Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Techy Tuesday: Introducing Yarny

As I prepare to entrench myself in NaNoWriMo this year,I am looking for ways to write my book while on the go.   I have Scrivener on my Macbook, but I may not want to always haul my Macbook with me, now that my life is much fuller than it was last year.

Then, I was on the NaNo site and discovered this little gem - Yarny.  It might just be the solution to my problem, but even if it isn't - I want to mention it in case it can help someone else. 

Yarny is a bare-bones, web based novel writing software.   It allows you to break your book down into "snippets" and stores them in your account.  I am actually quite drawn to the simplicity of it.  Scrivener can be kind of mind-boggling in it's depth.   I don't have the time to really learn it inside and out.  Yarny just has a section to organize the people, places and things in your story along one side of the screen and another menu to organize your "snippets" of writing (I see these as chapters) along the other side.

When you fist visit the Yarny site - there are little notes all over the interface to help you learn how to use it.   It's super simple.  Once you click on the screen, these disappear.  When you log in - your books will automatically come up.   You can have multiple titles within your account.

In the centre is a simple word processor.  I really like that, while you are typing, the sidebars go away - helps to keep them from distracting you as you write.  I know that last year, I often turned on full screen mode in Scrivener to remove any outside distractions.  This isn't quite the same, because it is browser-based, but it will definitely help.

Yarny auto saves for you, tracks your word count (per snippet) and has version tracking - it also allows you to export your snippets as text files. I don't care for the export feature - since it only offers txt.  I would also have liked to see an import feature to allow a previous manuscript to be uploaded. 

I am undecided if this is the solution for me, but it is definitely neat. I may use it part time if I have a chapter I am working on and want to polish it up from work or on my tablet. I think it would be a great way for someone wanting to write without investing in a more specific novel-writing software.    A caveat - it is in beta right now.  It is free to sign up and there will apparently always be a free version available, but starting in December, there will be paid plans as well.   As a bit of incentive - if you are a nano winner - you are awarded a 50% discount on these paid plans...in case you happen to fall in love with it in the meantime.


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