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Thread: Fantasy friendly writing software?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    Fantasy friendly writing software?

    I've been using yWriter, which is great, and have just downloaded Storybook to see if that's better, but neither one of them entirely supports what I'm looking for.

    For one thing, they don't allow for custom calendars. Does anyone know of any writing software that lets you fill in your own day, month and year names?

    They also don't seem to offer the ability to create custom fields, in which you could detail each characters special powers, if they have any, and things like that.

  2. #2
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    I have ywriter, but when I'm doing heavily-researched writing I prefer Liquid Story Binder. It lets you create dossiers for characters or places with whatever fields you like; it lets you add pictures, and you can create timelines with whatever labels you want.

    LSB is more document management software than word processing or writing process software. It gives you basic formatting ability (enough for most manuscript purposes), and keeps things very organised, but if you want complex word-processing or some support for writing process you might find it short in some respects.

    Below is a screenie of LSB on one of my fantasy stories. You can see that I snarf a lot of images for inspiration as I write.

    These days I tend to research in LSB, plan in Power Structure, and write in Power Writer. You could it all that using carefully-structured folders and a simple word-processor, but I often have multiple projects on the boil and lots of notes, and I find that the right tools helps me keep the ideas organised better.

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Ruv! LSB sounds like exactly what I'm looking for!

  4. #4
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    I agree with Ruv. Liquid Story Binder is good for projects that need a lot of documentation. The ability to couple info+picture easily is a huge plus in my book. The gallery option is IMO a great way to save pictures that capture the mood you want for a scene. I also agree that the word processing aspect is a bit lacking, although some features are handy. The repetition finder is easy to use, and the thesaurus seems decent.

    It's not a perfect piece of software however. Certain aspects are unrefined, and are more difficult to use than necessary. For example, I wish the color coding in the Mind-Map tool was hereditary. The file system is antiquated, and exporting/importing files could be more streamlined.

    Honestly the best part is: you can try the software for free.

  5. #5
    i'm a girl. (i have tendonitis) defyalllogic's Avatar
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    writeitnow is what i use for organizing things like that. - you can try it for free.

    (there's an events tab and you can arrange the timline in order and link it to chapters)

    LSB is great and i did the first draft and planning in it but it gets distracting and complicated for me. i find myself spending so much time fiddeling that no writing got done...

  6. #6
    Plotting something Ambri's Avatar
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    I've heard some good things about Scrivener, but I've personally only ever used MS Word (die evil Microsoft!) What are LSB's features that make it better than Scrivener, in your opinion?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aphotic Phoenix View Post
    I agree with Ruv. Liquid Story Binder is good for projects that need a lot of documentation. The ability to couple info+picture easily is a huge plus in my book. The gallery option is IMO a great way to save pictures that capture the mood you want for a scene. I also agree that the word processing aspect is a bit lacking, although some features are handy. The repetition finder is easy to use, and the thesaurus seems decent.

    It's not a perfect piece of software however. Certain aspects are unrefined, and are more difficult to use than necessary. For example, I wish the color coding in the Mind-Map tool was hereditary. The file system is antiquated, and exporting/importing files could be more streamlined.

    Honestly the best part is: you can try the software for free.
    I REALLY like this. I love to have pictures with my writing. But I dislike the whole TrialPay thing. Yet, I'm short on cash. *sigh*

  8. #8
    Mostly annoying Hallen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ambri View Post
    . . . What are LSB's features that make it better than Scrivener, in your opinion?
    It runs on Windows. Scrivener is Mac only.
    Everywhere you go, there you are.
    Just call me Eric.

  9. #9
    i'm a girl. (i have tendonitis) defyalllogic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hallen View Post
    It runs on Windows. Scrivener is Mac only.
    this.

    i wish i could use scrivener. it looks so easy and fresh. LSB can be a bit daunting...

  10. #10
    Not responsible for bitten fingers Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruv Draba View Post
    I don't understand what I'm looking at.

    What's wrong with using Word or OO?
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  11. #11
    i'm a girl. (i have tendonitis) defyalllogic's Avatar
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    it's more of an organizer than a word processor. it's not that great as a word processor.

    if you want to use it to "build" your story that would be where the time lines and links and pictures and dossiers come in. you can make character and place profiles and mind maps...

    the list of things you can have/do From the LSB website:
    Dossiers
    Create Dossiers for major characters and settings.

    Timelines
    Plot your novel by organizing cards along colored timelines.

    Storyboards
    Combine images and text to create a visual reference board.

    Journals
    Create a writing journal, or even fictional journals for each one of your characters.

    Outlines
    Create a collapsible tree of plot ideas.

    Mindmaps
    Link ideas together using lines and text.

    Image Galleries
    Organize your reference images into galleries.

    Builders
    Organize complex scenes using titles, descriptions, and color indexing.

    Position Memory
    Liquid Story Binder XE remembers just where you left off.

    Manuscript Building
    Combine multiple chapters into a single manuscript automatically.

    Printing
    Preserve your font and paragraph editing with Format Printing.

    Workspaces
    Preserve your favorite window layouts for quick access.

    Project Goals
    Words per day, words left to write, days remaining, multi-document word counts.

    Color Schemes
    Create the perfect writing environment with your favorite window colors.

    Recordings
    Record yourself reading your own novel. Test for pacing and time.

    File Listings
    Organize all your files into easy-access file trees.

    Backups
    Every Chapter has its own backup repository. Never lose a single word with automatic version and session backups. Compress your whole archive into a single ZIP file.

    Shortcuts
    Quickly access your favorite external software and documents.

    Statistics
    Times, Word Counts, Goals, Sessions, Versions, Days.

    Reader
    Read over your work in a easy to view columned window, free of editing distractions.

    Music Playlists
    Add your MP3s and sort them into playlists. Set the mood for writing.

    External Editing
    Open your work outside of Liquid Story Binder.

  12. #12
    Not responsible for bitten fingers Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    Oh, so it's an outliner or something?

    I just write, I don't preplan or build the story.
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    “I love words but I don’t like strange ones. You don’t understand them and they don’t understand you. Old words is like old friends, you know ‘em the minute you see ‘em.” -- Will Rogers

    "Blame it on my ADD, baby." -- AWOLNATION

  13. #13
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    And you write fantasy? Wow, how do you manage that?

    I've got notes all over the place for the various religions, organisations, towns, traditions, cultures, etc. etc. etc. There's no way I could stay consistent without preplanning.

    I played around with LSB last night and I do reeeeally really like it, particularly the ability to create dossiers, timelines and storyboards, but it is quite daunting looking at all those options. Guess I'll play around with it for a few days and then decide whether I want to buy it.

    What is it about the word processing that people don't like? From the quick go I had with it, I was quite impressed. It's formatted in a way that looks like you're reading a novel, which I find quite cool (and preferable to reading from one side of my screen to the other). The ability to add indented notes by starting the line with '..' is so handy too, and anything you include in those notes does not get counted in the word count, or get printed out when you're ready to print the manuscript. What's not to like?

  14. #14
    Ah-HA! Smiling Ted's Avatar
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    Are there any fantasy-friendly pencils out there?
    I think mine is dragon-incompatible.
    "Crazy visions you got. Come with me to barber, we bleed you, you see right, everything good. I buy for you first leech."
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  15. #15
    Not responsible for bitten fingers Shadow_Ferret's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhys Cordelle View Post
    And you write fantasy? Wow, how do you manage that?
    Well, as I said, I don't preplan. I create as I write. And I only create a spreadsheet when I start having trouble keeping everything straight in my head.
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    “I love words but I don’t like strange ones. You don’t understand them and they don’t understand you. Old words is like old friends, you know ‘em the minute you see ‘em.” -- Will Rogers

    "Blame it on my ADD, baby." -- AWOLNATION

  16. #16
    Remember, Ferret, the great fetish of (many) fantasy writers is pre-writing...
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    DavidWClary.com: Keep up with all the other DWC sites here

  17. #17
    Odd person AceTachyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dclary View Post
    Remember, Ferret, the great fetish of (many) fantasy writers is pre-writing...
    Fetish? You mean like leather?

  18. #18
    Odd person AceTachyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow_Ferret View Post
    Well, as I said, I don't preplan. I create as I write. And I only create a spreadsheet when I start having trouble keeping everything straight in my head.
    Haven't tried a spreadsheet. Or anything like the mentioned software.

    Still strictly paper for me. Scrawled notes eventually get typed up and printed out. Maps are drawn on paper. Everything in an accordion file.

    And I'm not even writing fantasy. I'm writing cyberpunk.

    In this case, these notes and maps serve as a series bible just to ensure consistency over the current 10 episodes.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by AceTachyon View Post
    Fetish? You mean like leather?
    Yes, exactly. But... more papery.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    DavidWClary.com: Keep up with all the other DWC sites here

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by defyalllogic View Post
    it's more of an organizer than a word processor. it's not that great as a word processor.

    if you want to use it to "build" your story that would be where the time lines and links and pictures and dossiers come in. you can make character and place profiles and mind maps...

    the list of things you can have/do From the LSB website:
    Dossiers
    Create Dossiers for major characters and settings.

    Timelines
    Plot your novel by organizing cards along colored timelines.

    Storyboards
    Combine images and text to create a visual reference board.

    Journals
    Create a writing journal, or even fictional journals for each one of your characters.

    Outlines
    Create a collapsible tree of plot ideas.

    Mindmaps
    Link ideas together using lines and text.

    Image Galleries
    Organize your reference images into galleries.

    Builders
    Organize complex scenes using titles, descriptions, and color indexing.

    Position Memory
    Liquid Story Binder XE remembers just where you left off.

    Manuscript Building
    Combine multiple chapters into a single manuscript automatically.

    Printing
    Preserve your font and paragraph editing with Format Printing.

    Workspaces
    Preserve your favorite window layouts for quick access.

    Project Goals
    Words per day, words left to write, days remaining, multi-document word counts.

    Color Schemes
    Create the perfect writing environment with your favorite window colors.

    Recordings
    Record yourself reading your own novel. Test for pacing and time.

    File Listings
    Organize all your files into easy-access file trees.

    Backups
    Every Chapter has its own backup repository. Never lose a single word with automatic version and session backups. Compress your whole archive into a single ZIP file.

    Shortcuts
    Quickly access your favorite external software and documents.

    Statistics
    Times, Word Counts, Goals, Sessions, Versions, Days.

    Reader
    Read over your work in a easy to view columned window, free of editing distractions.

    Music Playlists
    Add your MP3s and sort them into playlists. Set the mood for writing.

    External Editing
    Open your work outside of Liquid Story Binder.



    Em, wow.

    Unfortunately by the time i learned all that i'd have a novel written.

    150,000 using ms word - course it's a mess, so maybe...

  21. #21
    i'm a girl. (i have tendonitis) defyalllogic's Avatar
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    you can always write another one...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul View Post
    Em, wow.

    Unfortunately by the time i learned all that i'd have a novel written.

    150,000 using ms word - course it's a mess, so maybe...
    Honestly it took me about an hour or two of playing around to determine what features I would use, and which ones weren't for me. Don't attempt to learn this program during writing time, because it will just lead to distraction in both.

    I just opened each individual feature, played with it for a few minutes, maybe opened a help file here and there, and then on to the next.

  23. #23
    Who rules?! Hyrules! Liosse de Velishaf's Avatar
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    I just couldn't get into yWriter. Just not a lot of benefit.

    Maybe LSB will be better, but I suspect I'll end up staying with MS Word.

  24. #24
    Not dead. Adam's Avatar
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    I've tried Ywriter, but found that I spent more time pratting about with it than writing.

    Instead, I'll just open a new text file on OpenOffice (my WP of choice) and make whatever brief notes I need to.

  25. #25
    Is there a problem? Etola's Avatar
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    I think I'm debating heavily which ones I'll need. I've been using WikidPad as a story bible (and it has worked fantastically), and Word for the actual writing and note-taking, but it doesn't really have robust graphical interfaces like storyboards and timelines. Which may come in handy, or which may distract me.

    I'm always careful with investing time or money into new programs mainly because I'm not sure which will actually become a helpful, integrated part of my writing process or which will be gimmicks that I play around with a little and then forget about. But LSB and/or yWriter might at least be worth looking into...
    We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    Will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time.
    -T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

    Adventures of Mae Fortune Revising - 1/17 chapters done

    Salamander's Shadow
    1st draft: 85,126/100k

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