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Any suggestions for writing environments for writing a non-fiction book?

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Posted by Hugh Pile
Mar 18, 2007 at 10:36 AM


In the Windows world, another vote for IdeaMason. It’s very good for all the reasons given above, with a flexible but not over-complicated UI, and the general direction of its development as indicated by its creators (“road map” would be too precise a term) suggests that it’s going to get even better. The only contra-indication is its price, but I think that is justified.

In the Mac world, a vote for Scrivener - a real writer’s tool. It seems most suited to fiction, but I believe it has been used for all kinds of factual writing (and can cope with endnotes and footnotes). Its development seems to be a model of good practice, with a clear overall vision, but highly responsive on the details. Like IdeaMason, it doesn’t claim to be a word-processor and needs MS Word or similar (there are cheaper WPs in the Mac world) to prepare drafts for printing or despatch to an editor. After an extensive series of betas, Version 1 has just been released to pretty much universal acclaim. It’s also very reasonably priced, if you already possess a Mac equipped with OS X.

There’s a nice story associated with it: its creator tried lots of other writing tools for both PCs and Macs. He couldn’t find one he liked, so taught himself Cocoa in order to build one for himself.

I too have tried all sorts of other writing tools, intended-for and adapted. Though many are adequate, in the current state of the market these two are by far the best.