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Warren
05-20-2006, 07:04 AM
Hello, all!

This question about software may not belong here, but given the choice of forums, I employed my bi-polar random number generator to determine, in point of fact, this is the best forum for my question. All opinions to the contrary may be directed to Abe Lincoln.;)

Allow me to preface my query with an acknowledgement of what may be a sensitive issue, here. I certainly don't want to sound abusive, and given Absolute Write is a reseller of StyleWriter software, I know my question and reasons for it may seem accusatory. I assure everyone my interest is quite professional.

I am curious about StyleWriter's applicability to fiction manuscripts. Let us be more specific and say novels of length 70K words or longer. I have written to Editor Software, but to date I've not received a reply. I'd like to know what the writers community thinks of StyleWriter's merits (again, for novels).

I ran through the demo. I'd have to say it's wonderful for communication documents. Perhaps it's also wonderful for technical guides and user manuals. However, the demo suggests to me that it will wreak havoc on a fiction manuscript by removing all the "color and flavor" and leaving me with a well-structured, straightforward but very BORING novel. I envision Dicken's Tale of Two Cities opening sentence:

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope…"

changing to:

"The era was remarkable for its political contrariness."

Certainly its suggestions may be ignored, but the overall number of suggestions ought to be enormous beyond the point usefulness. For a 70K word novel, I envision StyleWriter overwhelming me with 35K to 40K suggestions.

I am aware I can disable scans for particular problem areas or customize the product to my style and needs. I feel that would be a huge effort and likely to make the product useless for anything beyond that one particular manuscript. Nevertheless, I am almost willing to give it a try.

What concerns me about paying my nonrefundable 30 USD to try the software is this:

1. Every site that sells it claims they are "always $10/$20 less than anywhere else."

2. Every site that sells it has priced it at $150.00 (or within pennies), except for the publisher which sells it for $160.00.

3. Every site I've contacted seems ignorant of every other site's claims to sell it for less, too.

4. No site I've contacted is willing to reduce their price by $10 or $20 in accordance with their claims that they sell it for less than everyone else. (I haven't contacted all of them, and I haven't contacted Absolute Write, but I have written to 4 others).

5. Some sites erroneously advertise that you can buy StyleWriter for $30 and, at a later date, "upgrade to the full version" for $120 more. This is a false claim. What you get for $30 is the same as what you get for $150, with one notable exception. For $30 you may use the software for 30 days before it stops working. If you want to use it beyond that date, you must pay the full price.

I'll voice my candid opinion and suggest the marketing means for this software is wanting in credibility. This raises questions in my mind about the credibility of the software, in general. It gives me great pause in my decision to buy it. Were it accurately marketed as to true pricing, I'd be more inclined to give it a go. Price and marketing aside, however, my primary question remains:

Is StyleWriter useful for novels? By this, I do not mean, can I FORCE it to be useful, nor even can I struggle with it and get a little value from it.

Have you used it, very specifically for long fiction manuscripts? If so, what's your opinion, please?

Thanks to all!

Warren