Software Review: WriteItNow 4

This nifty little gadget is provided by Ravenhead Services. My first impression when I opened WriteItNowwas the user interface was cute. For me, the bubbly design attracted me on a childlike level. Of course, there’s more to a program than just an attractive interface, which also happens to be changeable. What’s happening underneath? First, the description according to the website:

WriteItNow – from first idea to final manuscript

Yeah, the advertisement is short, but concise. No extra gimmicks to draw you in. I found their product just as concise.

I reviewed a product called Liquid Story Binder a few weeks ago (Review Here). As a writer, I found WriteItNow to have all of the things I liked about Liquid Story Binder and none of the things I hated. For one, WriteItNow is simplistic in terms its naming conventions. A scene is a scene, not a builder. Characters are formed in character screens, not dossiers. The software is just really straightforward, and the design very user friendly. I was able to hop into the program and start using it immediately without reading any documentation. As advertised, this program is a tool a writer can use from start to finish in a project, well almost finish, which leads me to the screen editor.

The program comes with a very simple screen editor. I didn’t locate any special formatting features, just bold, italic, and underline. I guess it’s double space new paragraphs or adding a tab at the start of the paragraph. Personally, I prefer something a bit more sophisticated. For those initial email queries or critique groups, the plain text works well. However, a writer may want to use a more advanced editor for submitting complete manuscripts, since most agents want the work at least double spaced and formatted tabs. As a side note, exporting the MS to an RTF file puts five spaces (not auto-tab) in front of each paragraph and double spaces.

On to the main features!

Chapters: WriteItNow allows the user to create separate chapters for the work. It goes further with a feature which breaks each chapter into scenes. This is great for those scene writers, cause the drag and drop feature makes it easy to move things around. I’ve heard some authors have billboards and use sticky notes to get an overall big picture. This software has a storyboard feature which does the exact same thing, just electronically. Woot!

Characters: This tool is not quite as powerful as Character Writer (see review part one here and part two here), but is pretty close.  There’s a place to store the basics (name, age, sex), personality traits, and character relations. For those too lazy to develop their own characters, the program will generate one. It even provides a nifty little character chart feature to show relationships like a family tree. As far as functionality, it’s just not as in depth as Character Writer. For example, I didn’t see a place for psychological disorders. And although the random character generator does at enneagrams,  I didn’t find a feature for self-created characters. However, it does have prompts similar to Character Writer which should get an author thinking. By the way, the prompts aren’t limited to just character creation.

Other features: Need a little push? WriteItNow allows the user to create writing targets for both word count and time writing. However it is more on a day to day target rather than an overall completion goal. Can’t find the word you need? Try out the thesaurus. Perhaps you need to dumb down your manuscript. Check out the readability feature.

As I mentioned, WriteItNow is easy to use. And if you get stuck, the creators offer quick video tutorials for the various features. When I say quick, I’m talking 5 minutes max for each feature. That’s how simple the program is to use!

I’ll be honest. After trying out this program, I seriously wanted to buy it. It’s definitely a wish list program for me!

Software Review: Character Writer 3.1 (Part one)

I’ve been searching for software to suit my needs. In my goal to develop 3D characters, I decided to give Character Writer a try.  Quick summary of the program from the website.

Great stories require great characters. Yet, it’s one of the hardest thing to pull off. Now there’s an easy and powerful way to develop your stories utilizing the Enneagram personality types like the professionals do.

Character Writer 3.1

It’s actually a pretty neat program. It takes you through steps, asking you questions about your character. The program also makes suggestions for your characters in terms of behavior and goals. It even has a nifty little section for psychological disorders. It’s not all-inclusive. But as a psychology major, I found it pretty awesome.

Beyond the basic character personality and such, it also helps you form relationships between characters. Keep in mind that Character Writer offers guidelines and suggestions. If you want a paper box character, follow their suggestions to a T, but what fun would that be? I found it most helpful in creating supplemental characters (not main characters, though the questions and suggestions did get me thinking). I had an idea for a villain and inputted my information. The Character Writer did a pretty good job defining my villain character in the way I wanted.

Anyway, great program. It provides an excellent system to help a writer get to know his/her characters.

It’s a free download to try before you buy.

Character Writer has a section for plotting also. I’ll give my review of that hopefully next week. If not then, then soon.