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Last post Author Topic: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)  (Read 5916 times)

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2018, 03:18 AM »
I did a 1500 word submission for one project, and still broke it up into multiple files- one for each scene in the document.  Having to have one long document is very hard to work with in my experience.

I'd rather have one interface where I can go from document to document in the same session.

And then there's the problem of formats... my client decided to have us submit over google docs, and google docs added in extra spaces, and completely messed up Word formatting, when it states that it imports Word documents.   

But yeah, having something that has references to all of the documents that make up a larger document that can be opened and edited independently has become key to me, since I started writing semi-professionally.
I understand the allure of a single program. But can be done separately.

You can do outlining separately. Even in a sticky or a mindmap, depending on your need. In a small, always on top, window.
Then you can write in anything. Even WriteMonkey will allow easy switching between sections.
What you lose is the automatic re-ordering when you change your outline.
I would always separate formatting from writing even if I intend to use the same program for both. The formatting stage is when I will stick all the files together as one document.

The issue of references and research is a little more complex.
  • Have they all be garnered for this particular piece of work?
  • Will you use them later?
  • Have they been selected from a much larger repository?
The first is much simpler.
But for any, you could just use OneNote (or other equivalent) and have a section or page for you project and have them available on that. And then do your writing on whatever you fancy.

You will note that I am separating the concept of a chunk of the work, from external references. I regard them differently, you may not need to.

wraith808

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2018, 10:31 AM »
OneNote
Available in nearly all corporates that use Word.

One note doesn't work for me.  And I've tried.  Just not good for me in writing.

wraith808

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2018, 10:43 AM »
I did a 1500 word submission for one project, and still broke it up into multiple files- one for each scene in the document.  Having to have one long document is very hard to work with in my experience.

I'd rather have one interface where I can go from document to document in the same session.

And then there's the problem of formats... my client decided to have us submit over google docs, and google docs added in extra spaces, and completely messed up Word formatting, when it states that it imports Word documents.   

But yeah, having something that has references to all of the documents that make up a larger document that can be opened and edited independently has become key to me, since I started writing semi-professionally.
I understand the allure of a single program. But can be done separately.

You can do outlining separately. Even in a sticky or a mindmap, depending on your need. In a small, always on top, window.
Then you can write in anything. Even WriteMonkey will allow easy switching between sections.
What you lose is the automatic re-ordering when you change your outline.
I would always separate formatting from writing even if I intend to use the same program for both. The formatting stage is when I will stick all the files together as one document.

The issue of references and research is a little more complex.
  • Have they all be garnered for this particular piece of work?
  • Will you use them later?
  • Have they been selected from a much larger repository?
The first is much simpler.
But for any, you could just use OneNote (or other equivalent) and have a section or page for you project and have them available on that. And then do your writing on whatever you fancy.

You will note that I am separating the concept of a chunk of the work, from external references. I regard them differently, you may not need to.


I submit the different sections and get redlining separate.  They might not even intrinsically be a single subject, but just relate to each other in a generic way.  In one example, I was writing about separate experiences in different parts of the world- but all exist in the same world, so I have to reference each.  Having them as one document with sections would not be tenable.  At least for me.  And submitting the one doc for redlines and keeping the comments relevant- not sure he would have appreciated that.  He seemed to appreciate having them segregated a lot more. 

This isn't to say that I never use separate programs for certain tasks- I do.  But usually that is because of a limitation of what I'm writing in, rather than something that is more conducive to writing.  Always on top bugs me to no end.  If I do use them, then I segregate the screen for them, or put them on a separate screen.  Just my preference.

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2018, 11:03 AM »
One note doesn't work for me.  And I've tried.  Just not good for me in writing.
Fully understand. But, in a corporate environment, it is sometimes the only option.
Can do the outlining in OneNote or Word, the writing in Word (then importing or pasting or linking into OneNote) and export all the text as you wish.

I like the tabs arrangement, but apart from that, I also find OneNote hard to write in.

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2018, 11:12 AM »
Always on top bugs me to no end.  If I do use them, then I segregate the screen for them, or put them on a separate screen.  Just my preference.
I always use 2 or 3 large screens. Terry Pratchett I think used 6.

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2018, 11:19 AM »
I submit the different sections and get redlining separate.
Having them as one document with sections would not be tenable.  At least for me. 
And submitting the one doc for redlines and keeping the comments relevant- not sure he would have appreciated that.  He seemed to appreciate having them segregated a lot more. 
I think that you've found that this is a structure that works best for you. There may be other ways, but this suits your thinking the best and makes you more productive.
That gives you a very specific set of needs; other people may find other ways of achieving the same result.

wraith808

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #31 on: May 21, 2018, 01:57 PM »
I submit the different sections and get redlining separate.
Having them as one document with sections would not be tenable.  At least for me. 
And submitting the one doc for redlines and keeping the comments relevant- not sure he would have appreciated that.  He seemed to appreciate having them segregated a lot more. 
I think that you've found that this is a structure that works best for you. There may be other ways, but this suits your thinking the best and makes you more productive.
That gives you a very specific set of needs; other people may find other ways of achieving the same result.


I fully get that, which was why I was asking.  I just never seem to write a whole work professionally- it's always parceled out in sections to different writers.

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2018, 02:30 PM »
I have now done the table for Atomic Scribbler. I found it attractive, but it felt like a light program, and I'm not sure how it would stand up to a lengthy or heavy piece of work; this impression may be false. Some irritations, and felt a little slow.

I'm not sure about future development. It has just been made free with only the SmartEdit add-on providing an income for the developer. He'd said that 92% of his SmartEdit sales came from the Word version and has just released SmartEdit Pro just for Word. There has to be a question of how much future development the income from Atomic Scribbler and its add-on will justify. The add-on for Atomic Scribbler is fairly basic, but a lot of self published books would have benefited from it.

wraith808

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2018, 02:57 PM »
I have now done the table for Atomic Scribbler. I found it attractive, but it felt like a light program, and I'm not sure how it would stand up to a lengthy or heavy piece of work; this impression may be false. Some irritations, and felt a little slow.

I'm not sure about future development. It has just been made free with only the SmartEdit add-on providing an income for the developer. He'd said that 92% of his SmartEdit sales came from the Word version and has just released SmartEdit Pro just for Word. There has to be a question of how much future development the income from Atomic Scribbler and its add-on will justify. The add-on for Atomic Scribbler is fairly basic, but a lot of self published books would have benefited from it.


https://www.atomicsc...ntroducingSmartEdit/

He addresses a lot of it in that post, and on the forums.  He's actively on the forums and soliciting improvements, and uses the application himself.  He was just dissatisfied at the adoption rate as a paid application.  I don't think the development of the program is at risk, personally.  And am looking at using it as the basis for a lot of my development because I quite like how open it is compared to Scrivener.  He's even provided me with help for a supporting application that I'm looking at developing to get items from his format into markdown for compatibility (especially as I use Sublime Text for a lot of my editing currently)

https://forum.atomicscribbler.com/

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2018, 04:34 PM »
He does have previous though.
Page Four was abandoned. Then Atomic Scribbler was a paid app. Recently there was a new version (after iirc a period of slow development) with a promise to keep going more this time. Then there was an offer/price reduction; and then suddenly it's free. And now there's a 5 day discount on the SmartEdit add-on.

I'm not convinced that a lot of users of a free program are going to spring for an expensive add-on after trying it for 10 days.

As a program, I like quite a lot about it, but it feels unfinished. Expected features absent. And I can't help but be concerned about why it's slower than expected when running the very small sample file. It should be faster than Scrivener, OneNote and doogiePIM, but it's slower. That's why I worry about what would happen if it were dealing with all the multiple sections of a novel.

I give it easy to understand and looks attractive. I like the ribbon buttons and tabs. But I lack the confidence to make a large commitment.

I hope you are right.

wraith808

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #35 on: May 21, 2018, 04:57 PM »
I'm using it with multiple sections of a larger novel, and haven't experienced the slowdown that you mention.  Have you put your problem on the forum?  He's very responsive as I mentioned. 

The abandonment of Page Four was to transition to this from his own admission.  I guess I just view the past in a more favorable light.  He's never hidden it, nor merely abandoned, so I don't view it as a negative in his case.

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #36 on: May 21, 2018, 05:39 PM »
I'm using it with multiple sections of a larger novel, and haven't experienced the slowdown that you mention.
It's just slower than I expected; I don't know that it changes speed.
I've seen it referred to in another forum, when I looked.
I wouldn't be surprised if it's connected to all the documents in the document tree being saved outside the database as full Word documents. I think other programs save documents within the database primarily as text. Word itself isn't megafast at opening a lot of documents.

I'd need to be more actively interested to get involved in discussions on the forum. I don't rule out changing my mind, but I've got a lot of other programs to look at first.

wraith808

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #37 on: May 21, 2018, 08:35 PM »
They are rtf documents, not word documents which are by far simpler in format.

Scrivener saves in the same format.

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2018, 04:01 AM »
I took it from The Atomic Scribbler Blog
There are two key folders inside the project folder: Documents and .atomic. The Documents folder contains a series of documents in Word and RTF formats, each with a number for a name (12.docx, 87.rtf, etc.). When you create a new scene or note, a document is created in this folder to store the contents of that scene. And the best part is, as the formats Atomic uses (Word and RTF) are so common, you can open any of these small documents with Word or any other word processor. Your work is never stored in a proprietary format and can always be recovered — even if Atomic Scribbler is not on the scene.
If it's not that, I have no idea why it feels a little slower than I see with other similar programs. If that's something you don't see, then it must presumably be a system variable.

wraith808

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #39 on: May 22, 2018, 07:17 AM »
I took it from The Atomic Scribbler Blog
There are two key folders inside the project folder: Documents and .atomic. The Documents folder contains a series of documents in Word and RTF formats, each with a number for a name (12.docx, 87.rtf, etc.). When you create a new scene or note, a document is created in this folder to store the contents of that scene. And the best part is, as the formats Atomic uses (Word and RTF) are so common, you can open any of these small documents with Word or any other word processor. Your work is never stored in a proprietary format and can always be recovered — even if Atomic Scribbler is not on the scene.
If it's not that, I have no idea why it feels a little slower than I see with other similar programs. If that's something you don't see, then it must presumably be a system variable.


I've been working pretty extensively with that folder, and haven't seen any docx files.  Perhaps they're used for a function that I just don't use - like the notepane.

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #40 on: May 22, 2018, 09:22 AM »
At least half of mine (ie just a bit of playing with the sample) are in docx format.
This includes the writing from the sample (Huck) & a few I added (just pasting in).
There was nothing I saw in the sample writing that suggested it couldn't be RTF, so I've  no idea how the decision is made.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 11:14 AM by Dormouse »

wraith808

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #41 on: May 22, 2018, 10:45 AM »
I might ask that question... it might be relevant for me.  The tool I'm working on will keep track of the lock, then open the db when there's no lock, query for the filenames, then use pandoc to get the files to markdown from rtf (or word I suppose).  After I got that working, I was going to look into the best way to sync them back.

As I said, I like using Sublime Text and Writemonkey at times, so being able to work on them in plain text also will be key for me.

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #42 on: May 24, 2018, 11:23 AM »
Added a table on doogiePIM. Will do a full review once the multiple document export function has been added (might take me a month or two since there would be so much to review). It's based on the venerable/venerated do-Organizer program that ceased development in 2011 (with a brief comeback in the form of Harmony PIM). doogiePIM is now on v2 and seems to be very actively developed (approx. monthly updates) with fast responses from developer in the forum.

I was surprised at how impressive its writing features were when compared with those of specialist writing programs. The document analysis (from a right click) tells me everything I want to know on first pass.

Potentially a steep learning curve for anyone who wants to check all the features (let alone all the sections), but a pantser could ignore everything else and just dive into typing in the Document Editor. I like investigating features, but I don't think I've begun to scratch the surface (yet). Some people may be put off by interface (I wanted tabs until I realised that the big open page panel did that very effectively).

After using WriteMonkey, I think I want text folding in all programs, but I can't put it as something missing here as no others have it either.

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #43 on: May 24, 2018, 04:34 PM »
Having looked at a number of these programs now, some familiar some not, I am pleasantly impressed by all so far.
  • WriteWayPro - Free, still works (on my machine) despite its age, and is functional across the spectrum;
  • SimpleNote - does one thing and does it very well;
  • Atomic Scribbler - Free, attractive and intuitive interface, straightforward functional features;
  • WriteMonkey - unusual, only encompasses the writing stage, and not aimed at a mouse oriented person who is most productive in a visually busy environment and likes planning and organising visually, but still I liked it and could actually see myself using it (for some things).
  • doogiePIM - I'd used its precursor years ago (have only just stopped using it as an effective way of searching a large body of corporate emails) but hadn't used this. I was very impressed with the range and capability of its writing related functions (I'd not used these previously) and will investigate using the program long-term as part of my workflow. Showed me the value of a Journal format for idle notes and observations that can't really be filed, tagged or given a title; dates will make them easier to find again - in theory this works for Evernote et al too, but they just contain too much.
Apart from the first, all are in active development.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2018, 04:49 PM by Dormouse »

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #44 on: May 26, 2018, 04:26 AM »
Added Writer's Cafe table.

Very steep learning curve, and it was only towards the end that I could see a workflow for me to write a book with it.  My table may be doing it a disservice as I'm sure I have missed a lot.

There are maintenance updates, but all the major development was done over ten years ago; and it shows.
Still, I did quite like it eventually.

I will do a longer review. I'll need to think of something I can use it with to get a feel for how it works in practice.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2018, 08:03 AM by Dormouse »

wraith808

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #45 on: May 26, 2018, 11:41 AM »
Another idea for something to cover that I've found myself using enough to pay for a subscription is Gingko.  I'll cover that in my eventual article as I've used it a lot, but didn't know if you would be interested.

mouser

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2018, 11:47 AM »
This is turning into a serious piece of work.. Perhaps it's a good candidate for a featured big review article on the site when it's done...

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #47 on: May 26, 2018, 03:26 PM »
Another idea for something to cover that I've found myself using enough to pay for a subscription is Gingko.
Happy to add it to the list. I tried it out when it was in beta but didn't go on to use it. Will be interested to see what it's like now.

Dormouse

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #48 on: May 26, 2018, 03:40 PM »
This is turning into a serious piece of work.. Perhaps it's a good candidate for a featured big review article on the site when it's done...
Thank you. Not sure I'll be able to live up to that.
I'll give it big. And admit it's a bit like a cuckoo in the mini-reviews.

I've had fun so far digging into a lot of programs I wasn't familiar with.

But whether I can make it work and be useful is another matter. I'm relatively obsessed with workflows rather than programs, but most people have developed their own workflows and are just looking for programs to fill gaps or do something better.

Once I have covered a few more programs, I'll start drafting some tables and paragraphs for the concluding sections and put them up.


« Last Edit: May 26, 2018, 06:25 PM by Dormouse »

Ath

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Re: Comparative Review of Writers' Tools (INITIAL DRAFT)
« Reply #49 on: May 27, 2018, 04:18 AM »
Tech tip: When crafting (html) tables, getting empty cells to show properly, the standard way of 'filling' them is to use   (non-breaking space) as the content, instead of the, imho rather ugly and disruptive, dot/period.