Saturday, January 23, 2010

Write by numbers?

OMG, as they say. Blog and ye shall receive.

No sooner had I made a wish list of technologies that would make me a better and speedier writer, than what should I come across in a far corner of the internet? Fiction writing software

Specifically--and there are many out there--one called StoryMill. It's a novel writing program for Apples that contains a word frequency tracker and a cliche finder! Clearly I am behind the eight ball on this one.

The full list of features runs as follows (from the website):

• Track, tag and filter characters, scenes, locations, and research with StoryMill's unique dynamic outline.
• Visually and interactively display your story across time with StoryMill's timeline view.
• Annotate any text in your project.
• Revise your work with innovative tools like a word frequency tracker and cliche finder.
• Set and achieve your daily writing goals with the progress meter.
• A built-in support for tracking submissions to editors and agents.
• Manage the creative writing process with Smart Views.
• Write, distraction-free, in Full Screen Mode.
• View your novel in multiple views.
• Back up any and all activity in StoryMill

StoryMill supports the following languages: English, French, German, Italian.

Sounds quite impressive, and makes writing a novel seem like just a matter of being able to interactively display your timeline while not being distracted by having only a single view of your novel in Part Screen Mode. 

In other words, it seems like a whole lot more excuses for why my novel isn't working ('But I don't have a progress meter - how can I set my daily writing goals? How am I supposed to keep track of my characters without a dynamic outline?').

So while it seemed a good idea in theory, and yes, the cliche finder might be handy and I'd love to give it a go just to see, I think I might press on with my creative writing process sans Smart Views and see where it gets me.

[Has anyone tried any of these kinds of software? Am I being unjustly dismissive?!]


  1. Hi

    Oh I like the cliche tracker bit but unsure about the "view your novel in multiple views"? What does that mean and how is that helpful, I wonder?

    There are some fabulous blogs here with a word metre to track their word target and how far they've gone and I've always wondered how they got that?

    Sorry, I'm not much help here. I've just failed a How to use Word 2007 test (LOL! seriously!) yesterday so I'm still grasping at straws when it comes to new fangled software! My initial feeling is that wow - the package looks so fab but knowing me, I'll be spending a good few erm.. hours/days/longer? playing around with all its great features rather than writing anything creative.

    Then again I get very easily distracted with shiny objects!

    Good luck with your novel writing!

    Take care

  2. I've not tried it. I can barely stand the spellchecker telling me stuff, let alone a cliche tracker and different views and all the rest. My novel moves ahead fastest when the creative connections in my brain are working, not when the software is there to point things out or whatever. Not that I would dismiss it if I had a chance to check it out, but I'm not sure it would make me a better writer.

  3. Some of these tools sound kind of handy - I especially like the sound of multiple views, if by that they mean being able to have pages from different parts of the book on the screen at one time - would be great for editing/revising. Still (even tho' it doesn't sound like that kind of programme) I'd hate anyone to think a piece of software was responsible for my novel :)

  4. Yes, now that I think about it, multiple views could be handy. But sharing credit with a piece of software? I don't think so!

    KarenG, I think you have the point - would all this make me a better writer? Probably not! In fact almost definitely not, apart from perhaps weeding out some cliches - which I'm becoming more interested in how it would work.

  5. Old Kitty, if you are interested in word meters, I think there are all sorts of widgets out there, which are little program thingos you can embed in your blog. Try googling them.

    How to use Word 2007? I'm sure there are many people in the same boat as you, I don't like Word 2007 much.

    Seems to me that the point of a word processor is to be able to type words in and print them out at the end. What more do you need to know? ;)