Writing Resource: Get Yarny! by Courtney Said

For those of you who don’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! I, like thousands of individuals, participate every year. The challenge is to write 50,000 words by the end of the month. I’ll admit, when I participate I rarely plan on actually making it to the final. However, I’ve decided that this year will be different. I have (what I think is) an awesome plot, realistic characters, an outline, and an idea of how to begin. My one problem, when writing large pieces, is organization. This year, I don’t see that becoming a problem. This year, I’m using Yarny.

The Pros
I discovered Yarny on the NaNoWriMo sponsors page, and decided to give it a try. I fell in love almost instantly. The site may not be perfect, but it definitely has a lot to offer. Here are some of my favorite features!

·        The Text Editor. Just like Google Docs, Yarny saves all of your writing as you go. You don’t have to worry about losing your flash drive, or being unable to work on your story because you don’t have your laptop with you. It’s all saved right online! I don’t have a laptop at the moment, so I use a lot of different computer labs around campus. I’m also notorious for losing flash drives. Yarny allows me to access and work on my story from anywhere!

·        Tags/Snippets. These are located on the left side of the screen. You can tag sections of your writing with keywords, and then search by those keywords at a later time. Snippets allow you to take a chunk (big or small) of your writing. I plan on making each individual chapter a snippet. You can then rearrange the snippets or put them into groups (ex: action scenes, plot twist clues, etc.).

·        Versions. That’s right. Yarny will keep track of your different versions of your documents. Maybe you decide change something in your story, and then decide against it. With Yarny, you can go back to the other version, without the hassle of trying to remember exactly what you had written before.

·        People/Places/Things. This is by far my favorite feature of Yarny. Before I start to write, I make extensive character backgrounds and biographies. I also make detailed descriptions of different settings in the story (ex: a bar, someone’s apartment, etc.). Yarny allows you to do this keep all of these profiles in an organized fashion. You can even set up groups! Currently I have my characters separated by main characters and supporting characters.

The Cons
I believe that the pros of Yarny far outweigh the cons. However,  as I mentioned before, the site isn’t perfect. Here is a list of a few of the cons I’ve found while working with the software.

·        Internet Only. For me, I would count this as a plus because I tend to only write in places with internet connection. However, I could see why this would make some users a little hesitant. Being able to access your story only when you have the internet can be a little limiting.

·        No font changes. This is probably my biggest frustration. If you haven’t already guessed, I like to be extremely organized when I write. However, when on Yarny it is not possible to bold, italicize, or underline parts of your writing. You also cannot change your font style. The font seems like a basic Times New Roman, but I would like to have the option to use something different. These features would come in handy, especially when creating character backgrounds and other lists.

·        No Firefox. I love Firefox; it’s my favorite hands down. However, Yarny Beta has not been tested to be compatible with Firefox (yet) so if you’re using it as your browser; you run the risk of your work not being saved correctly. It is compatible with Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Safari though, so you are still presented with a wide range of browsing options.

You can find Yarny at www.getyarny.com . While there are a few features I would still like to see added to the software, Yarny is quickly becoming one of my favorite writing resources. I would highly suggest checking it out!


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About Starving Pen

Starving Pen is an online literary magazine aimed toward connecting and publishing aspiring authors.

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