Life After the Word Processor, part two

Ok, so in that previous post I talked how I was dealing with storing information. Because let’s face it, even if I wasn’t a writer, there is a lot of it out there. And usually isn’t very well organized.

But what of these programs for writers? You’ve seen them in the stores: WRITE YOUR NOVEL NOW! and has some author you’ve never heard of saying that they’d not have been able to do anything without Program X.

Now why would I need program X, I’d always say, when I have a word processor? What could it do beyond, you know, typing?

Then I got an email from Mariner Software about Storymill, which is their program X. Since I have and like Mac Journal (using it now to write this entry!), I went and took a look. Now my thoughts were, what can this thing do that Mac Journal or NeoOffice can’t?

The short version is nothing. My word processor and some folders can do anything Storymill can do. My word processor and Mac Journal can do anything Storymill can do. Hell, text edit and some proper file names can do all of this. So why did I find myself drawn again and again to Storymill?

Presentation and packaging which has to be the software equivalent of “Location, Location, Location.”

Storymill provides a single user interface for writing of scenes, which are then grouped into chapters, of character bios, place descriptions, even outside research. All of these can be tagged, marked and labeled with ‘1st draft“, ”final draft“ etc.

This organization allows you to have all your information right there in front of you. ”Now what color was that dudes hair?“ We’ve been there before. You just click on the characters tab and find him and there he is. Scenes can be marked with who is in them, so you can at a glance see which characters are in which scene.

The scenes are then put into chapters. From there you can read through in the chapter the scenes. This makes moving scenes around easier. Decide you want to talk more about the good guys in the coffee shop before you show the bad guy again? just drag the scene order to how you want it.

There is a timeline feature which lets you tag scenes with a specific date and time. Then you can seem then laid out on the time line arranged by character storyline. This will help keep you from having a character in two places at once.

It even has a ‘progress’ meter. Say you have a daily goal of 1000 words, or writing for 20 minutes? You put that in, and the meter up top will let you know when you get to your goal.

My only wish is that it worked better with Mac Journal. I already start small ideas, even have written a short story or two in MJ. It would be nice if i could link say a research entry in Storymill with a journal entry in Mac Journal so it was updated from either program.

Is this better than NeoOffice? in the end it is all about how you work, how you use these things. In the end, the words on the screen are the important part, now how many bells your software has (well, unless you are writing software, but that is another post I suppose).

I can see myself using StoryMill to write and organize, but at the same time it falls into the previous entry’s issue with too many programs taking notes. In the end I still need to be properly organized with my information so that it can be found. (hence wishing it linked up with MJ)