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Monday, April 28, 2008

WriteItNow & Papel

Tools ... I love tools. Tools are the prevaricator's best friend; when you don't feel like writing or the block has struck, you can play with the tools! I've played with lots of tools - here are two of the best.

The first one is called "WriteItNow" by Ravenshead Services. "WriteItNow" allows you to keep all the information you collect about your writing project in one place. There are tabs that allow you to write chapters, detail characters, events, locations, ideas and notes. "WriteItNow" even allows you to keep a visual time line for all the events in your story. The characters tab can be fun; as well as entering basic data like name, gender and date of birth (date of death too!), you can have fun auto generating characters complete with names and personalities - great for some random inspiration

Of course "WriteItNow" can spell check, count the words, has a built in thesaurus and can assess the readability of your work. When you are done you can export your work to either RTF, plain text or HTML. Oh, and if you are writing seriously then "WriteItNow" can track your submissions. The final 'clincher' for me is that "WriteItNow" is written in Java so it runs under Windows and Mac and, although Ravenshead Services don't advertise it, I managed to get it running under Linux (Ubuntu) too. All this for a smidgen under US$50 - that's pretty reasonable in my book. You can find "WriteItNow" here: http://www.ravensheadservices.com/

The second piece of software is called "Papel". It looks very different from "WriteItNow". Papel is a graphical environment where you drop 'papels' onto a desktop. A papel represents a piece of paper or sheaf of pages that can represent chapters, scenes, characters, in fact anything you like - double click to edit any papel. You join your chapter and scene papels together to form a book and Papel will generate the output text file for you. Papel also has spell check, thesaurus and word count built in and can also count word frequency and search for how many times you have used a certain phrase. Papel only works in plain text, runs on MS Windows only and, disappointingly, is no longer supported by the author. However, a Papel fan has set up a web site where you can download it for free at: http://papel.teiru.net/papel/

Over the years I have tried a few writing tools both commercial and free and these represent the best of each category. Papel is the best free writing program by far and "WriteItNow" the best value for money commercial writing tool.

Try ... enjoy.

Posted by fordy at 7:41 PM Comment by eMail
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