1. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    Looking for free story organizing software for Mac

    Discussion in 'Software' started by Xoic, Feb 4, 2020.

    I mean software that helps you organize all your notes and ideas and drafts so they're not just all jammed in folders or written in different programs. Anybody know of any or got good leads?

    I've been going through the software listed in this section of the boards, haven't found anything very promising yet. I have just downloaded Hiveword, but that's web-based. I'm not real keen on keeping all my story ideas somewhere on the web, I'd much rather download some software that lets me work offline (plus some days I don't have a decent connection).
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2020
  2. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Senior Member

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    Unless I completely misunderstand you, you want Scrivener.
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    except he wants free - and scriv is only free on linux
     
  4. Martin Beerbom

    Martin Beerbom Senior Member

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    Oops, completely missed this...
     
  5. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I know you said free, I know, but I'm gonna' be that pushy salesman and still proffer Scrivener. You can download and use the trial version, which is fully functional, no greyed out areas, and can be used for 30 functional days, not calendar days.

    You download and use it today, that's day one. Don't open it again until sometime next week, that's day two.

    It's originally and unapologetically a Mac application, so it looks, feels, walks, and talks like a Mac app.

    "But the learning curve!"

    Look, I am certainly no CERN candidate and I was up and running in minutes. Mind you, back when I was still on a Windows machine I had cut my teeth on a similar application called Liquid Story Binder. LSB was a very good idea and I loved it, but after using Scrivener, I realized how loosely strung LSB was.

    It exports to every file type known to man that remotely addresses text, to include perfectly formatted, Schunn style manuscripts in .doc or .docx.

    It's not cloud-based, and the software creators are disdainful of subscription plans. Last I checked it was $40.00-ish USD, but you can find discount codes everywhere and anywhere by googling.

    Honestly, I cannot imagine using anything other.
     
  6. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    I DO want Scrivener!! You guys are all right (Martin you only missed the FREE part, but I think you read my underlying need for the real thing, which is Scrivener). I looked up some videos on it last night and the interface reminds me very favorably of Evernote, which is amazing. Scrivener looks like it's built around something very similar, but with much more functionality.

    I'll definitely buy it when I can afford to. Wreybies, thanks for the heads up! I'll only open it every week or so, use it as much as I can for a full day, and snap it shut for a week or so again. Looking at this web-based free Hiveword monstrosity, it looks like a kid's game and all it does apparently is keep track of a few parameters of character and story outline and setting. I want something that does it all, or damn near.

    Ok, I think you guys answered my question perfectly. The only other question would be is there a decent free alternative, but I suspect I already know that one.
     
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  7. Lili.A.Pemberton

    Lili.A.Pemberton Member

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    I've never used Scrivener because I, too, do not have the money but I tried Bibisco and while I doubt it's anywhere near Scrivener levels, it does have some useful features and it's free for mac. I also just downloaded Manuskript and while I haven't delved too deep, it looks interesting.
     
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  8. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    Interesting, thanks Lili. It looks like Bibisco is for Windows & Linux only, but I might download it for my laptop, which is a Windows machine. Yesterday I downloaded yWriter for it, but haven't had time to mess with it yet. Might be cool to compare the 2, see how it goes. I'll look into Manuskript too, thanks for the heads up. I do like to write on the laptop sometimes, but generally the big Mac (desktop) is my main choice for that. Who knows though, if I find the right software for it, the laptop might become the authorial device of choice.

    Ok, Manuskript has a Mac version and it also seems to use the Evernote-style layout, which makes me think it might be excellent (I'm biased because I love Evernote). In fact I've been using Evernote for my notes and outline ideas etc, but it just lacks certain features that would let me organize them all into useful units I could consult quickly—instead I need to do searches or scroll down the sidebar looking for particular notes. I suspect the novel-organizing software will allow exactly what I want.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
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  9. Lili.A.Pemberton

    Lili.A.Pemberton Member

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    Are you sure? I just checked their website and it says it's available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. I can see the mac download link as well.
     
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  10. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    Wow, I must have looked at an old page about it or something. Thanks for the heads up!

    Edit—yep, the page I saw was from 2016. Got the website open now.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
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  11. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    Oh man, I was just about ready to download Manuskript when I noticed it's still in Beta testing. The latest release includes a bug fix that caused it to lose data. Whoah! Don't think I want to trust my story ideas to something that can do that! Or who knows what else? I like the look of it better than Bibisco. I'm starting to see there seem to be basically 2 different types of story organizing software. The Scrivener-style ones seem to be built at least partially on Evernote-style architecture, which at least from the screenshots I've seen, looks powerful and serious. The other type I've seen is like Hiveword, and Bibisco seems to be of this type to me, from just the little I've seen. Somehow it looks kind of silly, as if designed to be a children's flash-card game or something. I'll give it a shot anyway, maybe it works better than the appearance makes me suspect.
     
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  12. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member

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    There are other ways to skin the cat, too. I really like the company behind Scrivener, and keep an active license. My tastes drift, I may go back to it.

    I've found I prefer staying in my word processor of choice. Using headings provides a table of contents and I can drag-and-drop reorder chapters and scenes. It's a little like the Scrivener binder.

    OneNote is free, and side-by-side with your manuscript in a word processing file, it's sort of a Scrivener replacement.

    Or, a mind map like Freemind to store your notes, alongside manuscripts in traditional word processing files.
     
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  13. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    Much appreciated.
     
  14. Amontillado

    Amontillado Member

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    Here's another idea or two I first heard in an outline forum.

    The Apple spreadsheet, Numbers, is quite a bit different from Excel, and it has potential as a whiteboard.

    Excel has a near-infinite table you can enter stuff on. Numbers has a sheet that you can put tables on - or text blocks and pictures. You can draw lines between them for association. I don't use Numbers for whiteboarding, but it's possible.

    Keynote, the presentation package, can be used in a similar way, plus you can play back your scene storyboards like a little movie.
     
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  15. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Uncle! Supporter Contributor

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    Is that why it gives me Forrest Whitaker eye?

    I use maybe 10% or less of the functionality, the point I like most is the ability to totally fullscreen the manuscript and get rid of all the damn distractions. Typewriter with a continuous feed.

    Most of the rest is a mystery to me, I think I broke the tutorial.

    ETA: However, Scrivener is when I know I'm getting serious about a story. Just random pecking I go with my OpenOffice word processor, but when I start getting really stuck in I move to Scrivener. And try to unfuck the formatting again.
     
  16. Dogberry's Watch

    Dogberry's Watch Contributor Contributor

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    I use yWriter, which is free. It helps you organize things a lot. You can set up projects however you want to. They do a much better job of explaining it, so here is the link for their main page:

    http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter6.html

    I use version 6.
     
  17. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Wow, I didn't know you were in the Scrivnation. ;)

    Have you formatted your work surface? The thing with any application like Scrivener (this is common to them all, predecessors and current clones pivoting off of Scrivener's wild success) is that most of the functionality is non-obtrusive. You aren't made to walk a certain path. You can open the simplest of the fiction templates and just treat it like a sheet of paper the way one does with Word or Open Office. And when that sheet of paper graduates into something a little more elaborate, you can pull it from its base template and plug it into one of the more involved working environments.

    IMHO, one of the best ways to get a little comfortable with what's in Scrivener's toolbox is to customize your toolbar. Give some thought to your writing process, the typical things you do when you do what you do. Look at the default toolbar, decide what buttons are superfluous, make no sense to what you do, are just plain dumb, and get rid of them and replace them with ones that do make sense to you. I think that's a good place to start.

    View> Customize Toolbar (Mac)

    Tools> Customize Toolbar (Windows)

    Screen Shot 2020-03-12 at 9.48.05 AM.png
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2020
  18. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    Agree re: the Scrivener recommendation.

    To the extent you’re also going to look at free Windows software, look at SmartEdit writer. https://www.smart-edit.com/Writer/
     
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  19. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Uncle! Supporter Contributor

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    Nothing I'm seeing in your post makes any sense to me.

    I think there are people in my direct genetic line who didn't have kids or something, this shit just mystifies me. This is as far as I've ever gotten with Scriv:

    Scrivener Page.png

    Push F11 (IIRC) and you get to fullscreen. That's all I understand, I couldn't make heads or tails of the tutorial.

    Fuck it, gimme a chisel and a rock, I'm going old-school.
     
  20. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well... I mean... We've had conversations before concerning tech, and you know I love you, right? :whistle: :-D

    Your toolbar is emptier than the default toolbar and I'm wondering how that came to be. But regardless, when you get tired of tapping cuneiform into wet clay tablets, View> Customize Toolbar. ;)
     
  21. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Uncle! Supporter Contributor

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    This is always the case with me and tech. I get a brand-new clean install of something, and nothing matches what the tutorials say it should have, all the key options are grayed out, and I just can't figure out how to fix it.

    My dad was a computer programmer, fer chrissakes. Some of that should have rubbed off on me, no?
     
  22. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Uncle! Supporter Contributor

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    Case in point: There is no "Customize Toolbar" option in my "View" menu.

    Scrivener Toolbar.png
     
  23. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    My bad. Windows version appears to be Tools> Customize Toolbar
     
  24. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Uncle! Supporter Contributor

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    Will take a look, but you see how my day goes with tech...

    ETA: Found it. Gonna leave it alone because I know I'll break the whole computer if I play with it, but at least I know where it is when I need to break the whole computer.

    ;)
     
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  25. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Uncle! Supporter Contributor

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    Another note: The first thing that happened when I opened Scriv today was that it told me my license was invalid and I was back on the trial edition. Fortunately I got them to email me the license key again, but I have no idea how or why that happened in the first place.

    I'm threadjacking, I'll stop.
     

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