4 Software Programs to Help You Write

Image of Novel Writing SoftwareMany self-publishers go to the first (and probably only) tool they’ve ever known to start writing their book—Microsoft Word.

While Microsoft’s word processor is a very flexible and useful tool, it really wasn’t built for writing novels and other types of books.  Check out these 4 programs that will make your writing experience that much easier.

Smart Edit

Smart EditIt should be noted that no software program is a substitute for a good editor.  You should still have your work looked at by a copy or other kind of editor.  You can make their job easier though by handing them a more polished manuscript.

Smart Edit  is a first-pass editing tool for novelists and creative writers.  The software scans your work and alerts you to areas where there could be issues.  For example it is common for authors to have misused words in their work.  There could also be repeated phrases and other mistakes missed during the writing process.

Smart Edit also examines sentence structure.  It flags potential incorrect punctuation and inconsistent use of quotations.


This is free novel writing software designed specifically for writing books.  It was put together by Simon Hayes and already has a pretty significant following in the author community.

As mentioned before it’s completely free for download however it’s only available on PC.  It allows writers to drag, drop and position scenes in their book anywhere in the pagination order.  You can search text, keep track of word count and even set writing goals for yourself from within the program.

It has a built in thesaurus and dictionary and allows you to export to html or RTF formats.  If you’re planning on writing an ebook, yWriter integrates well with Calibre (a freeware open source eBook reader and compiler).


Self-publishers inevitably have to wade through the sea of information related to EPUB standards.  Writing a book and then converting it to be compatible is tough and Sigil makes that process easier.

Sigil is an open source and free multi-platform EPUB editor.  It won’t help you write your novel or show you how to build out your characters but it will help you comply with recent EPUB standards for eBooks.

Features include:

  • Ability to edit EPUB syntax in code view (or not)
  • Meta data editor with full support for possible meta data entries
  • Regular expression support with find and replace
  • Validation of documents for EPUB compliance
  • Table of contents generator

This is a pretty advanced tool so you should seek out some help if you have limited experience with EPUB standards.  It’s something you should start learning about as a self-publisher but things can get pretty technical fast.

The Sage English Dictionary and Thesaurus

Even the most basic tools are still very important for writing.  Word and other programs have good dictionaries and thesauruses but it never hurts to check out other programs.

Aside from a complete thesaurus and dictionary, The Sage features 70K+ phonetic transcriptions, a large collection of example sentences, anagram search, clickable cross-referenced words, and support for semantics among other features.  Think of this tool at Microsoft Word’s spell check on steroids.

What software programs do you use to help you write?  Join in the conversation by commenting below.  

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