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Old 06-03-2012, 10:43 PM   #106
Edward M. Grant
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Scrivener for me, though I'd be willing to consider other options. One particularly useful feature is having the research material in the same document, so I can create one 'master' document for a world and just copy it whenever starting a new story in that world.

Plus they regularly do a NaNoWriMo discount (e.g. 50% off for 'winners') so you can often get it for $20 or so.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:04 AM   #107
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Thank you, Michael, for your thoughts on both WriteWay and Scrivener.




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Old 06-05-2012, 08:24 PM   #108
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I'm surprised no one has commented on Dramatica. I'm finding the story-mind theory fascinating.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:55 PM   #109
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I'm surprised no one has commented on Dramatica. I'm finding the story-mind theory fascinating.

Not heard of....
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:48 PM   #110
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I bought Story Weaver from the Dramatica crew many years ago. It's on my old lappy so isn't used. I found the whole story mind philosophy a little odd and unhelpful when it came to actually writing.

There are some writers who find the story mind theory useful, it just didn't help me very much.

I've downloaded WriteWay and am finding it hugely confusing. I'll have to spend some time reading through the pdf manual. The aspect which is most mind boggling is the split screen and why it will sometimes unsplit horizontally, leaving me with either the white draft screen or the grey notes screen. The double bar on the right hand side of the screen is confusing, I'm not quite sure what it's for, except that it seems to move the position of the horizontal split.

Although not perfect, Scrivener might be winning. I'm just not sure that it offers what I'm really looking for.

WriteItNow 4 looks interesting, although a little gimmicky. It offers something which my current ways of working don't: lots of prompts and aids not usually found in writing software. I don't think it would become my mainstream writing program, just a useful gadget.

I just downloaded some freeware I discovered via a youtube vid: Story Lite. It looks simple and useful and FREE!
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Old 06-06-2012, 12:21 AM   #111
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There are some writers who find the story mind theory useful, it just didn't help me very much.
Every time I've tried Dramatica over the last decade and a half I've thought 'this must be useful somehow, but I really don't get it'.
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:07 AM   #112
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That's very much what my feelings were about the Story Mind theory.

Metal Mick, in your review of Scrivener vs WriteWay, you said
Quote:
tools such as timeline, character creation (sensational in WW), and others aren't in Scrivener
The "Novel" template in Scrivener does contain character creation templates which are very useful. I've used them for a (very bad) novel I'm creating in order to assess the program. You can adapt them to your requirements and move them in the tree so that they're in a more convenient location than under "templates", which is where they are by default.

If you don't want to use the novel template, you could adapt the basics of the character development sheets and use them in your preferred format.

I haven't given WW as long as Scrivener. But I've already found it buggy. For example, copy and paste is a nightmare; unless you do edit-select all. But if you want to copy just a little of the text to another part of the work in progress, it's really difficult to select the part you want.

Another reason I'm going off WW is that it doesn't automatically remember information you've already put into the program. I was surprised that after creating characters, I had to repeat the process in the notes for the first scene. I was also dismayed that the storyboard is bare, not having remembered information already inserted into the notecards. Scrivener, on the other hand remembers everything you've already done, for example, the synopsis cards become the corkboard notes and the information in the outline. Likewise for the keywords and metadata.

I think I'm going with Scrivener, even if I have to pay for it myself!! Though I'm still debating whether to bother with Write It Now 4, which is more expensive. (Perhaps I'll cheekily ask my friends for that!)

Note: apologies for the long reply. I wrote this in "quick reply" and hadn't realised I'd written so much.

Last edited by BookCat; 06-06-2012 at 07:12 AM. Reason: Apology and spelling error
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:19 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by BookCat View Post
<SNIP>

The "Novel" template in Scrivener does contain character creation templates which are very useful. I've used them...You can adapt them to your requirements and move them in the tree so that they're in a more convenient location <SNIP>

If you don't want to use the novel template, you could adapt the basics of the character development sheets and use them in your preferred format.

I haven't given WW as long as Scrivener. But I've already found it buggy. For example, copy and paste is a nightmare; unless you do edit-select all. But if you want to copy just a little of the text to another part of the work in progress, it's really difficult to select the part you want.

<SNIP>

I think I'm going with Scrivener, even if I have to pay for it myself!! Though I'm still debating whether to bother with Write It Now 4, which is more expensive. (Perhaps I'll cheekily ask my friends for that!)
Hi BookCat, et al,

firstly, I don't see the few words I wrote as being a review - far too superficial to qualify.

Secondly, when I mentioned character creation, WW has a specific command or tool for this, whereas Scrivener does not. Yes, in S it can be done in a template, but this is different to having a specific tool.

I tried copy/cut and paste in WW and didn't have an issue, but it does have a slightly different way of working and perhaps this is not how you'd prefer to work.

The other issues between S and WW that you mentioned are probably best left to those who are expert in the application(s). I've uninstalled S from my machine and won't be reinstalling it just now.

The most important thing here is that you be comfortable with your choice of tools - I'm not being patronizing, so please don't think that - because each is likely to be the product of a small number of people who have placed their own views high on the priorities list and structured the workflow accordingly.

My final choice for applications was MN4, despite its rather superficial inspiration tools. This application resonated with me and as I said earlier, I was able to be productive and find my way around it very quickly.

There is no doubt in my mind that S and WW have far more history and support behind them, and for many will be a better choice.

I wish you all the best with your final decision - it really sounds like you are fond of S, and it resonates for you the way MN4 resonated for me.

Finally, I don't think the software itself will make any of us better writers - that has to come from somewhere else - but these programs are merely tools that help us along the way. I've seen sideshow acts where a strongman drives a nail into a piece of wood with his bare hand, but nobody would approach him to build a cupboard, I expect.

These programs are our hammers.

Last edited by Metal Mick; 06-06-2012 at 09:34 PM. Reason: Replaced "character generation" with "Inspiration"
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:17 PM   #114
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There is no software that will improve the ability to write in a creative sense, though some programs make the writing process a little easier.

Dramatica is a good example of a failed concept - I have yet to meet anyone who has been enthused by it. You effectively have to have the whole book - plot and characters - developed before you can use it. For anyone who allows the characters to develop at their own pace such a program is ineffective. Writer's Blocks is useful to some but it is basically a simplified version of Scrivener - and it costs more. Character Writer seems pointless to me, I don't want to psychoanalyse my characters, just describe what is necessary about them. Sometimes when I read a novel from a new author who spends paragraph after paragraph describing the personality and psychological motivations of their characters I wonder whether they have purchased Character Writer and are determined to justify the purchase.

Many advise against using Word - I have no idea why as it is fine. You can open a new file for each section or chapter if necessary. The output is not suited to conversion to many eBook formats, but that is only if you output the file as a Word file and not as an HTML or Rich Text file. I use Word, and once I reach a certain stage, well past the first draft, I might use Scrivener to make changes that are more than minor edits. What I do find useful is having two screens, one for writing in, the other for research, notes, music etc. With some work, to give finer control over layout with text that has a lot of images, tables etc., I will use Adobe's InDesign.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:31 PM   #115
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I can see why Word gets knocked.

MS Office used to have a 'binder' concept but it did more harm than good. Everyone I know who used it, myself included, ended up with corrupted files. They wisely stripped that feature out (I'd rather they fixed it) so if you have a different file for each chapter (or scene) there is no convenient way to keep them strung together.

Outlining in Word requires you to be 100% constant with use of Styles.

And don't get me started on numbered & indented lists in Word. They behaved wacky in every version prior to 2010.

The Ribbon interface finally quickly gets out of our way in Office 2010 (click once to minimize it)!

Hardly anyone knows about the biggest secret weapon in Office. OneNote is the most amazing piece of software in the package and it remains unsung. Its linking, embedding, and free-form layout capability is amazing. It also uses Scrivener's approach to 'saving as you type' (yet not in a bajillion separate files) and is well programmed for cloud-based sharing/collaborating. MS again did strange things with its distribution. In an earlier Office it came with the Home/Student edition and not the Business edition. Then they reversed that distribution! Can't wait to see the next evolution of OneNote.

I'd love to use InDesign but we've got a Quark XPress legacy I have to maintain at work (catalogs dating back 20+ years, with some files residing on an ancient Playskool colored Mac). Quark is clunky, non-intuitive, and riddled with work-arounds. Worse yet, any questions I have are better answered by the user community than by Quark.
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Old 06-13-2012, 06:33 PM   #116
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Hardly anyone knows about the biggest secret weapon in Office. OneNote is the most amazing piece of software in the package and it remains unsung. Its linking, embedding, and free-form layout capability is amazing. It also uses Scrivener's approach to 'saving as you type' (yet not in a bajillion separate files) and is well programmed for cloud-based sharing/collaborating. MS again did strange things with its distribution. In an earlier Office it came with the Home/Student edition and not the Business edition. Then they reversed that distribution! Can't wait to see the next evolution of OneNote.
One note ROCKS. But there is no Mac version
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Old 06-14-2012, 06:29 AM   #117
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Another package not previously mentioned is Writer's Cafe. I haven't used it so can't really comment.

http://www.writerscafe.co.uk/
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Old 06-14-2012, 05:54 PM   #118
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Another package not previously mentioned is Writer's Cafe. I haven't used it so can't really comment.

http://www.writerscafe.co.uk/
HI all,

I took a quick look at the website. The screenshots are mostly from WinXP. It has a name generator, something that tends to indicate the target market is the very new writer. There are other aspects of it (like the "writing recipes") that support this.

Not my cup of tea, and I think most in this part MR are a little more advanced than that. Still, it just might provide the impetus needed for some.

Cheers,
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:36 AM   #119
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Metal Mick, I took a look at MN4, downloaded the trial, but couldn't get on with it at all; so I think we have very different needs in writing software.
I LOVE outlining and Word's outline view. Other software which I couldn't be without is Papel:
http://papel.teiru.net/papel/index.html
which I've developed themes for from the icons which come with it, choosing between them and creating different categories.
I can't write without Write Or Die (the desktop version) because I need the pressure to keep me writing, otherwise I just get bored and don't write to the end of the scene, or whatever.
I used to throw ideas down in Papel, then roughly outline in word's outline view; then, using window's notepad, I'd jot down details for the scene. I had Write or Die set up so that it would open leaving a strip of desktop where the notepad notes would be. Then, after setting the words vs time I'd click "write" and start writing against the clock and the red warning screen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtdVJF4PiF0

After this I'd paste the scene into the word outline as body text. The outline styles have never bothered me: it formats automatically. If I have a problem, I ask the cat (office assistant).

Second and third drafts are another story.

But all this involved using several programs. I suppose my ideal software would be all these rolled into one. I can see that Scrivener has possibilities, but won't replace Write Or Die, which I've discovered can fit into the top of a split screen, the lower part being used for character and setting notes etc, a little like WW, and the Document Notes area used for the plotting details.
Unfortunately, the binder is a poor substitute for Word's outline view, but Scrivener has it's own outliner. Word is great for the kind of outlining when you just throw a few plot points down, juggle the order, add a few more, then add details, scenes, etc as they develop. It'll always let you alter the order and is very forgiving. I don't use master documents, preferring to paste into the outline.
Apologies for the long ramble again. I'm glad you've found your match, MM in MN4; I may have to get a techie friend to design my ideal software

Last edited by BookCat; 06-15-2012 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:59 AM   #120
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Metal Mick, I took a look at MN4, downloaded the trial, but couldn't get on with it at all...<snip>
Apologies for the long ramble again. I'm glad you've found your match, MM in MN4; I may have to get a techie friend to design my ideal software
Hi BC,

I'm always happy to hear how others work - no need to apologise for being clear, I appreciate it.

Given I don't use Word at all, I am guessing that "outlining" is similar to that which was in Word 6 and earlier - where you can choose to view paragraphs based on their hierarchy?

I quite like MN4, but I understand if others can't get on with it. At the moment I am going well with it, but finding the Timeline a little bizarre and fiddly to use, and there is no tech support for it, and the promised grammar-checker is MIA. Whoever is in charge of it needs to lift his/her game considerably. Other aspects of it are excellent, though. It seems to have no zoom facility for its text view, which is sad, and I think WW is similar in this regard.

Yes, by all means get some friends to generate the perfect application! I'd love to try it!

Regards,

Last edited by Metal Mick; 06-16-2012 at 03:55 AM. Reason: Replace "live" with "lift"
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