Friday, February 7, 2014

Reader Friday: Best Tools for Writers?

Tool Guy wants to know: what writing software or tools do you use?

p.s. Click here for a discussion about some specific tools.




30 comments:

  1. One that wasn't mentioned in that discussion is XMind's free mindmapping software. I liked it so much, I upgraded to the paid version:

    http://www.xmind.net/

    It certainly makes plotting easier.

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  2. Xmind looks really interesting--first I've heard of it. Thanks for the tip!

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    1. I hadn't heard of this either. I'll have to check it out. I like software that's intuitive & simple. If I have to take away from my writing time to learn software, I tend to drop it. Scrivener was that way for me. Only $49 but it wasn't easy enough. My low tech style is fine by me.

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  3. I've been using mindmap tools (currently FreeMind) but I was hankering for something a bit more structures, like a giant grid spreadsheet on mindmap steroids.

    I just gave Scapple another look (from Literature & Latte, the folks who do Scrivener) and I think this may be the replacement I need for the giant sheet of paper. I can use thin vertical rectangles for plot architecture sections, and thin horizontal rectangles for individual characters, and then pin (they call it magnetize) notes to them which I can either move as a unit or individually and (important) connect them to each other. So I can tie Char 1's mistake at Pinch Point 1 to Char 2's reaction to Villain's success graphically.

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  4. Paper and pens. I love a blank sheet of paper and I'm a connoisseur of pens. I even have fountain pens.

    Call me names, go ahead, I can take it. I have notebooks and binders and I'm proud of them. That's just how I roll.

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    1. A Proud Penster, lol! I love it!

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    2. Yes, I'm with you, Oh, Proud Pensters!

      Actually, I have a "thing" about office supplies, but won't go into that, except to say that the red Walgreens pens are hard to resist. (This is not a confession.)

      I do some of my best work with a good, solid pen (see above) and a nifty notebook (one that folds all the way around). So it's Old School. Shoot me.

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  5. Amanda – Me too. I write in Open Office, but do all my planning in a spiral notebook in pen.

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  6. I have both Scrivener and MasterWriter. I see where Scrivener is helpful, but MasterWriter does absolutely nothing for me.

    Another software tool they didn't mention is Writer's Dream Kit. I think it a valuable tool in narrowing down your story form. It's a wonderful guide to getting your character journey mapped out.

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  7. I'm with Amanda and John. For plotting note cards and a pencil, which will eventually get put into a Excel spreadsheet or Word table. After that, just my laptop and printer, with occasional side trips to pencil and paper when I'm stuck.

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  8. I actually had the cheek to go out and design a writing program. Since some NYT bestselling authors now use it, I figure it's okay to mention:

    https://hiveword.com/knockout

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    1. I use Hiveword as my electronic file cabinet. All my info on all my characters is in there. Very handy and easy to use.

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    2. A good splurge for my birthday bounty! I've been wanting to try it and needed the link again.

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    3. Okay. You got my interest, Jim. Thx.

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  9. C S Harris, author of the Sebastian St. Cyr series, posted on her blog about a study of handwriting vs. keyboarding. The study found that handwriting resulted in more creativity than keyboarding.

    Award-winning author Joe Haldeman said he writes in a notebook in the morning. Since he can't easily change things, he considers every sentence carefully before committing it to the page. In the afternoon, he transfers everything to the computer and edits.

    I use notecards on a bulletin board for plotting. I can't afford a monitor large enough to see all my cards at one time. ;) I work through plot issues and decisions by writing in a notebook about them. I turn to the keyboard when it's time to write the manuscript.

    Kathy

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  10. There are so many great writing software tools out there. Whenever I hit a snag in my writing, I have found that checking them out thoroughly is a great way to avoid actually writing! Now I have several more to check out. Thanks...I think. ;-)

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    1. Me too! Plus I just decided to finally order a MacBook Pro, which will open up a whole new world of tools to explore! :)

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  11. Aside from using the MyPad (pen and paper), I'm quite fond of developing and diagramming on a big whiteboard and editing text on my Kindle, as opposed to hardcopy.

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    1. Never considered editing text on Kindle. Good ideaM

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  12. Mindmaps..then outlines..then pen & paper or MS Word. I just started using an online editor at prowritingaid.com, that has been great.

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  13. While not a writer's tool, per se, I like Trello.com for organizing writing-related tasks, including marketing, cover design, PR, research, etc. Also, Pinterest for visual inspiration and project boards.

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  14. In a related question, does anyone have a suggestion for a program that can be imported into Word and will keep track of page and chapter numbers, headers, title page, etc.? I was using ProsePro for years, but it no longer seems to work on my system ( probably user error--not a knock on ProsePro).

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  15. I've tried using Scrivener and Celtx both of which work quite similarly and quite well, especially for writing play or movie scripts. But for novel writing, I am a stream of consciousness type and have found MS Word to be the best tool for my style. I do outline some, but mainly it unfolds for me in sequence and rebuilds through multiple run throughs of the text.

    Lately I have been using my Samsung tablet and Office Suite Pro 7. Typing with my new Samsung Keyboard Dock which turns it into a laptop as needed.

    If in the field and without electricity though, charcoal on birch bark works fine too, although carving the story into rocks is more permanent (albeit less portable)

    Fiili and Gniili both claim that Newgrange in Ireland was actually a novel they both started in 1465BC. To avoid trouble with the authorities they ended up having to pretend it was actually a tomb and let the High King have credit for it.

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  16. Scrivener, hands down. Only drag is you have to export to MS Word, which is the work of the devil.

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  17. I'm becoming more comfortable with Scrivener (the PC version) and like it for the sorting capabilities. I also use MSWord but find it cumbersome compared with Scrivener. I have a trial version of Scapple but can't seem to get into it yet. I still like index cards, post-its, paper scraps, and doodling.
    My tried-and-true is still pencil or pen and paper for plotting and planning. I'd write more longhand but my wrist gives me a fit after about twenty minutes.
    I love that term - penster - I have 2 fountain pens that I use primarily for my morning journal writing. They're so luxurious to write with.

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. My blogger account has been taken over by an O ver d ose. My 2 cents follows.

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  20. I have purchased so many writers software programs it would seem I have an endless flow of funds.
    The best program I have found comprises of a chair, my PC, and my butt sitting in the chair punching the keyboard.

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  21. I use Scrivener for Windows for my writing. I was one of the beta testers for it when it came out because Word was driving me crazy. I'm a pantser, and I can move around in the story a lot, and frankly, Word was not flexible for that kind of writing. Scrivener is a tool that works for both outliners and pantsers -- pretty much you can use it whatever way you want, which a lot of writing software doesn't allow.

    I also use Evernote to story research and my story bible. I just create a notebook for the story project and add all the research notes in it. While Scrivener has some functionality to do this, it doesn't play that well with photographs that I might save.

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