1. murasaki_sama
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    murasaki_sama Senior Member

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    Writing Programs

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by murasaki_sama, Mar 13, 2013.

    So a few months ago, I was working on some outlining/revisions, and I thought pinning cards to a wall/corkboard would really help me out. Problem was, I didn't have a corkboard. Or a blank wall. So I looked for a way to do the same thing on the computer; I mean, someone has to have had the same idea before, right?

    Instead of finding what I wanted, I found a lot of programs for writing. The one I settled on is called Scrivner, and is totally awesome. It lets me organize information into different files/folders, without having to open a several program windows, like microsoft word does. It also lets me take snapshots of a text file, so I can revise it and then compare it to the first version. It lets me view one file side by side with another file, so I can refer to info pages while writing a chapter, or look at character write ups or something. It sort of has a corkboard feature, but...I haven't played with it much. Anyway, I love it.

    I was wondering how many other writers on this site have ever used a writing program? Or looked into them? Or heard of Scrivner?

    Also, has anyone used that card+corkboard style of planning/outlining? How does it work? Does it help?

    Other writers - how do you organize your work? Do you just put it all into a single word document, or split it up into several word documents? Do you use a paper notebook for info/notes/outlining/ideas, or do you use a whole folder on your computer?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I use Scrivener. I don't use the cork board too much but I do use the note cards and the outline in the sidebar is great for moving chapters around.
     
  3. murasaki_sama
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    murasaki_sama Senior Member

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    I like that ability, of moving the chapters/text files around. I also like the icons it lets you use, helps me organize the folders/files a bit bitter. Still trying to work out the colored labels and things you can add to files/folders/whatever. I think they could be useful, but they also seem a bit limited. Have you used them at all?

    Also, have you tried any other writing programs? If so, how would you compare them?
     
  4. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I use a notebook to jot down a few important notes to start, but after that... I just kinda do where my brain takes me. I've never been big on outlining, and the few times I've tried, I've gotten so frustrated with it, and ended up changing everything anyway that I just decided, what's the point.
     
  5. murasaki_sama
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    murasaki_sama Senior Member

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    Phoenix - do you ever read through your story when you are done and find parts that contradict each other? Like you start by saying Character A has two knives, but by the end of the story Character has has never used a knife, but has shot two people through the heart?
     
  6. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Haven't run into that to much lol Usually, any contradictions I see in my work are chronological, order of event stuff. It isn't too often though, I'm pretty good at keeping it straight in my head.
     
  7. murasaki_sama
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    murasaki_sama Senior Member

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    I'm not. I think the problem is I try to write too many things at once, or have too many characters.

    Or I take too long on a story, going away and then coming back to it.
     
  8. NellaFantasia
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    NellaFantasia Member

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    Most of my planning and organizing is world building. Eventually I'd like all my novels and short stories to take place in the same universe so I don't have to come up with multiple magic systems, histories and cultures. Right now I just jot down ideas for the world in a notebook or Word doc, or draw up maps in Paint. I'm not too fancy, lol. I've looked into writing programs and they do seem interesting, but I don't think they would benefit someone like me who doesn't do a lot of outlining.
     
  9. murasaki_sama
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    murasaki_sama Senior Member

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    I use scrivner for world building more than outlining. I have one file for the outline/plot, and the rest are full of details on magic, races, religions, geography, characters and what not. I use to put all of that into a single word document, and it took ages to scroll through it looking for the information I wanted.
     
  10. lettuce head
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    lettuce head Active Member

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    Scrivener helped me break through my 30,000 word barrier. I keep pictures of scenes handy to help me describe them, names of characters and places are all right there, split screen is great like you say. So is the cork board that I don't use as much anymore.
     
  11. Sanjuricus
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    Sanjuricus Active Member

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    I use Scrivener as well. Love it. Terms of the free trial are also very sensible, you literally get to use it for 30 days in total, non-consecutively. Awesome.

    There is also Liquid Story Binder XE which looks good, I haven't tried it myself yet but may well give it a whirl on a future project.
     
  12. TimHarris
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    TimHarris Senior Member

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    I tried Scrivener last night. The text editor seems to be lacking in certain areas, so I will keep using Libre Office for writing, but I absolutely loved the other functionalities of the program. The corkboard looks useful, as does the folder system of Scrivener, and it's much easier to document the world I am building with the folder and corkboard system than it use a huge ass spreadsheet as I do now.

    So I combined the two, and keep writing my novel in Libre Office, while hyperlinking to the documents through Scrivener, that seems to work pretty well. Thanks for the tips to the program. Looks as if I might chip in 40 dollars when my trial's up ;)
     
  13. murasaki_sama
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    murasaki_sama Senior Member

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    I did notice the text edit limitation of scrivner, but it isn't a text edit program. It is for writing as much as possible, for getting the story out there. Generally speaking, formatting and such happen after the story is complete, which I think is what scrivner is aiming for. For example, with the file system, there is no need to format chapter headers or anything of the kind - just create a new file and keep writing. I believe scrivner has a compile feature which will combine the writing, and create limited formatting, after you have finished it, and then you can copy that into a libre or other word officer thing.

    But even if just for planning and outlining and keeping track of world info, scrivner is awesome. It is the only program I have ever actually wanted to buy; I didn't even wait for the trail to be over. It was totally worth the 40 bucks, in my opinion.
     
  14. Brinda
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    Brinda New Member

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    I use yWriter. It's a nifty little program for both writing and planning, and the best part is that it's free! It isn't set up to be pretty, but hey, if it get's the job done. I would find it difficult to be convinced that Scrivener had anything more to offer than yWriter--especially for $40.
     
  15. murasaki_sama
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    murasaki_sama Senior Member

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    From the look of it, ywriter is only for windows operating systems, and doesn't work on mac. Additionally, ywriter does not seem to offer the snapshot feature I like so much on scrivner. I would have to try the program out to truly compare them, but I do not have windows, I use a mac.

    Any writers with a windows OS want to play scientist? Scrivner is free for 30 days, which is more than enough time to explore all the features and compare them to the free ywriter. I would like to see how they differ; I imagine each is equally good and neither is better, significantly, than the other. I just want to know what the differences are. I believe scrivner works on multiple operating systems...
     
  16. lettuce head
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    lettuce head Active Member

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    It does.

    I'm also mac based, which does limit which software can be used. But with Scrivener I sure don't feel I'm left with table scraps. It is a first class, well organized software that supports a writer's creativity. It accommodates various methods of organizing depending on the writer. It has different page views so you can write in a basic word processing format or a book size.

    It is made to be flexible and user friendly. I don't know half the features but it fits me clear to the ground.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    when writing scripts, i never use the final draft 'virtual index card' option, preferring the real mccoy... that allows me a respite from the computer, as well as giving me more leeway in arranging/rearranging things more 'spaciously' than on a few inches of monitor screen...

    and i don't need any such system for writing prose...
     
  18. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Everyone's been talking about Scrivener here so much that I gave it a try last night, and went through the tutorial it comes with. I bought it immediately. I have no idea how helpful it will be to me in writing fiction - as I've said many times, I don't outline - but I can see that it would be incredibly useful to me in the technical writing I have to do for work.

    There's one thing about it I would like to try in fiction writing. I often write several versions of certain scenes before I decide which I like best, and it's always been a bit awkward with Word to have multiple versions of my stories in my folders. If I have two versions of one scene and three of another, I have to keep six Word documents, unless I feel like copying scenes into and deleting scenes out of Word all the time, just to see how different versions of the story turn out. Scrivener will let me keep all my different scene versions as documents in one Scrivener file and will allow me to include or exclude them far more conveniently than I could with Word. I can hardly wait to play with this!
     
  19. murasaki_sama
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    murasaki_sama Senior Member

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    That's pretty much what I did too. I downloaded it free, went through the tutorial and decided I wanted to buy it. I had to wait a week or two until I had the money, but oh, was it worth it.

    Also, depending on how different the scenes are, you could also snapshot on, revise/edit it, and then compare the two versions. I love that feature, and when I'm writing a story or revising a scene, I use it extensively. I used to have the same problem - I'd write a scene one way, but want to write it another way, and I always ended up using multiple docs and oh, was it annoying. Now I just use snapshot and its so easy to compare and decide what I like best.

    Its not as useful, I think, if one version of the scene is first person and another is, say, third person, but for minor revisions and some rewording, its perfect. Otherwise, the option to view two files side by side works for comparing different versions of a scene.
     

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