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Creative Writing Software Do you use any?

#1 User is offline   Acorn 

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:13 AM

I've been going throughout the internet for a while and looking up reviews and screen caps and such of various software that can be used to help a Fantasy or Sci-Fi writer develop their story and world in more detail. I haven't found too many programs that I've been able to use to any really good effect, but I'm sure there are plenty out there.

So far I've found several categories of software and had some recommended to me, but I don't generally buy expensive software if I can avoid it by getting something similar for less cost.

So.. Do any of you use software for writing and development?

Such as:

Organization? (Like Treepad)

Mind Mapping programs? (Cluster and other diagrams, there are several free ones like Edraw)

World Building software? (Haven't used any)

Map makers/designers?

Writing software? (Like Final Draft)

Character Sheets? (D&D or otherwise)

I'm sure there are other things that can be used to assist a writer in keeping things organized while helping create more depth and detail, but I can't think of anything else off hand.

I'm always looking to try new programs to find the right one for me, but I've been unable to trust cnet for a while now, and the rest of the internet is full of pitfalls as well. I figured I'd start a new discussion about things that are/can be used to make things just a bit easier on a novelist or screen writer.

This post has been edited by Acorn: 24 February 2013 - 09:05 PM

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#2 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:45 PM

I had a really good one on my old laptop, I'm struggling for the name atm, I'll try dig it up for you.
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#3 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:57 PM

Took me a while (and a little bit of google) to remember it.

the program is called Liquid Story Binder, there's a thirty day free trial definitely try before you buy, its a well put together program and most things are simple and intuitive but some thee aspects that should also be simple can seem very awkward and convoluted. Its the most comprehensive program I've tried personally, you can link timelines, maps, scetches, bios, hell, even audio grabs, to virtually any aspect (character, chapter, location etc) but it does take a bit of work to get into.

try a frivolous short story with a very small cast and see how it works for you, if yu don't like it on that scale, don't bother with it for bigger prjects.
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#4 User is offline   Isa 

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 03:33 PM

Scrivener. Good for aotab.

This post has been edited by Isolde: 20 February 2013 - 03:33 PM

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#5 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:00 PM

also, irrelevant to content but when I first saw the thread title I thought it was about tools for developing software.
maybe change the thread title to:
Creative writing software
or something like that,
I only clicked in because I was curious why someone would ask a techno question in the writing forum.
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#6 User is offline   Fist Gamet 

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:31 PM

Each to their own, I guess, but I would avoid all such devices as though they were plague-ridden. Honestly, in over twenty years of writing and mapping and detailing and pouring over every little detail of my creation, I would not change a thing. Learning how to create and develop a world and all within is such a huge part of the fun that it should not be relegated to a software construct. Seriously. Strip it back to basics, my friends. Learn a bit about geography and the natural world, understand climates, seas, weather, geology and how the world might change over the aeons. How do mountains form? Rivers? Jungles? Deserts? You need not be an expert but get to know it and have fun drawing a really cool world. Then, ala, SE, if you find part of your world doesn't fit to normal parameters, make it a bloody magical bit!
Now, after all this, populate the world with whomever you want. Got humans? How'd they get there? Did they develop from hunter/gatherer to farmer? Well I'd guess the villages, towns and cities spring up on rivers and coasts like they did in this old world. Now, what were their beliefs? Gods and spirits? What happened when they met other people? Trade? Genocide? Ancient people tended to have learned leaders as priests and Divine Kings and they built magnificent phallic symbols!

Simply, create the physical world and then use your imagination to populate it and work out how those people survived and flourished within the world. Might even be an evolutionary advantage to shape them physically and so on...
Basically, you can draw parallels to almost any thing from our own world and history, then fill in the gaps.

Takes years but it is fun!
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#7 User is offline   Macros 

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:12 PM

LSB isn't one of those character gens type writing softwares ( well I never used it as such) its more (Imo) for organising your stuff.
I'm a real scatter brain and almost always on the move, living out of hotels and the like so pen and papering is fine for quick scribbling but its almost.impossible to keep thing together, things get mixed up.and lost for me if I don't have a desk. I found story binder useful for cataloguing whatever I had come up with. Created a character? Save him/her/it individually.
then if you flesh out their homeland a little in your mind, create it as a location, link your character to it, then anyone else from there can be linked to it, got some thoughts you don't want to write down, draw a picture and tie it too it, record your thoughts vocally and tie then to it, its a handy tool for keeping your ideas in one place (again, Imo, i know some people use programs that basically tell then how to write, which can create cookie cutter stuff,but i dislike such programs)
i know some abhor the idea but for me and some people its hard to keep people and places all in order in our heads, or the paper trail gets lost.
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#8 User is offline   Acorn 

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:50 PM

Thanks for the title thing Macros - fixed it. I didn't even realize how awkward it read for what I wanted.

I will take a look at the software mentioned and toy around with it if I can. LSB and Scrivener....... but what does aotab mean?


@ Fist Gamet:

I haven't actually considered finding something to actually do the creating and work for me... I hadn't thought such things exist, considering it would require quite a bit of Telepathic AI... There might be something out there that creates characters and maps and such based on specific details you would input... But if you already have those details I can't see the point.

What I'm looking for are tools that HELP you develop plots and story arcs and character depth and map details. Not something to do the actual job for me... Even a World Builder that creates a randomized world at the click of a button is only useful to a point on its own... You have to do the work then, the same as you would have to do it before... Especially since there's little chance that the world will be exactly what you want.

And if you've been writing for 20 or more years you'll know that every little thing that helps is a good thing. Whether it's a News story that gives you a flash of inspiration or if it's a break in the clouds for you to take a picture of the perfect plant for your current village setting...A writer takes what help and inspiration they can get... Not everybody is comfortable to do their writing all in long-hand on paper. I just don't have the physical space for that - or a place to keep the papers if I did. Instead I type it all up and organize it on my laptop. Some people can draw a map out on paper without it looking like some demented cloud... Some people can't (Me, though they usually look like some 1 year old baby's dirty diaper.)
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#9 User is offline   High House Dark 

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 01:13 AM

yWriter is freeware, so it's clunky, but can organize your stuff into characters, events, scenes, and chapters.. and other stuff, I think. It's probably best for after outlining, when you're ready to write, but you want it stay organized.
Currently re-reading the entire series and waiting for Fall of Light. You can catch me in the chat to win a drawing request!~MISANDRY FOR LIFE MUAHAHA~
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#10 User is offline   Fist Gamet 

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 03:51 PM

Ok, fair enough if you are utilising software to help you keep organised and on track with the work. I admit my brain must be wired in a way that does not require it, which is lucky for me. With regards to the creative process (and in this, you mentioned plotting, story arcs and character creation) I am struggling to see the value of software to help with this. These are, after all, skills at which you, the writer, must work. Writing is hard work, there is no way around that - and good writing takes a lot of time and effort. Plotting and characterisation can be complex and difficult, and I am extremely wary of anything disguised as 'a helpful aid or tool' that is in fact an attempt at a shortcut.

Perhaps I am reading too much into it and giving too much credit to just what these tools can achieve. I guess I want to be sure that you are not using some software tool to replace the actual joy of creation, the sweat of graft or the acquisition of the skill and art of writing.
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