Should you use writing software?

The use of novel writing software divides people more passionately than you might expect.
People who are against it might say it's cheating. Others might say that's simply not necessary, or even that it gets in the way or causes rigidity and gets in the way of brainstorming and natural flow.

Well, of course I'm biased but I think that if there are tools available for any task, you should take advantage of them. Of course not all tools (or software) is useful, and not all 'progress' is for the best.
One of my pet hates is how difficult it is to accurately rewind or forward DVDs - with video tapes it was easy to skip back to rewatch something you missed. Now it involves so much jumping around to way too far either side that it's just not worth the effort.

But back to the plot! We're talking about novel writing software not movie watching.

To address the points above - in reality, if you think that using software for writing is cheating, then you shouldn't even be using a word processor. Think how easy it is to make changes and shuffle things around, and be corrected in your spelling and grammar, and even style! It really depends how far you want to go back. Is using a typewriter cheating? Should you go back to pen and paper? Maybe using a biro is cheating and you should be whittling your own quill. So much for the cheating argument.

The other arguments are more valid. If you're someone that can keep track of notes about dozens of characters and locations, a complex plot, clues, foreshadowing and the rest - then great! You probably don't need writing software to help you.

However, personally, I always find myself drowning in notes, some of which are out of date - but which ones?! - losing files all over my desk and laptop, and spending ages in frustration trying to find the profile of the right character, because I couldn't be bothered to file everything neatly as I went along. I wanted to get on with writing!

So, for mere mortals like me, having novel software that keeps track of my characters, files them automatically and gives them back to me in a few intuitive clicks, takes away a great deal of my headaches and leaves me to get on with my next draft.

And as for the argument that novel writing software stifles creativity - with the right software, what you put in, you get out! Good software should harness and inspire creativity, not the opposite.