Software Review: Liquid Story Binder

Straight off the top, I’ll be honest. This program irritated the hell out of me. It is the perfect example of too much of a good thing. But before I get to the issues I had with the program, a little excerpt from their website.

A Portable Text Editor that Keeps You Organized
Liquid Story Binder XE is a uniquely designed word processor for professional and aspiring authors, poets, and novelists. Writing software for those who require the editing ability of a commercial text editor as well as a document tracking system. It is for those who want the freedom to create, outline and revise but are tired of losing track of their work

From what I’ve heard, Scrivener is the way to go for writers, though I’ve not tried it myself. Unfortunately, Scrivener is only available for Mac users. The next best thing, according to others, is Liquid Story Binder. My first impressions of Liquid Story Binder was it was overly complicated to use. Sure, it looked pretty and all, but it required me to learn a completely new piece of software with very few items self-explanatory.

If I can’t figure out a program right off the back, I head to the tutorials. The Quick Start Guide on their website is pretty decent. It showed me step-by-step with screen shots on how to create my first book. I ran into problems right off the back. It only created the first 9 of 14 (blank) chapters at the creation screen then stopped functioning. I finally gave up and settled on creating 9 chapters and manually inputting the rest one by one. I’m not sure if it was a limitation to the program or a glitch.

Later, I found creating chapters first probably wasn’t the best for my way of organizing. For writers who like to work with scenes then combine them into chapters later, builders are the best bet. So, I deleted my chapters and started with builders. I’m not going to go into details, but I will say this is part of the reason this program is difficult. The names. Why would I relate the term builders to screens? Or Planner to Table of Content. Anyway, I created the scenes then used the build all items features to create chapters. One thing I didn’t like about this method is my builds files were organized alphabetically instead of in the order of my chapters. So when I exported them to chapters, I had to reorganize the chapters in the right order. Blah! And then there’s the frantic search for the scenes within the builds to make changes before importing them back into the chapters again. What a mess.

I also came into problems trying to copy and paste. Liquid Story Binder does not work well with MS Word 2007. The program consistently locked up when I copy and pasted from MS Word 2007 whether the file was in RTF or not. The fix suggested in forums was just don’t use MS Word. 🙂 I opened my manuscript in a program called RoughDraft and copy and pasted from there. For someone like me who depends heavily on MS Word, I was highly disappointed in this glitch. Hopefully the programmers will resolve this issue in the future. I’d like to say I had no more problems after ditching Word, but that wasn’t the case. It still locked up on me occasionally while copying from Rough Draft and sometimes just when typing things in.

Liquid Story Binder is very flexible with plenty of features. However, in creating the abundancy of features, the programmers also created redundancy. Many of the features do the same thing, just display the information in a different format. However, the program didn’t allow for a lot of importing. So I found myself having to enter or copy and paste the same information repeatedly in order to try out new features.

Despite having a pretty interface, the program was not user friendly. I found the features poorly organized and usage buggy at times.

Now for the good stuff! YEAH! Liquid Story Binder has AWESOME customer support. I sent my concern through the forum about the lack of integration and received an online response within 24 hours from a programmer. I’ve been following the forum for a few weeks now and find even if the program doesn’t do exactly what the user wants, the programmers have suggestions to help simulate a particular function. The programmers value the consumers’ opinions and are constantly updating and making improvements based on the suggestion.

If you’re a novice computer user, I’d suggest an easier program to use such as yWriter. My review for it is here. If you’re savvy with computers software, this program might be something to investigate. As I mentioned, it’s HIGHLY flexible. I got the impression every function was not meant to be used by a writer all at once. Instead, the writer picks and chooses a suite of features which works best for their particular style.

Because of the glitches, it had a beta version feel to it. Even so, I imagine the program will be awesome once the programmers work out the kinks.

The makers offer a 30 day free trial. So, no need to rely on just my opinion. Try it before you buy.