1. LucyP
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    LucyP Member

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    Novel organisers

    Discussion in 'Software' started by LucyP, Nov 4, 2009.

    What do you think of these programmes, some free that you can download to organise chapters, scenes, characters, etc. They are essentially a filing and organising system for your novel. I am sometimes tempted to try something like this to cut down the number of notebooks and scribbles I need to go through to find what I want. Has anyone used them, and how do you rate their usefulness?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I have two of them. One for my Mac, and one for my PC.

    The Mac program is called Scrivner. The PC program is called Liquid Story Binder.

    Both of them work well in that they have many little tools that one can use but neither program forces me to use parts of them that I do not care to, so I can customize what each has to offer to my own process.

    Both programs create files that are .rtf files which are easily exported to Word so they allow you a different platform while you write and also easily help give the appearance that you have toed the line.

    Feel free to PM me if you would like more info.
     
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  3. HondaWriter
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    HondaWriter Member

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    After looking at my novel folder, and dang it's scary looking, I might be looking into some kind of organizer in the near future. Thanks for posting this.
     
  4. LucyP
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    LucyP Member

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    I downloaded yWriter earlier today. It is free and looks quite a detailed system fo all we might need. I am thinking this using this to tweak characters and scenes might be a useful tool when there is a writing block or you simple 'can't be bothered' get those days? I do :eek:
     
  5. Sillraaia
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    Sillraaia Senior Member

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    I've never needed or used anything but text docs for organization. I just call it ideas, or <book name> brainstorming. Keeps it all together if I start em out the same way for short stories, or in its own folder for novels.
     
  6. InkDream
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    InkDream Senior Member

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    Interesting. It never occurred to me to try something like that. Thanks for the idea.
     
  7. HopingAgain
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    HopingAgain Member

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    I just use Google docs or OpenOffice. What I do is create new pages (page breaks) and bookmarks and links. On the first page I create a list of items (characters, chapter, things to research, etc). On each subsequent page I title it the appropriate thing and add the appropriate details (like chapters names, character names and detail, etc), then bookmark the title. I then go back to the first page and link the words with their bookmarks. This allows me to easily navigate through the thing as I write and keep it all organized. I am finding this much more useful than Liquid Story Binder, which I used the first time I started writing.
     
  8. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to be a fan of Ywriter, but I got frustrated with the lack of format control. These days I rock LibreOffice and use file trees to organize scenes, chapters, and parts.
     
  9. palix
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    palix New Member

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    I've posted a thread on a project that I might be starting, trying to solve that exact problem :) it would be awesome if you gave me some input if it's worth looking into!

    As for myself, I've used Word, Excel and Evernote this far. Excel for keeping track of dates (birth dates, death dates, important events, etc), Evernote for ideas that I got at a time when I wasn't actually working on writing, and Word for the actual writing, and for a lot of the notekeeping.
     
  10. Michael Pless
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    Michael Pless Active Member

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    There are many such pieces of software around - I've used Scrivener, WriteItNow, Liquid Story Binder, WritewayPro, and one or two others.

    LSB is quite old now and hasn't been updated for a while, but it has some wonderful features, not the least of which is its character "generator" - this allows a writer to create a character with whatever attributes they deem necessary. The Timeline is also pretty useful, because it doesn't require a linear time, but allows the writer to skip forward a fair bit, which is useful if a story takes place over a long period of time. It has an extremely steep learning curve. It is possible to get LSB for a discount with Bits du Jour.

    WriteWay Pro has its merits, but I found I didn't like working in it so much. It has some nice tools for keeping track of research, but also has rudimentary word-processing.

    Scrivener has a lot of power but I found its UI intractable and wasted a lot of time just trying to find out how to do things in it. Things like View | Rulers are hidden away in other menus, and it seems to have Mac-centric terminology which adds to the frustration for this (now former) Windows user, but it has a multitude of options to customize the look of your workspaces, if things like that are more important than actually writing. Scrivener for Windows runs quite well in WINE, for Linux users, and also for Linux users, there is a version specific for this OS. I was relieved when I finally finished my first novel and was able to export it into LibreOffice, for final editing and haven't used Scrivener since.

    I'm happiest at the moment in WriteItNow, even though it is hideously expensive compared to others, but it gets (and has had for some time) a highest-ranked position in Top Ten Reviews, though I'm unsure if that website is authoritative. It is not so pretty as some, but it offers quite a lot once you get into it, and there is a V5 due out soon which has worthwhile improvements over V4, but it still retains a couple of idiosyncrasies - highlight, drag and drop for example is not present.

    One of the most promising applications was MyNovel which now appears to be defunct - with just a little more support from its developer, it could have been great.

    yWriter seems popular too, but again, I found it a little less than intuitive to use.

    I'd suggest you get hold of the demos for a few that I've mentioned and give them a try. It doesn't matter which one you settle on or even if you choose none of them, so long as you can get your words down. Bear in mind, none will make you a better writer, but some will make you a better-organized writer which should aid your productivity and perhaps provide a workspace that encourages you to write more.
     
  11. shConn
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    shConn New Member

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    I have and use ZenWriter. You may check that one out, I like it so far.
     
  12. GuardianWynn
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    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use libra office too!
    Wait what is a file tree?
     
  13. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    Libre Office - I've no demands to warrant anything else.
     
  14. Okon
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    Okon Contributing Member Contributor

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    You probably do the same thing and call it something else. It's just using plain' ol' folders to categorize the files. For example, I might place four scenes in the "chapter 1" folder, three chapter folders in the "part 1" folder, and three part folders in the "Attack of the plants IV: Call of Herbicide" project folder.
     
  15. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I use Libreoffice too, but my manuscripts are a single document. I've never needed to separate chapters.
     

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