1. StoryWeaver
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    StoryWeaver Member

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    What software do you use?

    Discussion in 'Software' started by StoryWeaver, Sep 21, 2013.

    I am asking more in a general sense-- as I understand the rules here prevent plugging specific products including software. What I am wondering, as a noob wannabe novelist, is what software works best for you all-- sticking with a simple word processor, or using more complex commercial or even free software that has tools such as adding and naming scenes, locations, characters, word count goal progress charts, and such? I am inclined to just stick with my simple word processor as I think all those fancy tools or specialized software might just distract from a fluid writing process. I come from a screenwriting background where one kind of needs special software to properly format a screenplay (or least make that a heck of a lot easier than using a general word processor).
     
  2. Jared Carter
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    Jared Carter Member

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    I simply use MS Office Word 2007. Nothing fancy.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well, truth be told, we have a Resource Section now wherein the "plugging" of writing software is encouraged! I used Scrivener. MS Word is too clunky and slow to deal with on a Mac. Scrivener is simply an elegant word processor, stripped of all the graphic options and other crapola that isn't needed when the end result one is looking for is a manuscript, and with some organizational tools that come in very handy. It happily creates a .doc file (along with a host of other file formats) when you compile, so for those who argue that "MS Word is the industry standard", sorry Charlie, it's .doc that is the standard, not MS Word. You deliver the file to a prospective publisher or agent, not the program with which it was made.

    BTW, there are like 98,594 threads on this exact same subject. Search, people! Search!
     
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  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I use MS Word, and I believe that's what most people use. I know some people on here like Scrivener because of all the cool features, but any basic word processor should do just fine. After all, these are just tools to help make the writing process easier; they aren't going to make you a better writer.
     
  5. Dawnless Sky
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    Dawnless Sky Member

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    I myself setup private wikis. They're especially handy for tracking big projects. You can then create entries for each of your characters or settings. For me, it is the ideal way to organize my notes. You might need a little bit of help setting it up at first since you have to setup the database but simply writing in a wiki is as simple as posting in this forum.

    Wikis have built-in versionning to you can always go back if you deleted a paragraph and would like to have it back.

    Of course, wiki cannot really provide accurate stats such as word count. Once I'm up to that point, I simple copy and paste the chapter in a temporary MS Word document and let it do its word count.

    Edit: I think there's free wiki services out there on the web. Would be much easier that to setup it on your own computer. Look around :-D
     
  6. StoryWeaver
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    StoryWeaver Member

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    I actually downloaded Scrivener yesterday and went to install it but a windows popped up for the install (it is an Abobe .air file) and it said I would have to give it (Scrivener) 'Unrestricted Access' to my operating system. wtf? excuse me?! I think not. So I passed. I also tried out a free writing app called yWriter. But thus far for writing in general I just use free opensource Librewriter which can also read/write ms doc files. I guess I am just wondering if Scrivener et all just provide more distractions to not write, lol, or if such software actually helps with productivity and quality of the finished novel?
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Scrivener, and some times I'll copy a chapter to Word to print it with different formatting for my critique group.

    Not sure what issue you had, StoryWeaver, but I doubt there's anything sinister about the product. Were you downloading directly from the developer or using some website that offered a discount?
     
  8. Roxie
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    Roxie Active Member

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    plain old MSword for me.
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    See, that's the misconception. Scrivener is not some tricked up show pony with dials, knobs, switches and toggles festooning it's GUI. It's the exact opposite. It's what I remember word processors being waaaaaayyyyy back in the day before programs like MS Word were adopted in the workplace and forced to serve uncounted different tasks. I know why Word is as monstrous and bloated as it is. It has to be a jack of all trades. Scrivener doesn't doesn't go that route. It doesn't have more distractions. It has fewer.
     
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  10. StoryWeaver
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    StoryWeaver Member

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    I remember an article in Scientific American from maybe 15 years ago about there being waaaaay too many features and hotkey functions in word processors-- because companies were competing to be able to market there products as having more features than competitors; the end users did not want all those features. Today you can not accidentally press anything on a keyboard without something happening that you did not intend! :)
     
  11. StoryWeaver
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    StoryWeaver Member

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    Okay I don't know what I had tried installing yesterday that wanted unlimited access to my system, but I just tried installing Scrivener just now and no such issue (unrestricted access request) occurred. Hmm. Okay I will take a look at Scrivener.

    I wonder if I bought Scrivener if I could use it on both my desktop and laptop, but not simultaneously, with just buying one user license--if anybody knows about that please do tell. :)
     
  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, you can! :) I have Scrivener running on four different machines.
     
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  13. StoryWeaver
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    StoryWeaver Member

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    Awesome! I only use legal software. But I use Dropbox and that makes it so easy to work on a project between the desktop and laptop.
     
  14. StoryWeaver
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    StoryWeaver Member

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    Yikes, my apologies to Scrivener! It was not Scrivener, it was Storyblue (storyblue.com which installs as a download storyblue.air which uses adobe air and which during the install wanted me to click yes/ok to allowing unrestricted access to my pc/filesystem/etc-- um, I clicked no, passed on that software! Most likely harmless, but these days I lock down my computers and cell phone pretty tight, dangerous world of malware and bad guys on the internet.
     
  15. Edward M. Grant
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    Edward M. Grant Contributing Member

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    I used to use Scrivener, but lately I've switched back to LibreOffice; I'm now writing books in print format, because I found doing it that way to upload to PoD sites, then converting to an e-book, worked much better than doing it the other way around. I suspect I could eventually configure Scrivener to export in a viable PoD format, but given I needed several days to figure out how to do it in LibreOffice, I'm guessing it would take quite some time.
     
  16. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Well, with that said, you will love Scrivener's sync features that allow you to sync not only between one computer and another, but also between platforms. I use Scrivener on my Mac Mini, iMac and both MBPs, and I use Notebooks on my phone and iPad. They all share a sync file through Dropbox. My phone has access to my manuscript via Notebooks and what I write on the go is waiting for me at home when I open Scrivener.
     
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  17. Dragonport
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    I use Word. I tried Scrivener and liked it, but I'd only use it if I couldn't keep everything organized enough with Word. In the past I tended to type everything (which is just notes, I haven't used it for novel-writing) up on Word, then when it got too bulky, transferred one heading at a time to Scrivener. Of course, by that time I'd have forgotten, and would need to re-do the tutorial.

    With Word it's simple to navigate with the navigation by headings side-bar, to collapse and expand certain sections. My only problems with Scrivener was the occasional lack of formatting; I do a lot of research and copy and pasting in my experience sometimes creates weird formatting and boxes. I sometimes also can't control, or control as easily as I'd like, paragraph spacing, margins, position of text, and indents. Weird things would start to happen if I tried to reformat it, as I'm pretty picky with that sort of stuff. Overall, Scrivener's better at organization with its different formats, but Word is...prettier. In my opinion.

    But yet again, I didn't use some of Scrivener's features, like for simultaneously viewing I just use Word's split or view side-by-side. I also admit I'm very fond of Word 2010's style sets and color schemes! In addition it's fun to read the readability statistics on Word, which I'm not sure Scrivener has.
     
  18. StoryWeaver
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    StoryWeaver Member

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    I am trying out Scrivener and I have to say it looks really good. One thing I find very useful is the vertical split pane feature-- that would be immensely helpful for converting screenplay to novel prose. On a more critical note--its dictionary engine has marked 'gangly' and 'amidst' as being incorrectly spelled. But I am very intrigued by Scrivener, might give it a go for a couple of weeks during its free demo period, and worst cast i export/compile to an MS Word doc and use LibreOffice if I scrap Scrivener. I have not yet tried it, but I see that Scrivener allows one to set the background as even an image-- that could be interesting, for example as I am writing a horror-mystery-thriller I might set the background to be a high-gamma translucent image from a horror movie, etc. Or not.
     
  19. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yup. You can set up the screen however you like. You can use whatever font, font size, and line spacing makes you happy as regards dealing with the screen. None of that affects the export when you compile. The compile is a standard that you set elsewhere and remains sovereign.
     
  20. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    I've really grown to like Scrivener. I even used it to create my study guides for comps. It is a great tool, though if you're using it for writing academic stuff (and they are geared that way as well) you might find their numbered lists to be a pain to work with at times.

    Another software editor I've come to like is Smart Edit. I'm using the free version right now. After I write a chapter and edit down to where I think I'm done, I stick it in Smart Edit and let it run all it's search engines on it. That lists all types of stuff: tags and how many times each one is used, adverbs and the amount of times they are used each, a count of the first word of sentences, word repetitions in general, homophones, etc. etc. It's a pretty good "polishing" tool when the other work is finished. You can also manually input words to search for (so, add more homophone pairs/triplets, search for specific phrasings, etc).
     
  21. FlyFast
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    FlyFast New Member

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    I use Scrivener and then LibreOffice for final formatting.
     
  22. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Dang, there are more Scrivener users here than I thought.
     
  23. StoryWeaver
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    StoryWeaver Member

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    yeah i watched a video on Scriv and am very impressed. i will buy it but first i will use it a week or two to be sure it plays nice on my windows 64 bit operating systems. i knew of it years ago from a screenwriting forum i frequented, but then it was only available for apples, no windows. I wonder when it first became available for Windows. One thing I watched in a video tutorial just now was a feature where I can e.g. import my screenplay then click a button at plot/scene points to quickly create chapters--nice. Also the split pane feature so i could e.g. have my screenplay on the right and be rewriting it as novel prose on the left panel; wow.
     
  24. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    I've been running 64 bit Windows OS for years and Scrivener's never had a problem with it.
     
  25. StoryWeaver
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    StoryWeaver Member

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    Ultimate? Home Premium? I have had and have heard of issues sometimes with Ultimate. I have Windows 7 x64 Ultimate (not using that 'ultimate' for bragging purposes, just clarifying my version to hear if others with my exact version of Windows 7 have used the latest version of Scrivener with no issues which would be good to hear.
     

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