Friday, November 29, 2013


I've been using the writing software Yarny for over two years now, and I'm ready to tell you what I think of it.

What it is:

Yarny is a cloud-based program intended to help writers create their work. It can be used effectively for fiction or non-fiction, and for novel-length or shorter works. You can organize your text into chapters, or 'snippets', and keep reference information handy in tabs on the right-hand side of the screen. There's a color-coding feature, and Yarny keeps track of your wordcount automatically.

What I don't like:

  • If you don't have the internet, you can't work. This is my biggest complaint. I like to think about my stories when I'm driving and then write things down at the first opportunity. There's a reason I have an ultra-portable netbook computer with a car charger. Yarny's internet-only limitation is a serious drawback.
  • Formatting is almost nonexistent. There's no way to make text bold or italicized, you can't choose your font and you can't format your work for self-publication or submission. When you're satisfied with your content, you have to export it and then format it. I don't mind this limitation very much except for the lack of italics. Book titles and such are easy to miss when I'm going through the exported file afterwards. A work-around is to put a unique string of characters before every place where italics are needed, then use the 'find' function in the exported file.

    What I like:

    • Yarny saves your work automatically.
    • Yarny keeps track of your wordcount. You can easily see the wordcount for each snippet and the total wordcount for the entire project.
    • You can color-code the snippets. I like to use the colors to keep track of how far I've developed each chapter. Second-draft chapters are pink, for example.
    • You can store information or ideas in a separate section. This section is well-organized, reasonably versatile and does not affect the wordcount.
    • You can have several projects going in Yarny at the same time.
    • Because my work is saved to the cloud, I don't have to worry about losing it if my hard drive crashes. Of course, it's always wise to export on a regular basis, just in case - oh, please, no! - anything happens to Yarny.
    • It's free.

      All in all, I like Yarny a lot and use it heavily. If you have reliable internet access and don't mind typing into a separate file when you're offline and pasting it into Yarny later, you may find this software very useful.

      My original post about Yarny: Cat Protection Software

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