Writing software?

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving game writing.
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Aiyumi
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Writing software?

#1 Post by Aiyumi » Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:25 pm

I have spent the entire day looking into creative writing and screenwriting, and I am feeling so overwhelmed and unsure about how I should go about it.

What writing programs do you guys use?

I know the obvious would be Word or Notepad, but is there a free software you can keep all of your ideas, character notes, scene notes, random notes, outlining, etc organized in one place? I don't really want a folder with 30+ files of notes and writings for one story.
I have looked at Final Draft, which looks ideal, but there's no way I could afford it! I can't really afford anything at the moment.

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Re: Writing software?

#2 Post by SundownKid » Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:29 pm

For screenwriting, the free alternative to Final Draft is Celtx. At least, it was. Not sure if the current free version has all the features, but you can still download the old version too.

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Re: Writing software?

#3 Post by AllegroDiRossi » Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:31 pm

I really like Scrivener or Ulysses for my writing. I recently moved over to Ulysses, but now that Scrivener has finally released its iOS apps, I might investigate that. Scrivener is cross-platform (mac windows), but not on android. Ulysses is mac and iOS only.
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Re: Writing software?

#4 Post by Darim » Wed Aug 03, 2016 6:00 pm

Maybe you could try Adobe Story CC.
The free version is very powerful. You can do things like scripts, reports, character sheets, notes etc.


https://story.adobe.com/de-de/index.html

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Re: Writing software?

#5 Post by Aiyumi » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:37 pm

Thanks guys! I'll look into all of those (:

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Re: Writing software?

#6 Post by YossarianIII » Thu Aug 04, 2016 1:41 pm

Aiyumi wrote:I know the obvious would be Word or Notepad, but is there a free software you can keep all of your ideas, character notes, scene notes, random notes, outlining, etc organized in one place? I don't really want a folder with 30+ files of notes and writings for one story.
A pencil and a notebook? :D

This actually isn't a joke. I think writing manually offers way more flexibility for any type of writing that involves branching storylines or images. It's also ideal for first drafts because a blank page offers way less distractions than a computer.

Also, I know screenwriting seems daunting, but I'd say software isn't a requirement to start out. It actually might be more helpful to learn the formatting first without software, which isn't all that difficult. The main advantage of expensive software is that it saves time (which is essential for a professional screenwriter, but less so for a beginner).

The right software can definitely improve your efficiency, but it does very little (if anything) to actually make you a better writer. That mostly comes from practice. People have been writing fine without software for millennia, so I really wouldn't stress too much about which specific software you use. There's no wrong answer -- any writing is good practice!


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Re: Writing software?

#7 Post by Katy133 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:12 pm

I use Word, but a freeware equivalent to that would be AbiWord, which I've used in the past and found to be a good program.
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Re: Writing software?

#8 Post by Kuiper » Sat Aug 06, 2016 4:59 am

I think the biggest problem that most starting writers have is that they don't spend enough time actually writing their story. Notes and planning are all well and good, but I have seen people with pages upon pages of notes and outlines and lore bibles for their story, and not a single page of prose to show for the months (or even years) that they've spent "working" on their story.

I think at a certain point, you just need to write.

To that end, I found the [/u]Q10[/u] to be a tremendously helpful tool when I started writing, as it shielded me completely from distractions while writing. The application runs in fullscreen mode, with no toolbars or other UI stuff to get in the way. It was just me, a blank screen, and a blinking cursor. No spellchecker drawing red lines under my words to distract me from getting to the next sentence, no toolbars taunting me with myriad font options I'd never have time to explore, and no formatting difficulties. Just literal plaintext as I tapped away at the keys on my keyboard.

At a certain point, I "graduated" to Notepad++ for writing VN scripts, since I tend to "code as I go" and it's nice for formatting purposes to be able to indent blocks of text and such. I also use Google docs when collaborating on projects, since it's easy to share a document and get feedback from multiple people at once and set it up so that they can leave their comments attached to specific portions of the text.

All of the tools I've listed above are tools that I use (or have used), and they're probably sub-optimal in some way or another. This is one of those topics that I think can be a distraction from the really important thing, which is that you need to write. Scrivener might be a great tool for managing the chapters and sections of a 400,000+ word script, but if you haven't even written 10,000 words to start with, it seems a bit premature to worry about that kind of thing. The correct answer to "what software should I use" is "whatever software gets you in the mood to write." That's why I liked Q10. It's horribly limited in terms of features, but when I was starting out, "horribly limited in terms of features" is EXACTLY what I needed. A boatload of features will be useful to you, some day. Right now, they are more likely to just be a distraction.
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Re: Writing software?

#9 Post by Rossfellow » Tue Aug 09, 2016 9:22 pm

"Sit Down That Goddamned Chair and Write" is the greatest advice that is also the hardest to follow.

I'd like to be more like this guy. https://twitter.com/Voguekun/status/762400053092691968
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Re: Writing software?

#10 Post by Tyrantauranox » Sun Aug 14, 2016 10:24 pm

I like Dark Room for distraction-free writing. It's a black screen with a cursor.

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Re: Writing software?

#11 Post by JeremyBenson » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:15 pm

writerduet.com is really good, free, and online based. It does proper indentation for screenwriting off the bat. Check it out. It's surprisingly awesome for free screenwriting software.
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Re: Writing software?

#12 Post by timepatches » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:28 pm

Just wanted to note that since @Kuiper suggested Q10 I've been using it religiously. very very very helpful!!

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Re: Writing software?

#13 Post by JeremyBenson » Wed Aug 17, 2016 3:56 pm

If you're getting into screenwriting you have to use software. Especially if you're going to be submitting your script. Suggesting pen and paper is good for drafts, but you're going to have to re-write it in software. Film agencies are very, very, very picky. They will drop your script for any number of reasons, and not just for what is written.

There are indentation rules, and there is only ONE excepted font out of the millions available. The indentations are weird too. Very hard to mimic in word processing, and there may be alignment rules. Also never send a script with ANY kind of item. Just the script. Anyway, that's the advice I've heard.

definitely check out one of the script writing suggestions if you're screenwriting :P
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