I started this blog while in the middle of writing my first book. The tool I was using to write that book was the awesome, open-source Plume Creator.
This program offers a simple way to organize your writing. You can organize by books, acts, chapter and scenes (of course you can rename these as you wish, my first book consists of 3 parts, with several chapters each, with 3 scenes in each chapter). I find writing by scene is a very effective way of getting content down.
Then you can add the text of each scene into the main section of the program. It will even autosave for you every 20 seconds, which is great. I keep my save file in my Dropbox, which adds a double edge of security.
In addition to the basic organization features, the program has several other tools. There is a section for storing information on characters, items and places. Also, there is a notes tab where you can put notes on all the scenes and sections. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it has a writing timer and distraction-free fullscreen mode. The latter turns your whole screen black and covers your desktop menu bars so you are free to write until the muse leaves you. I often find myself writing for a hour or longer once I turn this on.
Of course a program like this, made by an indie developer and distributed for free, is not going to be as complex as some other pay-for programs available. Even so, I find that this program offers me all the basic tools I need to organize my book. I personally don’t need things like a story construction wizard; I just need a place to store my characters and something to keep me focused on the writing. Plume Creator does that very well. I highly encourage giving it a try.