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on January 11, 2010
I've been working for a long time to develop a fresh new thriller series. But I've also been at wit's end over the overwhelming cache of research and background materials for the first novel I've been writing, using Microsoft Word.

In desperation to make faster progress, I've spent several days comparing the benefits and features of a score of the most popular and highly rated creative-writing software packages. My conclusion?

For the host of impressive, comprehensive features and benefits it offers writers, I think "WriteItNow" is simply the best value on the market.

Yes, there are a number of useful creative-writing programs, and they'll all help you organize and get your story down on paper. But if you're a typical writer, and on a shoestring budget, I assume that you want to get the most for your money: a program that delivers a host of useful tools, can conform to the way you write and work -- but at the cheapest price.

Well, then, "WriteItNow" is probably for you.

A worthy competitor, which provides a dazzling array of features and benefits to structure and organize your story, is a program called "Power Structure." However, that impressive program costs three times as much. Or you might consider "WriteWayPro," another excellent novel-writing program that costs exactly the same as "WriteItNow." But while "WriteWayPro" provides many fine features for structuring and organizing your novel, including a graphic storyboard, "WriteItNow" has all of that, too -- PLUS:

* an ingenious story timeline, automatically generated from your plot events

* charts and "Mind Maps," to help you graphically visualize character relationships

* a host of creativity generators, which can help you get past "writer's block" to produce fresh ideas, character names (from a vast database), and even character personality types (based on three different "archetype" systems, including Myers-Briggs and Joseph Campbell); and

*a database of historical period details.

That last is unique to this software program, and useful for anyone writing historical or period fiction. "WriteItNow" incorporates a database of hundreds of details about major events in society, culture, and politics, classified by historical periods. You can instantly access and drop these details into your story to add authentic background and color to your tale.

I can't begin to imagine how much more that great writers could have produced, if only they had had access to this easily affordable, extraordinarily helpful software technology. And if the sheer, daunting organizational tasks of writing a novel have deterred you from starting or finishing your own story, perhaps "WriteItNow" may be the key to unlocking your creative potential, and joining their ranks.

P.S. An update, Nov. 30, 2012:

As I mentioned above, I was working on my debut novel (titled "HUNTER") when I wrote the preceding review. Well, thanks to the terrific organizational features of WriteItNow, I am happy to report that I was able to complete that complex thriller in June 2011, publish it...and then watch "HUNTER" soar to become the #4 bestseller on Kindle on December 3, 2011, and the #1 Kindle title in "Mysteries & Thrillers" and in "Romantic Suspense."

I am absolutely convinced that without WriteItNow, I would NOT have been able to keep track of everything as easily and thus stay motivated to finish the book. I even list it in the novel's "Acknowledgments."

And no -- I was not paid a nickel by the company for this review. I simply, honestly believe it's a terrific product, one that I'll be using on all my future novels.
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on November 21, 2009
I've used all the major writing products on the market and none of them even come close. WriteItNow allows you to keep a novel bible that is easy to use and extremely comprehensive. Each chapter can be broken down into scenes and characters, events, and other items can be linked to your text for easy reference. I would never have been able to write a full-length novel without it. Also, the company is very good at responding to new feature requests and bug fixes.

No other program will get you from start to finish and then allow you to track your agent/publisher submissions as easily as WriteItNow. Plus, it's really less than half the price of its competition, a no-brainer.
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on September 23, 2009
I've used this program (mainly for short story writing) for years. I love the latest version (4), particularly the storyboard feature, which makes it easy to visualize and reorganize scenes and chapters. The writing targets feature is great for keeping you motivated, and I also use the name generator a lot, to come up with authentic-sounding characters.

These are just three of the many tools in WriteItNow, but it is the flexibility of the software that makes it a winner for me.
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on August 6, 2011
Note: This review had been edited...

I've been using this product for about six months now. I've also tried other products (WriteWay Pro, Writer's Cafe, Liquid Story Binder XE). Out of all of these, Write It Now 4 (WIN4) is the best. It's simpler, it has a good feature set, and it's not a quirky as some of the other products that I've tried.

In my previous version of this review, I had knocked WIN4 for its slowness to load, and its lack of portability. Since then, a lot of my habits have changed. I've learned to overcome some of these problems, simply by pre-loading the software in the mornings before I go out somewhere. As I writer, I tend to be mobile, and so I just take my notebook PC with me. Still would like to see a portable version, but since I've given up on the desktop PC model, it's not such a big deal.

I still think that some of the tools are a bit unweildy. I like keyboard shortcuts, and WIN4 has them. I hate that pressing the ALT button doesn't bring up the main menus like in other apps, but this is a minor thing.

Out of all the writing apps that I've tried, WIN4 IS the most stable. WriteWay would crash unexpectedly sometimes, ruining a perfect moment of flow. Alos, WIN4 doesn't require admin access to run (running Windows 7), and so I can lock down the computer and still run this app.

Also, it runs well on a netbook, and I had no graphical issues. The window wasn't oversized, which made it easier to manipulate. Often, on netbooks, I have noticed that certain app windows will be so large when they first open, and they can't be shrunken to fit, because they go so far off the screen. WIN4 handles this well enough, so no complaints there.

Memory usage is a bit higher than I expected, but not awful. It's slow to load up, but then it responds to commands without too much of a hassle. I would like to see more options for changing the color themes, or perhaps customize my own.

Out of all these writing apps, WIN4 is straight-forward, the learning curve flexible. I can open the app and just start writing without having to figure out the app's particular gui options. Writer's Cafe and LSB were nightmarish for this.

All in all, it's a solid program, especially when compared to some of its comeptition. It sells for a reasonable price. It won't do the work for you... that will require your own talent and imagination. But WIN4 does a good job of keeping things organized, and it doesn't get in the way.

One strange thing that I did notice with this app, is that when I tried to run it on a VirtualBox VM, the GUI didn't load properly. The window appeared upside down, and the menus changed to some strange language. It worked fine in VMware... probably just a quirk of the hypervisor then.

The more I use this software, the more comfortable I get with it. As such, I've bumped up my rating from 3 stars to 4.
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on April 20, 2011
Put me down as a very satisfied, enthusiastic user of WriteItNow 4. I've tried other writing software but found it so clunky that I went back to using Word for my manuscript and notetab for my notes and ideas. Talk about a nightmare when I wanted to move scenes around! With WriteItNow, I can move scenes, insert scenes, delete scenes, flesh out characters, write organized notes and ideas, track events, and even see character relationships visually. When I'm ready to send out my manuscript to beta readers, I just export to RTF and all my scenes end up in a single RTF file that I can email or import into Word to format. WriteItNow isn't perfect -- there's no auto-update feature (you have to go to the publisher's site to download updates and install them manually, and there's no way to know updates are available unless you go to the publisher's web site and check), but they're constantly adding new features. I expect that auto-update and other nice additions will be along soon.
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on November 26, 2012
I wish I knew of this product when I wrote my first novel. The use of time lines, character development, dates and places is very helpful. I wish it had more writing-style assistance. Story boards was a new concept for me to get used to. I hope for an upgrade soon that will let me transport all my time-line and character information to other stories and books. I hear they are working on this. Customer email service is very good, personal and swift.
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on August 8, 2013
The most important feature of WriteitNow 4 for me is the flexibility. Offered are sections for Overview, Chapters, Scenes (sub-chapters), Storyline, Timeline, Ideas, character background descriptions, character inter-relationships, events, and locations. It's your choice which of these items to print when exporting the story. The writer is free to use or ignore whichever of these options (s)he desires. Also, the story can be exported as rich text file, plain text, or html.

For me, using the character descriptions, events, and locations helps me develop parts of a story, even if I never look at the text I place in those sections again. (Just typing them makes me think.) In short, it forces me to do some very easy, informal outlining, even though I prefer to just get down to writing. I think that a writer who is naturally disorganized (like me) would benefit greatly from this program.

The software is also great for those days when you want to work on your project, but just don't feel the inspiration to write. You can use this time to informally fill in background information for characters, relationships, events, or locations.

The publisher's website can also be helpful when problems arise, although the only problem I have had was caused when I accidentally ran the program from a backup location--this seemed to confuse the registry.

A small drawback is that some of the keyboard shortcuts do not seem to work. If you're used to using the mouse for menu items, you probably won't even notice this.

I have noticed that, due to the language the program is written in, it seems that the writer is unable to use the '<' symbol (and possibly others) because these will be eliminated by the program. Therefore, the software may be a problem for a text that needs to use math characters. (The only workaround I know of would be to use a substitute character and then export the final document to another word processor and replace the characters there.)

I have also noticed that the HTML export is a little buggy. I have found it much safer to export as Rich Text File and then convert to HTML using Open Office Writer.

Overall I feel that these are small inconveniences in this very useful (and fun to use) software.

Addendum (4/2016): I failed to mention because I had then not yet discovered them) that the software also has a nice dictionary and thesaurus built in and available at all times. I have come to use these on a regular basis.
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on March 8, 2013
The organizational ability is tops and can't be beat. The downfall is the word processor is weak and the spellcheck doesn't find all the problems. One of the reviews for the product said it would do "indexing" but I haven't been able to find that. The company's Customer Service is great - I submitted a question via e-mail and the answer was back in less than an hour and very clear.
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on June 4, 2013
I had to write a few things to familiarize myself with the system. Once I got the hang of it, I was amazed at how easy it was to get down to work! You can backtrack events and characters, and tidy up later. I'm still finding more advantages to this program. I initially started writing a piece without breaking it into chapters first, and I still can't find a way to correct that. The software almost invites you to use it that way, but if you start your writing in chapters you can easily skip back and forth and insert thoughts and passages later on. Also, there isn't any problem inserting additional chapters in between those you may have already worked.
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on October 24, 2010
My husband gave me this software as a birthday gift, and it just may be the best present ever. As a writer, one of the biggest difficulties for me is to organize all my brilliant ideas and get them recorded before I forget them. Ideas do not always come in chronological order, or in the most organized fashion. The user-friendly "WriteItNow" makes it easy to get those ideas down and sorted, so that when you get to that point in your writing process, they are available to you.

I love the Storyboard feature, which allows me to lay out the main events in my book where I can see them all at once. Sometimes, I realize that the order in which I had planned for things to happen is not the best order when I look at them laid out like that.

I am fascinated to see how this software is developed - I think there could be more features added and perfecting done - but for now, just opening up the program and seeing my story spread out before me is inspiring and helps me find the motivation to keep working at it!
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