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Cafe Doom  |  The Critique Crypt  |  General writing chat  |  What writing programs do you find useful?
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Author Topic: What writing programs do you find useful?  (Read 16664 times)

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Offline fnord33

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What writing programs do you find useful?
« on: August 17, 2011, 07:32:11 PM »
I just installed windows 7 and I can't find the installer for my old program, so I was searching for a new one and ran across a lot of interesting software like rough draft and dramatica. I haven't had a chance to check them out yet. Anybody know anyone who has used this or anything like it? Do you use any software that makes writing faster or easier? 

Dramatica:

Aspiring and seasoned writers take note: gone are the days of handwritten note cards, extensive plot revisions, and hand cramps. Dramatica Pro promises to be your writing coach, your secretary, your guide, and even your therapist as you develop sharp, focused storylines together.

Getting started in Dramatica Pro as a beginning user is intuitive and easy. In the StoryGuide segment, there are three levels of story forming, and we tried out the most advanced (which is estimated to take three to four days of work). Dramatica Pro comes with 32,768 potential "storyforms," all of which incorporate structural, thematic, and dynamic elements of your story. After answering about a dozen of the multiple-choice Dramatica Query System questions, we were able to decide on one storyform. For those that choose not to pursue the multiple-choice route, there is also the Story Engine, which allows for a more holistic and freeform method of sketching out your basic story.

One thing you'll notice right off is the unique language of Dramatica Pro. While many terms--motivation, pursuit, antagonist--will be familiar to most writers, there are a number of terms that are used in specific relation to Dramatica Pro's capabilities. Fortunately, at each stage of the story-creation process, there are a number of help buttons (such as Explain, Theory, Usage, and Context) that provide further definition of terms and their usage. And after a few sessions, we found ourselves thinking about "signposts," "journeys," the four "throughlines," and other features that bring a story into focus.

Dramatica Pro's main desktop is the portal for all story-building activity. Its 12 tiles present users with options for developing just about every aspect, from character creation and polishing, to plot-progression charts and reports on your progress and story. Because Dramatica Pro does not try to be a word processing application, every nook and cranny is filled with developmental prowess to help hone your skills while discovering your story.

One aspect of the application that we appreciated was the opportunity for writer growth. After becoming familiar with the application's interface, we were able to use Dramatica Pro's Story Engine and Story Points to access our story's "master controls" without all the exposition and explanation. Also, Dramatica Pro offers a Brainstorming command that allows the program to intelligently tweak your storyform into something new should you experience writer's block.
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Offline Pharosian

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2011, 11:07:37 PM »
I don't use any writing software outside of a program my husband wrote for me that is a basic text editor plus a word frequency counter. Each word is added to a list on the left along with the number of times it appears in the document. I can select any word in the list and it highlights all instances of it in the document, which lets me see when words are used too close together or simply overused. It helps me find all the instances of "just" and "that" and other problem words, for example. I use MS Word for the final formatting.

A few years ago I bought a package called New Novelist. It was supposedly designed to help you keep track of characters and so on, and had a plot wizard that would supply a sort of twelve-step program for your story. Unfortunately, this was basically the hero's journey in a number of variations, and it didn't work for me.

A friend of mine swears by Scrivener. I downloaded the free trial and found that it had a lot of great features, but I never really spent the time to figure out how to use it to best advantage. Initially it was only available on the Mac, but I understand that there's a Windows version now. It's worth checking out.

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2011, 02:14:38 AM »
That sort of program sounds ghastly, fnord. I wouldn't touch it.

I write pretty much everything from short poems to full novels on an ancient copy of Word. The only exception is if I'm writing in French, which sometimes makes Word panic and start squashing letters on top of each other for some reason, so then I swap to Open Office.

If I were writing scripts, I'd use a program that sorted the formatting for me, but my blood runs cold at the thought of a program that is going to influence the form of my fiction writing in any way, which is what 'Dramatica' sounds like it would do.

Basic text editing for me. Nothing else.

Offline JonP

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2011, 03:00:14 AM »
Same here, just basic Word plus Evernote for jotting down ideas.

Offline Ed

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2011, 03:05:27 AM »
Oh, I couldn't be doing with that -- I'd never get anything done. The only thing I use is that Sonar prog, which keeps track of my submissions. Even that's pretty useless for me with the amount I put out.
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Offline Rev. Austin

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2011, 06:09:23 AM »
I just use Word (two files per story - one for ideas/research, the other for the story itself) and a tiny notebook for scribbling story ideas and notes in :) Dramatica does seem to promise the moon on a stick, which makes me very wary.
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Offline ozmosis7

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2011, 02:46:16 PM »
I started out using Final Draft and a program called Grammarian for catching basic stuff. I later found word does the trick of both of them. I've fooled with some of the other mapping ones, but found them holding me back with too much to do. I can see where they might be helpful if you are that type of writer though. Word alone for me now, though.
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Offline Geoff_N

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2011, 01:08:49 AM »
I use nothing but Word but judging by the echoes and pleonasms that my eyes miss I should use something else before relying on critiquers to find my blunders. On my old PC's favourites there was a web-based program that found those kind of errors, highlighting them much in the way Pharo describes. I can't find it now. You just copied and pasted your text into it. Simple and quick. Anyone  know one that does that?

Offline fnord33

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2011, 04:04:44 AM »
Yeah, I don't really like the idea of a computer program messing with my work. I'll probably check one out eventually, but I expect it to waste ore time than it saves me. The one Pharo was talking about sounds extremely useful, though.   
Life is an entanglement of lies to hide it's basic mechanisms. - William Burroughs

Offline Kai

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2011, 11:13:16 AM »
ywriter is an amazing program that lets you organize and helps break your writing into scenes instead of large chunks of text. It's made by spacejock software and it is free.
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Offline jsorensen

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2011, 11:28:37 PM »
I've looked at Dramatic and read some of their publications concerning thheir theory of story--interesting and fun and kept me from writing...Don't want to knock the program, it could and does work for some, but for me I just use Microsoft Word -- outline the story, add to it, detract from it, or what ever is needed...
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Offline delboy

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2011, 04:23:42 AM »
I just use Word and I wait until the house is empty and I read my stories aloud and that usually helps me fine tune rhyhms and highlights repeated words and phrase. The dog gives me funny looks, though.
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Offline eagle37

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2011, 08:39:40 AM »
Yup, swear by 'reading out loud' as being one of the final edit steps. Always end up shking my head in horror at how many thinks it picks up I'd missed two or three times already

Offline notsoscarey

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2011, 07:52:56 PM »
Word or Works and a notebook with different colored pens.  I likes me pens! Mmmm...pretty pens...




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Offline LashSlash

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Re: What writing programs do you find useful?
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2011, 11:57:52 AM »
I just use Word and I wait until the house is empty and I read my stories aloud and that usually helps me fine tune rhyhms and highlights repeated words and phrase. The dog gives me funny looks, though.
.....


sorry to disappoint and to sound stuffy--- reading aloud tells you if the text makes basic sense, or not. that's about all it does.  --- it will not tell you iff the text  is well written ..... why?? :-  we dont write the way we speak. our speech patterns are lazy as can be, and choka-bloc full of lacsidaisycalities.   [even when writing dialogue, one has to be aware of this]......


read this out-aloud: jonny said to me that the bucket  is just about half empty and even i couldnt know that without looking for myself....

did that sound okay?? - of course it does . how many mistakes do you hear??- none ........--- is it well written??? -- no, it is not  ....
« Last Edit: November 19, 2011, 12:09:39 PM by LashSlash »

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