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Writing is almost like meditation. The mind whirrs around a million thoughts, but anyone who has been in the zone will attest to the fact that the calmness enveloping it shuts off the writer from the rest of the world. Creative work needs silence and a distraction free environment to connect those million thoughts. I am a writer in the very basic sense of the word and I have gone through my basic share of distraction free editors Write In Peace With These Distraction-Free Editors Write In Peace With These Distraction-Free Editors I have felt it. Visual clutter – thanks to menus and other markup features – have often cemented my writer’s block. So, I have tried out quite a few distraction-free text editors in a grand... Read More .

I am partial to some like Q10 and JDarkRoom. But that doesn’t stop me from trying out the next thing writing app that comes around the bend. The latest one that came into my horizon, literally dropped from the clouds. Yarny is different from the simple and minimal writing tools covered in the hyperlinked article. It is deceptively simple, because instead of being a plain Jane environment, it has the ingredients to help you craft your next bestseller.

Your Word Processor in The Cloud

When it comes to creative writing using a free software, yWriter yWriter - A Word Processor For Creative Writing yWriter - A Word Processor For Creative Writing Read More is a popular choice (Mac users have their pick of creative writing applications Four Free Creative Writing Applications For The Mac Four Free Creative Writing Applications For The Mac Read More too). yWriter has some great features for the price of zero – from storyboarding to re-ordering of scenes to dragging and dropping story elements for effective organization. Writing your next novel or even a little screenplay For Your Next Great Movie Or Play: 16 Free Scriptwriting Tools & Resources For Your Next Great Movie Or Play: 16 Free Scriptwriting Tools & Resources Writing is hard. Most of us know the feeling of having to pull an all-nighter to wrap up a thesis paper due in the morning - and those papers rarely broke 40 pages. I can’t... Read More demands flexibility and sometimes everywhere-anywhere access. Yarny does what yWriter can’t – take your work to the cloud and make it available anywhere with a web connection. You can easily make your work available for others to read and appreciate.

Yarny asks you to register and log-in. The interface is minimal as you can see in the above screenshot. The subdued gray elements help to keep everything distraction free. Yarny gives you a walkthrough of the key features on a single graphic that helps you learn all about the process in a couple of minutes only:


Let’s Put Pen to Paper and Write Our First Novel

The above graphic is a bit difficult to understand, thanks to the constraints of image size. So, let’s put some ink to the paper and look into the select features on Yarny. For demonstration purposes, as you can see I have “plagiarized” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s His Last Bow. One of more likeable features comes right at the onset. Yarny lets you set targets – a daily goal of words you want to write. The cliché, ’drops make an ocean’ is so true for us literary types plagued by writer’s block 10 More Websites That Help Cure Writer's Block With Writing Prompts 10 More Websites That Help Cure Writer's Block With Writing Prompts Read More and indiscipline. A target helps.

Yarny is minimal but it supports basic markdowns. That’s just about write because I feel that too many formatting elements come in the way of natural writing. Formatting is a digital invention after all. There are three fonts to choose from and three sizes. The Premium version of the application comes with theme support. Yarny also saves everything concurrently as you type so you don’t have to worry about hitting any save button.


The Basic Unit of Writing on Yarny – Snippets

Snippets are the organizational units of your writing on Yarny. Any block of text can be termed as a snippet, and these discrete snippets can be dragged, dropped, and re-ordered to organize your writing. In the following screenshot, you see a basic snippet constructed automatically from the first text I put down on the text area.

A few snippets down the line, properly colored and named gives me this screenshot:

Snippets can be named and colored. They can also be conveniently arranged into groups by a drag ‘n drop. You can also share snippets with your friends and take some constuctive feedback. You can create as many snippets and groups as you want. Think of snippets as discrete units of your thoughts on story development. Initially the order may not matter, later you can organize them into groups. Don’t worry, even if there are just too many, snippets are fully text searchable.

You can export all of your snippets (essentially your entire book) with a click. Plain text, Rich-text, and e-Pub format is supported.

Snippets also extend to the three other story elements – People, Location, and Things. These are story elements and you can handle them the same way you handled the previous snippets. To build up the story, you can use this space for all your research.

Tags & Version Control

All snippets across the board can be tagged. Tags not only help you ‘catalog’ all your snippets with keywords; they also let you see the different parts of the story at a glance. A slider stands in for version control…you can jump back to an earlier version of your writing and that becomes a new copy. Pundits call it auto-versioning. So, you can keep multiple copies of a story arc and then prune them later.

Here’s Yarny’s official video which gives you a visual walkthrough around the tool again:

Yarny’s distraction free environment isn’t only for grand works of literature, but I guess it would do just as well with a school assignment. One of the limitations seems to be that you cannot work on multiple assignments. It would get a bit jumbled up and come in the way of focus. The learning curve is hardly there and within a few minutes, you can put down the first few lines of a hopeful bestseller.

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  1. Robert Halvorsen
    May 21, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    I am a newbie at this format of writing. To wit: my question.
    I'm used to writing in the Windows Word format where I can use such tools as:
    Is there such a tool in Yarny?

    • Saikat
      May 23, 2015 at 4:11 am

      Yarny is a simpler writing tool without the bells and the whistles. Its USP is the dragging and dropping of story elements for effective organization. Good for storyboarding.

  2. Adam Roberts
    February 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Hello, Adam Roberts here - one of the developers of Yarny. We appreciate your writeup! I just wanted to point out that you can in fact work on as many different titles as you'd like. If you click directly on the active title in the top bar (with the little down arrow next to it) you will see a list of all of your current titles. At the top of this list is an option to "Create a new title". Clicking this will bring down the title settings panel. Simply enter a title and click save and you're all set! To switch between your saved titles, simply click to bring this list down again and select the title you'd like to work on. Hope that helps!

    • Saikat Basu
      February 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Hey Adam, thanks for pointing it out. It wasn't very intuitive, but your explanation clears it up for our readers. Any changes planned for the future?

  3. Scott MacDonald
    February 21, 2013 at 12:36 am

    As a former teacher, i think this would be great for creative writing, and even research papers. Too bad you can't have multiple Yarns on the go...

    • Saikat Basu
      February 21, 2013 at 4:42 am

      Yes, that is the one limitation of Yarny. Else, it is pretty smooth.

  4. Max
    February 20, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I prefer quabel, as it's even simpler and supports markdown.

    • Saikat Basu
      February 21, 2013 at 4:41 am

      Thanks. Didn't know about this one. For readers who are interested in comparing the two, here is the link: