When I write, I usually use Microsoft Word but quite often I think that it is merely functional; very good at being functional, yes, but not very inspiring or geared towards things like novels. So today I downloaded two free pieces of writing software which I thought I’d try out, after a little bit of research.
I chose Storybook, a novel planning tool, and FocusWriter, a word processor designed with authors in mind.
Obviously I haven’t had much chance to use either that much yet, but so far I’m ranking FocusWriter higher than Storybook. FocusWriter does what it says on the tin – lets you focus on writing. It’s got a very simple layout, with the toolbar only appearing when you hover your mouse over it, so that literally all you can see when you have the programme full screen is the writing you’re doing. You can set themes to make the screen a little more interesting – have a background picture that may inspire you to write, for example. I have not yet made use of the timer facilities it offers, but from what I’ve read, it sounds as if they will come in very handy. This programme makes writing feel new and exciting – probably something akin to the feeling I got when I discovered that I could type up the stories I wrote by hand on Microsoft Word 2003 when I was about eight. Having something written on the computer made it feel special, but these days – especially since I’ve had my own laptop – I write most of what I write on the computer, so Microsoft Word – even with a far more recent version – doesn’t feel special anymore. FocusWriter, however, does.
As for Storybook, I’m a little disappointed. It doesn’t inspire me; it hasn’t come to life and shown its many uses yet. Mostly, it confused me, but then again, confusion does come with unfamiliarity. The idea behind Storybook seems to be that you enter in your characters and the locations, and you link them together in scenes which you can sort into chapters and parts, and also into strands of your plot, in the end giving you an outline to follow, which you can change as your story changes. This, as I both read online and discovered myself in entering in information for my prologue and first three chapters, is pretty time consuming. But according to my online source, it gets more useful after you’ve sorted all this out. So I hope I shall warm to it. We shall have to see.
I was hoping today to talk about at least one of the projects I’m working on, but alas that has not occurred; I got distracted by working out new writing software. Hopefully, though, my next post shall be on novel-in-progress code-name: Barnabus’ Balloons.