Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Writing software

Do you use writing software?

Every year at his time I get restless and start looking for new software to help with my writing. Before you say it, I know a mere computer programme cannot write a book, but if every writer had eschewed technology we'd all still be scratching pictures of bison on the walls of caves. And there are some good packages out there.

In the past I've used Ywriter - mainly because it's free - but for a while it was the only programme I could find that helped me to file the info and divide the book into chapters. I ran into problems with it when it mucked up the saving aspect and haven't used it since.

This year I have been distracted by Dramatica Pro. It is expensive, and seems to require a big commitment of time and effort to master it in the early stages. But what I like about the download is it guides you through the story structure with lots of indepth questions about your plot, characters, story arc (yes, there's a lot of jargon too - I said it took a while to learn :()

When seeking advice about it, I was pointed in the direction of Liquid Story Binder. After downloading the demo (one month free use without limitation) I confess it seemed a bit user unfriendly, but then I tracked down the tutorials on the website and now feel like I'm getting the gist of it. At $45 it is a much cheaper investment than Dramatica, and seems to do a lot of the organising and storing I'm looking for.

So I'll probably have a go at loading one of my WIPs into it and see what difference it makes. I'll keep you posted...


Lori said...

I like to think of myself as old school--only use Word. The truth is that I don't want to get too involved with new software because I know I can become obsessive with it. I mean, even with Word I keep discovering new things all the time and then I obsess with perfecting them. Yeah, a new software would just be another distraction for me.
Still, what you're saying sounds interesting, and I might check that out.

Sandra Patterson said...

Yes, Lori, it can be a big procrastination tool! But I like to feel organised; there's nothing so frustrating as being unable to remember a detail about your story and have to wade through chapters to find it. I don't know whether this programme is the answer, but I'll let you know!

Tracy said...

In the past I've had a play with a couple of programs - New Writer? I think that's what it was called, and a free internet program.
I must admit to finding them rather annoying because it was fiddly and there seemed to be to much messing about just to get anywhere.
Personally, I prefer to just write in Word and scribble notes and ideas as and when I have them. I have been known to stick post-its on a board for complicated timelines and pov jumping but that was because I then had a quick glance board that was separate to my computer.
Everyone's different though and if something works for us, we must utilise such things.
Good luck with it.