I need to praise a piece of software I’ve been using heavily the last few months.
Before National Novel Writing Month last November, one of the guys on the Mac forum asked for beta testers for a new word processing program he was developing. His name is Jerry Seeger, and the program, cleverly titled Jer’s Novel Writer, works like a charm.
JNW allows you to make margin notes as easily as if you were adding notes to a paper manuscript. It also generates an outline autmatically so you can quickly find a detail in an earlier chapter and–this is really slick–allows you to reorganize scenes by dragging and dropping them.
There is a panel for notes and another for character descriptions, and it tracks word and page counts. It uses the native OS X word processing engine, so you can define and save styles, and it exports to RTF for your final cleanup before submitting your masterpiece.
It’s still in beta, but version 0.24 and 0.3 have both been stable on my PowerBook. If you write and use OS X, give JNW a try while it’s still in beta.