, and to find and replace text.

Back to top.

SpellChecker for Internet Explorer:

This is handy for when you are working on line and need to check spelling

Back to top.

Sonar Manuscript Tracker:

will tell you who does have each story, whether a story has been sold or rejected and which stories are gathering dust instead of earning their keep. You can view a list of all your stories and then filter them in various ways (e.g. only show stories, which are available to send out). You can add markets, stories and submissions, and best of all its completely free!

Back to top.

502 Pro PC:
(http://download3.software602.com/pcs2001.exe Suite 2001)

Fast. Compatible. Free. Three words that define today's user requirements for an office suite. 602Pro PC SUITE 2001, the new version of the free alternative to Microsoft® Office, has it all! The suite is composed of four full-featured applications: a word processor, spreadsheet, graphics editor and digital photo organizer.

Back to top.

PDF converter:

Create PDF files from Word Documents

Back to top.

Private Diary:

is a pretty good text editor that is password protected, you cannot edit your diary without the correct password. The default password is "toy", you can change this as soon as you download it and run it. You can save as many documents as you want with powerful encryption.

Back to top.


DoublePage is a Microsoft Word for Windows macro that prints a document in a 2-column landscape format on the default printer. (In some printer drivers that capability is built-in but for most of them it is not.) It will typically print about one page per column; hence, it is a great way to cut down on paper costs and waste. Now it can even optionally print on both sides of the sheet for even greater paper savings! On every page of the printout, it will also optionally add its own special footer giving the name of the document, the date and time it was printed, and the page number. DoublePage will not modify the actual document. Rather, it will create a temporary document in memory, which will be deleted after printing. However, as with any such utility, you should always make regular backups of your files just to be sure

Back to top.

Paid Software


An amazing program for writers And it's affordable, too! At just $39 for Standard Edition and $79 for Professional Edition The absolute do all to create a book – characters, outlines loads of templates, storyboard research files and more.

Back to top.

Microsoft Works:

All writers need Microsoft Work, but many don’t want to pay the high place of OFFICE. A neat alternative is Microsoft Works. Same version of WORD as OFFICE, but a much smaller price. Around $60 or less depending upon where you get it.

Back to top.

Power Writer:

Power Writer's unique work environment allows you to jump from outline to manuscript, from research to character development then back to your manuscript again all without ever losing a beat.
Get rid of all those scribbled notes, discarded outlines and mislaid half-written scenes. With Power Writer everything is all in one place, right at your fingertips, but at the same time out of your way so that it never intrudes on the flow of your writing. $129.00
You can compare the difference between Word and Power writer here:

Back to top.

Story Master Pro:

Story Master Pro is a software product created to help novelist and short story writers plan, work-out and organize story information before writing the first page. Free to try; $139.00 to buy Story Master Pro is a software product created to help novelist and short story writers plan and organize story details before writing the first page. The structured free-form interface provides a comfortable, easy to use work area, which enables you to plan out the details of your story in a manner consistent with your writing style. Discover how planning first and writing later can save time and energy and lead to a more professional product.

Back to top.

Writer’s Block:

Writer's Blocks was developed for the creation of complex documents. Journalists, novelists, authors, researchers, screenwriters, attorneys, students, and technical writers will be more productive with Writer's Blocks. Creating hundreds of index-card-like blocks, you'll capture, organize, outline, and structure your notes and ideas faster than ever before - keeping them on screen where you can use them. By combining our acclaimed visual outliner with our innovative word processor you can now use one tool from brainstorm to rewrite. Powerful features such as AutoScroll (click on a block to scroll your manuscript to the related section), AutoType (auto-complete any word that already exists anywhere your document), AutoSync (reorganize your manuscript by rearranging your blocks), and Auto Script (format a screenplay using the Tab and Enter keys). If you create structured documents or work with large amounts of related text, Writer's Blocks will help you. Free to try; $149.00 to buy

Back to top.


StoryWeaver takes you step by step through the entire process--from initial inspiration to completed novel or screenplay. At just $29.95, StoryWeaver is the affordable program for book creation.

Back to top.

Book Writer:

Book Writer is a word processor and writing environment for creative writers. To give the writer a central hold on a project of multiple chapters, Book Writer provides a Project Manager and a Project Commander. With these, the project is more like a book or manuscript held in the hand than a number of files scattered in the dark of electronic space. Book Writer provides visual interfaces to manipulate a project's files by dragging or clicking book and chapter icons. Book Writer can copy, move, and zip all or selected files in the project all at once. Book Writer can search all files in a project, replace text in all project files, index the project for instant text retrieval, and move from file to file to show the findings. Advanced search features include four ways to search files: plain-text search, regular expressions, approximate, and sound-alike. Find words even if they are misspelled. Instantly find all the lines in your project where you mentioned a particular name, or any word, and move from file to file, line to line by clicking on search results. Book Writer can organize and search the support files for a project, such as research documents or previous works. Just add such files to the project during development, remove later. After indexing, search all your support files instantly. You can use Book Writer's editor and other features without using the Project Manager and Commander. Free to try; $29.00 to buy so it’s another reasonable alternative.



Back to On Writing



HomeBioMy BooksShort StoriesReviewsBook VideosContestsFoutchieRecipes
On WritingScotlandScots HistoryScots LoreLinksAuthors' LinksWeb RingsContact MeMySpace
BlogDawn Thompson

Website design © Moonmonika 2008
Site owned by Deborah MacGillivray
Artwork Lucian de Chenault