When I first started writing I sat with a notebook and paper. Then after having to transcribe my scribbles and try and fit things into the already full note page I began writing directly in Word.
I had 30,000 words of my novel in there and it was working great. I used heading, titles and subtitles for chapters and scenes and named them with descriptions of the action taking place so I could find what I was looking for. It was working out quite well. I had a separate document for my locations and one for my characters and one for my timeline. I would have to open all these documents every time I was working and toggle between them as necessary.
I was talking with another writer about my timeline issues and then mentioned I wish I could remember what scenes I felt were complete and which were still in an early draft or second draft or final edit status. That is when she explained to me that there is software for writing and I could purchase Scrivner, which was not that great in her opinion and as the only writer I knew I was taking her opinion as gold, or yWriter, which was her preference.
yWriter is free to download and it was written by an actual published author Simon Haynes, Hal Spacejock series. Here is his website: http://www.spacejock.com.au/ Simon is an author who happens to be a programmer so both sides of his mind work equally well. (I am a not so lucky or well balanced, I am very right brained.)
I downloaded the program and voila I now had a place to keep all my work for my novel(s). I could easily click on the character tab and review their bios, click on the location tab and look at the descriptions and scenes in which that location is used. But for me at the time the piece de resistance was that I could label the scene status as outline, draft, 1st and 2nd edit and done! I could also put in the scenes point of view, upload photos, drag and drop scenes where I wanted them, insert scenes, and so much more I haven't even figured out yet.
I thought I was doing fine with Word until I realized how much better I could be with yWriter. I went back and paid for the software- he does allow you to make a donation and I thought it was definitely worth what I would have paid for another software.
I go to cnet for any advice about computers or phones so here is their review for yWriter.
I am very happy with the organization I have with the program. I have six projects in it and can flip between them and no glitches so far. I make sure that I download my entire project, very easy to do each night to the cloud or a thumb drive just to be safe.
If you are in need of a great way to keep your writing organized and to help you spend less time trying to keep together all the bits and pieces of your novel (character bios, inspirational photos, location details, notes for scenes, etc.) so you can spend more time actually writing then this software is your answer. I hope you find it as helpful as I have.
Thank you Simon Haynes.