Using Dreamweaver to Write a Novel

I recently released my first science fiction novel entitled Containment, and I wrote most of it using Dreamweaver.

I know Dreamweaver is an unlikely tool for writing fiction, but it was actually exactly what I needed. I started out using an application called Scrivener. Scrivener is an excellent piece of software for both organizing and authoring, and I never had a single problem with it. But after completing my first draft, I decided I wanted to release Containment online under a Creative Commons License and on Amazon’s Digital Text Platform, both of which required the manuscript to be in HTML. So I exported to HTML from Scrivener, and started writing with Dreamweaver.

Just because I work for Adobe doesn’t mean I automatically choose Adobe solutions for everything. I’m a big believer is using the right and the best tool for the job, regardless of your affiliation, so I tried some other tools just to be sure I wasn’t missing anything. I found that Dreamweaver easily outperformed them all. (To be fair, I didn’t try Expressions Web since I usually use a Mac, so I don’t know how it compares to Dreamweaver.)

I was a little hesitant at first because I’ve always been a hand-coding kind of guy. I used to use Vim for all my coding, and I still use it for just about everything but ActionScript and Flex work. But when you’re writing creatively, you really just want the tool to get out of your way so you can focus on the content. I got in the habit of opening Dreamweaver, hitting F4 to close all the panels, then alt+command H to hide all my other windows. Initially I was constantly switching into code view to check on the HTML that Dreamweaver was generating since I have a deep mistrust for code generation in general, but everything Dreamweaver generated was perfect (granted everything I was doing was simple markup — I have not tried Dreamweaver yet for complex sites).

If you have stories, a novel, poems, or non-fiction that you want to share with the world, don’t keep waiting for the right time. Convert it into HTML, and put it online now. Not many of us get rich from writing — especially fiction — so you might as well give your work to the world and see what happens.