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Old 07-18-2012, 06:36 AM   #151
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Hi all,

I've spent the past week or so wondering if this posting was the right thing to do. In the end, I thought the members here deserved to know what happened.

After talking up MyNovel4 and also buying a licence, I finally lost patience with its creators. Repeated crashes caused a lot of frustration - on one machine on a fresh install of Win7, it crashed each time I tried to launch it. The lack of communication added immensely to my frustration.

Missing features, and fragmented help files didn't aid the cause either. A link within the program to permit downloading of dictionaries failed repeatedly and causes crashes too.

Finally, I wrote to both the creator and the selling agent requesting a refund, though "request" is probably too gentle a term. This came through more promptly than I expected, and I am looking at other products, and having a lot of fun with Liquid Story Binder.

I didn't act rashly, trying for weeks to get a response from the creators, but then my patience was exhausted after 20 minutes of the program crashing each time I tried to get it up and running. Goodness knows why, because it launched fine the times afterwards when I was exporting my work from it.

The sad thing is, I still believe it could be an excellent piece of software, because it ticks many boxes, but as long as the creators have such a shoddy attitude towards their purchasers, I can't see it finding success. In the end I did get a response from the creators: "you are refunded". Three words that punctuated what turned into a very bad experience indeed.

Cheers,
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Old 07-18-2012, 08:03 AM   #152
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Thanks for posting that feedback. Obviously a disappointment after having been so convinced, for a time, that it was the right product for you. I will be interested to hear what you make of Liquid Story Binder, my brief look at it suggested I was going to spend all my time learning the software and no time actually writing. Perhaps for a professional/full-time writer such an investment in time may turn out to be worth it, but it was enough to put me off.
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Old 07-19-2012, 09:20 PM   #153
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Hi gmw, et al,

many thanks for the comments and support. I was reluctant initially, because I didn't want to sound churlish or vindictive, but didn't want any MR-ers to go down the same path on my recommendation.

Regardaring LSB, I definitely think it rewards perseverance, and the tutorials are a very worthwhile intro:

http://www.blackobelisksoftware.com/tutorials.html

There are also some YouTube videos if you prefer, but these can at times be slow.

I find that creating a Binder (a hold-all for all your files) and then a series of chapters works well for me. There is a Resources folder you can create, a Checklist (or a series of them, if you wish). The character generator is brilliant.

Interestingly, there is no Save as... for a Binder. this is a bit of a bummer, because I decided to change my story from third-person past tense to first-person present, and had to export the files, which was laborious. I also miss being able to store links to URLs and having them open up a browser window, like in WriteWay (and MN4), but I can at least store them as text strings.

So far, I haven't played with either the mind map or the timeline, but that will happen soon.

The demo is 30 days full-use; there is a very active and helpful Yahoo! group as well, and a quick query to the creator got a response within a day, not bad given the time zone difference. Files are stored as RTFs in sub-directories, which is good, although in LibreOffice, some don't open properly, but WordPad is fine. I'll ask about that.

Oh, there is even a complete help file!

Any further questions, please feel free to ask.

Cheers,
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:19 PM   #154
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That Liquid Story Binder looks great. Haven't seen that before.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:24 PM   #155
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@MetalMick: I tried Liquid Story Binder off of your suggestion, but I don't think it was for me. I'm a very straightforward writer and I can never remember the commands for anything that's too difficult. I have a hard time retaining instructions for anything that's too intensive, so I would have to stop all the time and really think to remember the commands I want to do and that would knock me out of the groove.

That said, I really liked the typewriter function. It makes me wish that Scrivener had it. I know I could probably get some free typewriter program, but it would be a separate program. It's nice to have all the things I need in one place.

I think Liquid Story Binder is for someone that's very graphic intensive. Practically every part of it asks for images. So if you're a visual person, you might really like it.

Last edited by Harper Kingsley; 07-19-2012 at 10:26 PM. Reason: program. lol
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:21 PM   #156
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Hi Harper, et al,

I readily acknowledge that LSB is not for everybody, and applications like WritItNow (which puts an enormous amount of creativity and help at a user's fingertips) and WriteWay have little or no learning curve You could argue that this is the way things should be, and I won't disagree with you.

We are all different, and what works for one may not work for another. Writer's Cafe got a big rap from the reviewers, but it left me cold.

I am still evaluating LSB, not having bought a licence as yet, so we'll see if I persist with it.

Cheers,
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:52 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by Harper Kingsley View Post
@MetalMick: I tried Liquid Story Binder off of your suggestion, but I don't think it was for me. I'm a very straightforward writer and I can never remember the commands for anything that's too difficult. I have a hard time retaining instructions for anything that's too intensive, so I would have to stop all the time and really think to remember the commands I want to do and that would knock me out of the groove.

That said, I really liked the typewriter function. It makes me wish that Scrivener had it. I know I could probably get some free typewriter program, but it would be a separate program. It's nice to have all the things I need in one place.

I think Liquid Story Binder is for someone that's very graphic intensive. Practically every part of it asks for images. So if you're a visual person, you might really like it.
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Hi Harper, et al,

I readily acknowledge that LSB is not for everybody, and applications like WritItNow (which puts an enormous amount of creativity and help at a user's fingertips) and WriteWay have little or no learning curve You could argue that this is the way things should be, and I won't disagree with you.

We are all different, and what works for one may not work for another. Writer's Cafe got a big rap from the reviewers, but it left me cold.

I am still evaluating LSB, not having bought a licence as yet, so we'll see if I persist with it.

Cheers,
I am quite visual, and I am now convinced to try it when I get a chance.
Thanks.
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:13 PM   #158
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I am quite visual, and I am now convinced to try it when I get a chance.
Thanks.
It's a very beautiful program. Just looking at their screenshots I was blown away.
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:10 PM   #159
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Originally Posted by Harper Kingsley View Post
@MetalMick: I tried Liquid Story Binder off of your suggestion, but I don't think it was for me. I'm a very straightforward writer and I can never remember the commands for anything that's too difficult. I have a hard time retaining instructions for anything that's too intensive, so I would have to stop all the time and really think to remember the commands I want to do and that would knock me out of the groove.

That said, I really liked the typewriter function. It makes me wish that Scrivener had it. I know I could probably get some free typewriter program, but it would be a separate program. It's nice to have all the things I need in one place.

I think Liquid Story Binder is for someone that's very graphic intensive. Practically every part of it asks for images. So if you're a visual person, you might really like it.
Are you aware that even Word can be changed to emulate the "typewriter" screen? You can change the page background and font colour to whatever you wish and make the page full screen - i.e., eliminate all menus etc.
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:41 AM   #160
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Are you aware that even Word can be changed to emulate the "typewriter" screen? You can change the page background and font colour to whatever you wish and make the page full screen - i.e., eliminate all menus etc.
In LSB you click on the typewriter function and it opens another window. You can type, but not arrow back through what you wrote. It forces you to keep moving forward with your writing. When you're all done, you hit Exit and what you wrote is added to your document.

I realize that Word and LibreOffice etc have the overtype (whatever it's called) function that means you type over your original stuff, but there's no way to keep from cheating. And believe me, if the option was there, I would end up going back to fix my mistakes when I see them and pretty soon I would lose my place and it would be five hours later with no writing done.

I am very easily distracted by shiny things and I don't want to have to use six different programs when I'm used to just two -- Scrivener and LibreOffice.
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Old 07-21-2012, 12:53 AM   #161
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In LSB you click on the typewriter function and it opens another window. You can type, but not arrow back through what you wrote. It forces you to keep moving forward with your writing. When you're all done, you hit Exit and what you wrote is added to your document.

I realize that Word and LibreOffice etc have the overtype (whatever it's called) function that means you type over your original stuff, but there's no way to keep from cheating. And believe me, if the option was there, I would end up going back to fix my mistakes when I see them and pretty soon I would lose my place and it would be five hours later with no writing done.

I am very easily distracted by shiny things and I don't want to have to use six different programs when I'm used to just two -- Scrivener and LibreOffice.
I am also easily distracted by things, though they don't necessarily have to be shiny, they just have to be female. (My life is full of females - one wife and five daughters.)

I would not like to use a writing process that would not allow for immediate changes. Often, as you are writing you will see immediately a better way to phrase something, a more appropriate word to use, a different approach to a situation. Being able to make changes is not simply to enable you to correct typos. For me, the system that you describe would be incredibly limiting and counterproductive. It would stifle creativity, inhibit story development.

Last edited by DarkScribe; 07-21-2012 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:41 AM   #162
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[..]I would not like to use a writing process that would not allow for immediate changes. Often, as you are writing you will see immediately a better way to phrase something, a more appropriate word to use, a different approach to a situation. Being able to make changes is not simply to enable you to correct typos. For me, the system that you describe would be incredibly limiting and counterproductive. It would stifle creativity, inhibit story development.
Ditto. I am a constant rewriter, as I go and each time I come back to it.

If I really wanted a typewriter mode (under Windows) I'd just start up a command window and enter the command: copy con myfile.txt

When you want out just hit F6 and press enter. In this mode you can edit the current line (sort of) but you can't edit previous lines. The resulting myfile.txt is plain text that can copied into any program you want.
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:46 AM   #163
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I would not like to use a writing process that would not allow for immediate changes. Often, as you are writing you will see immediately a better way to phrase something, a more appropriate word to use, a different approach to a situation. Being able to make changes is not simply to enable you to correct typos. For me, the system that you describe would be incredibly limiting and counterproductive. It would stifle creativity, inhibit story development.
I get into different writing moods. Sometimes the words just flow out through my fingertips and I can write 20,000 words in one day (Echo) while other times it's all stops and starts and I end up bringing out the pen and paper (Heroes & Villains). If I'm in a distracted mood, not being able to go back and change things would keep me moving forward. (As in, "I need to get this done so I can go back and fix paragraph four. It's driving me crazy!")

I like Write or Die, but I have to copy and paste into Scrivener to keep all my document together for the times when I need to go back and reread the last bits I wrote. I tried the export function, but it put breaks between every paragraph; if I copy/paste, then it comes out normal without me having to fix anything.

Once I get everything into Scrivener, I copy and paste into LibreOffice. For some reason, when I try to compile I lose any breaks between paragraphs and a lot of my formatting. Annoying, but I can deal with that. Then once in LibreOffice, I edit and can make Word docs for Kindle and Smashwords, and PDF/A's for CreateSpace.

Does anyone know of a program that does everything and isn't super expensive?
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:47 AM   #164
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<snip>
Does anyone know of a program that does everything and isn't super expensive?
Hi Harper, et al,

sadly, I know of none

Your process seems laborious, but changing might upset your equilibrium. Google "novel writing software" and you'll get a fair few alternatives, with two "Top 10..." pages, one of which only has 7 entries, but they obviously thought that was close enough. (The scientist in me would rebel at that, but it takes all kinds, I guess! )

As far as being compelled to go forward all the time, it would bug me terribly, and I wouldn't be able to continue for long, but a dear friend of mine said she loved that part of LSB, and bought it rather promptly. Also, when I was studying, I was told to write and keep writing, and not go back and edit. It took me a while but I got to 85,000 words in around 6 months. A lot of it rubbish, but I could work on it afterwards and get editing on what I had. It builds discipline, if you keep gong forward and you end up with a story. Of course, with my typing it may be incomprehensible, but you can't have everything.

The software I have (and recently moved away from) helped place some very useful tools at my disposal, and because I have much of the day to write, I can make some good progress - 20k words in around 2 months. Again it needs work (particularly since I decided to change the tense and POV), but things are going well, and I think the plot is standing up to scrutiny. So I'm relatively happy.

Cheers,
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:43 AM   #165
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I know that some people just speak their story into a tape recorder (I know it's a "digital recorder" now, but in my head it's always going to be tape.) They tell the whole story like they're talking to other people, then type it up and change it into a more "book" story form.

I know that Dragon lets you take those recordings, runs 'em through the program, and it types them all up. Then you just edit everything because you've already got your first draft.

I tried Dragon, but you have to train the hell out of it to get it to use the right words. Then while you're talking, you have to kind of keep an eye on the screen because sometimes the program screws up and will just stop writing and you have to start it back up. That's why I think it would work better if you pre-recorded your stories, otherwise you lose everything if you're not paying attention to the screen and it's not typing.

Digital recorder -- about $40
Dragon Naturally Speaking -- about $40-90 depending on the version

It wasn't for me, but maybe one of you guys would like it.
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