Some more thoughts on WriteWay, now that I’ve had some time to poke with it.

As I’ve said before, the best writing program hands down is Scrivener. And with the impending release of Scrivener 3.0 for Windows, it’s even more exciting.

Scrivener and WriteWay share a tool – the project progress meter. But the difference in how they’re executed actually is the saving grace for WriteWay.

WriteWay has a large display of the percentage of the completed word count on it’s task bar. As you write and then click the save button, you begin to see the completion percentage of the book. It’s an exciting thing to see that you’re 1% done with your book, then 5% done, then… Depending on how much you type, you can find yourself 35% done in just a week! I’ll say this feature being so visible and HUGE actually increased my writing output beyond what it normally was. I think using WriteWay by itself could case one to hit 85,000 words in just 5 weeks, if not a month! I as getting 4,500 word writing days in.

Many of the tools that WriteWay offers are done by Scrivener, and often better. But another useful tool WriteWay has is the Book Synopsis page, which I used to store my story sparks. Once all those are transferred into the book, it’s a simple matter to transform your story sparks into an actual one page working synopsis that can be sent to a publisher or agent.

Another VERY useful tool is the Future Book Ideas database, where you can type in a logline of a future book idea.  No matter which book you’re writing in in WriteWay, you can see the same database.

The Learning curve in WriteWay is not anywhere as steep as Scrivener – but the tradeoff is this means WriteWay cannot do as many functions as Scrivener. The ability to go through and edit the entire book all at once in Scrivener cannot be found in WriteWay, unless I’m missing it somewhere. The Learning curve is mostly learning what the vocabulary of the program is. Scrivener for instance is learning Scrivening mode, Binder and Inspector, for instance. The confusion with WriteWay is learning what the names of the different modes are. I think it probably wouldn’t be a problem if you used WriteWay as your main program.

I think, just from my use of the program, that WriteWay is best for fiction. I’m sure you could use it for Non-Fiction as well – it just feels to me to work better for fiction.

The downside to the program of course is the spell check – but I fear this is a direction that Scrivener is going to as well. A spell check should recognize contractions – bottom line. Can’t, Won’t, Wouldn’t… They should recognize it. If not, then you need to fix it. WriteWay doesn’t recognize contractions, but my trial with Scrivener’s beta of 3.0 shows that Scrivener is apparently switching to exactly the same spell check engine! Wrong direction, Literature & Latte!

The other downside is the bulky interface. Text entry areas are delineated by large bulky areas, similar to the Screenplay planning software Contour. There’s no need to have such large, bulky areas. The display is customizable, but I’d like to see it streamlined, and give you an option on changing color schemes or skins, to allow something other than Cyan blue.

WriteWay I think will become far more popular now that it’s free. I think it’s lack of success was due to it’s bulky interface and a price too high for it. Scrivener has an elegant interface, and it’s exactly the same price WriteWay was. I think perhaps if they’d priced it at $9.99 it would have been more successful.

Another area that seems to be lacking is the lack of customization – you can’t create templates, change or add icons, etc. The interface you have is the interface you have.

Again, the most irritating part of the program is it’s insistence you name all your scenes and chapters. It’s a good planning tool to insist on it, but that’s not my workflow, and it slows me down DRASTICALLY when populating my project with chapters and scenes. As I said in my first review of it, it’s probably something you can turn off in the preferences.

Conclusion

Writing is sometimes enhanced by switching programs from time to time. WriteWay is now freeware (and probably abandonware). I would most definitely acquire this before it disappears forever. You might find that writing in something other than Scrivener from time to time will enhance creativity.