Writing software? Is it worth it?

Okay, this is slightly off-topic, but I know that many of you are writers and might know some things. I was sniffing around the web looking for software that would help me track my story/article/book submissions. There are lots of options out there…as long as you write on a PC. Which I don’t. So the one I actually did find was full-fledged “novel writing software” called WriteItNow.

I downloaded the demo, and it’s pretty hardcore. For each project, you get all these tabs that help you organize your thoughts on characters, locations, and events. There are also sections for “ideas” and “notes,” and interesting features like event and relationship charts, character generators, and readability analyses. Once you’re ready to print something, the software exports the piece in rich text format (RTF) to be opened in a word processor.

Now maybe I am missing something, but I have never felt the need for anything like this. For every project, I just create another Word file for notes. (I also create another Word file for omitted text, which interestingly in WriteItNow does not get its own tab.) It seems to me that this kind of software would just encourage people to slack off, dinking around in all the fancy tabs rather than getting any actual writing done.

But I’m curious. Have any of you used similar programs? Did it make writing easier and more organized, or did you start messing around with your relationship-charts seven years ago and never return? I may still buy the real software…but I think I need to hear some real-life case studies. If you’ve used something like this, let me know!

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