Weighing in on the google docs thing here... everyone should try using Celtx. It's an online site for writing. The writing remains your intellectual property (unlike with google docs), and you can choose whether to share it with others and give them permission to make changes or just read it and comment on it. There's a sidebar for comments, there are different templates that automatically set up formats for things like screenplays, novels, etc. I use it all the time and its AMAZING. And free!
In regards to writing software, I recently stumbled across Q10. Its a free, full-screen text editor. It's customizable and fits on a flash drive so you can take it with you anywhere. It also has a timer and typewriter sound effects. I really enjoy it. I set the timer for however long I want to write, set out writing, and when the timer goes off it shows me how many words I wrote in that time. The typewriter sounds also make me feel like I'm doing something productive (I don't know why).
I use LyX, which is a nice frontend to LaTeX, which, although not containing storyboarding/mind-mapping/etc, is very good at handling any sort of document, from articles to books. It generally prevents you from manually formatting things, letting you focus on content. The end result is very nicely typeset, and looks very professional.
I use OpenOffice. It's free, and my dad (a complete computer nerd like myself) recommended it.
I'm writing a story for school but I am having a horrible time trying to come up of how to start off the story. Do you have any prompts that just gives me a few words to start off with? I have been through SO may pages of your prompts and have not found any. Please and thank you.
Oh man I know that we’ve had some of these before! But I don’t tag them any certain way… I should do that.
Did going through the prompts not spark any beginnings for you? I’m sorry :(
My favorite is Pages (the mac word processor), but a lot of times I choose Google Docs because it's easier to switch computers and I can write anywhere. For revising I'm kind of old fashioned, I like to print a hard copy and edit with a pen. :)
I really like OmmWriter. It has melodic "meditation" music that's good to write by, and goes into full-screen mode to keep you away from distractions. You can also choose to turn the music off and play your own, if you like.
I use Yarny. It is amazing. It is free for basic stuff and when you start typing everything on the web page disappears except for the "paper" that you are writing on. It is over the internet so you can use it wherever, you aren't limited to your home computer. It also let's you have as many titles as you need/want. There is also a feature where it saves "versions" of your stuff so if you don't like what you just did, then you can reverse a version or two and change it.
Honestly, I use Word, but I use different modes. When I'm writing, I use plain old print layout so that I can easily flip between windows to do research (or procrastinate). When revising, I really get distracted, so I put Word into View->Focus mode, which creates a cutesy little fullscreen desktop. I'm 400% more efficient on editing when I'm in Focus.
OmmWriter has been good to me. Nothing but a blank page for you to write on, as well as options for ambient music and sound effects. It is a "better experience with headphones", and great for getting some peaceful writing done.
I can’t believe that everyone has sent in a different suggestion! Sounds like there’s a lot of stuff out there!
On writing software: I use Scrivener, the Windows beta was free for quite a while and when they finally released the full version I got money off for winning NaNoWriMo. I highly recommend it, it's got great writing tools without being intrusive.
Writing software: I'm all about free and have dabbled with yWriter5. I like the subdividing of scenes and chapters; makes them easy to move around like index cards. And the autosave feature has saved my butt a few times. The interface is a bit dated, but I'm not about to complain with homegrown software. Nothing to lose by trying it out.
It's better known for its scriptwriting tools, but Celtx is pretty nifty for other writing needs too. When you start up a new project, there's a novel option, with character profile pages and location pages. In terms of editing, it's even more basic than Word, but if you're adapting it into a script, story boarding it or even mixing two pieces of prose together, it's brilliant. I used it a lot when I was digging out old stories and salvaging bits and pieces from them. (And it's free too!)
I consider myself pretty internet/computer-savvy, but I tried using Celtx when I had to write a play for my drama writing class this semester and had a horrible time with it—the formatting was all over the place. But maybe I’m just dumb!