Now that you have an outline for your story, and might have even done some storyboards, it is time to write that first sentence. The white paper is blank before you, screaming at you, daring you to begin. But wait! Don't make the #1 writing mistake. Don't fall into the old trap of creating your story on paper. Use modern technology. Pick a software to help you.
I have a long history with hardware and software. I started with my first computer in 1983 with a Dico-media Computer that had a 12-inch spinning flexible platter that you slid into a locking slot to boot up the machine that looked like something off Star Trek. The 7-inch screen was so bright it would give you a headache. After that, my company in Dallas sent me out to find a computer that would make graphics, and I found the first Apple computer. We bought 2 of them for $10,000 each. The tiny screen was black and white and prone to lock up, but we transitioned from zip tape and Xacto knives to postscript printed transparencies from the tiny computer machine.
We have much more sophisticated options for writing nowadays. Here are my top 3 software picks that I use regularly.
Google Docs is one of the most popular software solutions for several reasons. First of all, it is free. It is an online application, so as long as you have the internet, you can get to it. You will want to buy some storage space eventually, but you can start without the extra 99 cents a month to get 50 gigs of space.
The program automatically saves your documents, so you will never lose them. One of my favorite tricks is to highlight a word in the document and choose HEADING from the menu. That will put the word in the left column as a heading. I use this as a chapter heading along with the Title page, Author's Notes, Research, etc.... for whatever you need. Then you can see all your chapters and with one click, can bounce to that page in the document.
This program may be the most popular one out there. It has a huge company behind it, and most of the bells and whistles that you need. When done with your manuscript, you can download it as a .docs, or pdf for uploading to the book formating software of your choice. I have used InDesign, or Atticus for the next step.
Atticus is a new software from Wyoming that is extremely helpful. Take your .docs into it by dragging and dropping to see what your new book looks like in seconds. With very little input about Author, Title, Copywrite, etc... and you can choose from many styles of formatted page. It's incredible.
The Home Page of Atticus is simple. Upload a manuscript or start a New Book and fill out some info to start. You can upload a graphic for the book cover too. Then click on the WRITING button at the top.
Atticus recognizes the heading and makes a binder on the left, similar to Google Docs. It has similar buttons at the top for formatting. To see what your book might look like in a print book, iPad, or cellphone, just click on the FORMATTING button at the top.
Boom! There it is in print form with chapter headings in a font of your choice. When you pick the look you want, you are ready to download a copy and upload it to Kindle Direct Publishing. It really is an excellent program, BUT...
It comes with a price. This one has a lifetime license for $147.00. If you cough up the dough once, you'll never pay again. As long as they stay in business, you'll have the program. Maybe that's a big if, but I thought it was a good risk. It has been a great program so far, for me. I even skipped Google Docs on my next Huber Book, to test it out as a one-and-only software. If you are not ready to pay that high a bar, don't worry. You can take your free Google .docs or pdf directly to KDP publishing if you are self-publishing. If you are submitting to a publisher and writing for spec., then Google Docs may be all you need.
Scrivener is another program that I enjoy, and have written one book with it. It has a cost of about 40 dollars and is more robust than Google Docs. It is made for writers, with extras like notecards to simulate pinning cards to a wall of your outline. It has Character sheets and much more.
Binder on the left, and notes on the right help with an area to paste in graphics or your outline for quick access. This is software on your computer, so you have to save it somewhere safe. There are too many options to discuss right now, but one that makes Scrivener stand out is the corkboard.
I really like the split screen and corkboard for saving helpful info to build a complex storyline. With the research needed on my Perth Incident, this was a great way to organize photos of Perth Australia from 1880. You may also notice that buildings, Australian sayings, and Perth History are all cards on the corkboard. Really helpful stuff, to enable finding the info you had somewhere last month.
There are too many helpful software programs out there to ignore. Find the one for you, and speed through that novel that you have been dreaming of writing.
"As iron shapens iron, so one sharpens another,"Proverbs 25:17