ATTENTION: You are viewing a page formatted for mobile devices; to view the full web page, click HERE.

Main Area and Open Discussion > General Software Discussion

Plain text editor for writers

<< < (8/12) > >>

I've been looking into this area for a while (text editors for writers, that is). If all you really want is a blank screen and the ability to type and save plain text, then Q10 is fine.

But to me a text editor for writers implies a bit more than a plain text editor. As a very minimum, the ability to help you organise your text files at a very basic level (e.g. by chapter/book etc). But you also don't want too much in the way of bells and whistles. You want it to be fast and lean (like any good text editor). For example, I don't want my writing program to become my research collection program, with folders of web snippets littering the interface.

With that in mind, my search lead me to PageFour ( It's not plain text -- it saves to RTF. That's fine by me. RTF is a good choice for making sure you're not trapped in the program, and does offer the option of basic formatting if you need it. Most importantly, I find the interface clean and easy to use:

And if you just want to concentrate on the text, you can remove the main toolbar, formatting toolbar, status bar, and the notebook tree and voila -- a text window. Drawbacks?  Only minor ones.  There's no real-time word count, which seems odd for a writer's text editor. And the word count comes up in a separate window, which is clumsy. I also don't like the fact that the licence is a single machine licence (an issue I raised in another thread: but the developer has promised to consider giving the option of a single user licence.

EDIT: Credit to the developer of PageFour. As of February 8 and the release of v1.67 (beta), the licence has been re-written, giving the option of a single user licence.

As an aside, many discussions on this subject around the webosphere seem to conclude that the best editor for writers is Scrivener ( for the Mac -- and that includes people who use both PCs and Macs. I don't have a Mac so I can't test it. I do love the idea of having a built-in "corkboard" (I'm considering SuperNotecard for that -

Scrivener ==  :-* :-* :-* :-* :-* :-*

It is the best writers app I've tried and one of the best productivity apps I've had the pleasure of using in my time using computers. As I have friends who only have PCs who I dearly want to wean off word for writing I've tested just about *everything* I could find. But sadly there is nothing like it on the PC (PageFour is the best of the bunch). The Mac is stuffed to the gills with great writing software; Scrivener, Ulysses, Avenir, Mariner and a whole gaggle of others.

Q10 as a minimalist interface is the closest I can get to the fullscreen heaven of Scrivener, Writeroom, Ulysses etc. I recommend it as a way to change the way you write, the starkness forces you to stop twiddling your gadgets, eyeing your email notifier etc.

Here is a nice article on the vanguard of writers software:

Our redeemer is Scrivener, the independently produced word-processing program of the aspiring novelist Keith Blount, a Londoner who taught himself code and graphic design and marketing, just to create a software that jibes with the way writers think. As its name makes plain, Scrivener takes our side; it roots for the writer and not for the final product — the stubborn Word. The happy, broad-minded, process-friendly Scrivener software encourages note-taking and outlining and restructuring and promises all the exhilaration of a productive desk: “a ring-binder, a scrapbook, a corkboard, an outliner and text editor all rolled into one.”

Ring, scrap and cork sound like fun, a Montessori playroom. But read on — and download the free trial — and being a Scrivener-empowered scrivener comes to seem like life’s greatest role. Scriveners, unlike Word-slaves, have florid psychologies, esoteric requirements and arcane desires. They’re artists. They’re historians. With needs. Scrivener is “aimed at writers of all kinds — novelists, journalists, academics, screenwriters, playwrights — who need to refer to various research documents and have access to different organizational tools whilst aiming to create a finished piece of text.”
--- End quote ---

Feb 14, 2008: StorYBook 0.4.3

A new kid on the block is the gratis (donations are asked for) StorYBook

StorYBook is a free, summary-based open source software for novelist and authors that helps you to keep the overview over the strands while writing a book, a novel or a story. StorYBook assists you to structure your book.
--- End quote ---
Plain text editor for writers... the modern way of writing
Rather than other products, StorYBook let you write your story with the software of your choice, no matter whether this is OpenOffice, Word or LyX. StorYBook is totally independent. The only links needed are the chapter numbers.
--- End quote ---

Chronological View:
Plain text editor for writers

Book View:
Plain text editor for writers

Edit Chapter:
Plain text editor for writers

Edit Location:
Plain text editor for writers


StorYBook has two views: the chronological view and the book view. The chronological shows the chapters sorted by date. The book view in contrast shows the chapters sorted by chapter numbers, as you would read it in the final book. Of course in both views the chapters and there related informations can be edited any time.

StorYBook helps to keep the overview, especially for complex stories with two or more strands. You imagine of StorYBook as some kind of a dynamic mind map.

Strands and strand links: Each chapter belongs to a primary strand. Optionally other related, secondary strands can be linked to a chapter.

Person management: Add, edit or remove persons (characters) and assign them to the related chapters.
Location management: Add, edit or remove locations and assign them to the related chapters.

Parts: Large projects can be split into well arranged parts.

Informations: Chapter related informations of the currently selected part are shown as well as warnings for missing chapters or chapters existing twice. A overview list shows all present strands, persons and locations.

Adjustable view: The chronological view can be resized any time to fit to screen, or to get a better overview if many strands are defined. Even more working space is available if you hide the information panel with a simple click on the tool bar.

Instant save: Because StorYBook uses an embedded database to store data (and not a file) each input entered is saved in an instant. Even if the program crashes, you won't loose any data.

Completely stand-alone: Write your book or script with your favorite software. The only link needed is the chapter number.

Customized extensions for customers are possible.
--- End quote ---

There is not yet any tutorial

There's also an Open Source alternative - KeyNote.

A very good review of it is here:

And you can get it here:

An Alternative to keynote would be Wikipad, with strong inter page and document linking, treeview etc


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Go to full version