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Really tiny reviews for creating, organising, analysing and reorganising writing

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Possibly I like spreadsheets nearly as much as many writers like outlining. I know there are writers who really like them too.

When I think about it, there are many reasons.

* The concept includes a high degree of structure, yet invites chaos by being entirely flexible in how that structure is used. This means that ideas can be added anywhere and then transferred to their own sheet if that becomes warranted.
* This creates the potential for a visual approach (quite different to the purely verbal outline) when groups of ideas can be scattered all over a huge sheet.
* Ditto ability to use colour.
* They communicate with many programs.
* They are easily adjusted and reframed.
* Arithmetical and graphical functions mean that numbers can be used across sections. This means that word counts can be entered and compared with target, reading ages (and changes) can be monitored, pacing can be seen statistically and graphically. No requirement to do any of it, but it's possible if wanted.
* Any common template can easily be used.
* The best way I've found of managing a long manuscript with Obsidian is using a spreadsheet derived table with wikilinks
There are cons, of course.

* Inserting can be fiddly or very fiddly if it's not a whole column or row.
* The view of the spreadsheet does not shout "Let's be creative!".
* All the work and the ideas have to come from you.
So, they can be used at the brainstorming creative end but is more naturally suited to helping create the structure once the main bones are in place. And then they are excellent for tracking and monitoring detail and to support editing and review.

In very slow progress

Part One
After cycling through the etc options, I realised that mindmapping programs had advanced since I last looked and decided to search for one to try out; this appeared to tick the vital boxes, so I fixed on it for detailed investigation.

My first thought for the trial was to directly tackle the initial problem. I decided I ought to brainstorm options and was about to write them down (pen and paper!!!) when wave upon wave of different perspectives came to me and I decided to sleep on it.
(Possibly a mark of a good tool. A sheet of paper, with a pen, is very simple but what you can do with it is limited only by your imagination - maybe this has the same characteristics.)
But equally implies that it is not a simple thing, and testing it out is likely to take some time.

I don't know if it will be my solution to the initial problem I wanted to tackle, but it will be my backup approach should nothing else work quickly to deal with the problem. And I'll use it for similar tasks until such time as I decide it doesn't work well enough.

I do not, however, recommend Mindomo for the purposes behind this review. It will be overkill and a productivity destroyer unless you are already a Mindomo Ninja.
OTOH, if you are writing the full version of War and Peace with the whole stories off all the characters less prominent in the published version, this should give you the tools to see all the paths through the trees and help you develop a topographical map. It's easy enough for a simple use (once you know how you want to use it), but temptations to delve deeper abound, so you are likely to route yourself through the treacle swamp.


* Pen and paper and digital equivalent;
* Notezilla;
* Jutoh 3 Storyboard;
Maybe, if all goes well:

* Outlining
We'll see if it hits me when I'm working:

* Plottr
Maybe at a later stage:

* Spreadsheets (If they ere going to be the answer, it would already be done)
There is also a golden group for heavy duty, longer term projects. Grouped because they can exchange data via CSV or xlsx or opml:

* Mindomo;
* Notezilla;
* Outliners;
* Timeline 3;
* Spreadsheets.

Flowchart < the most basic expression for your matter?

Flowchart < the most basic expression for your matter?
-KodeZwerg (April 19, 2021, 12:15 PM)
--- End quote ---
I did consider it and I like it as an idea. I use Edraw, which is pretty good with multiple options, and all the programs are usually better visually than mindmapping equivalents (more expensive too).
But they're usually designed to show the final outcome rather than in process development. I've never been keen on the basic principle of mindmaps (the central node starting point), but often the software can produce concept maps which can be a reasonable approximation to flowcharts. One of the initial reasons for choosing was a degree of visual similarity to flowcharts.

Equally, though, I wanted to keep my work to a minimum and only look at one example of each technique (the corkboard and storylines equivalents being an exception because they are, theoretically, designed for the purpose). I decided that mindmapping progs had a more useful range of import options and that they, with pen and paper, offered a sufficient facsimile of flowcharts.


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