Author and Publisher Services

@Kindle Nation Daily

Publetariat Dispatch: Writer Aids

Publetariat: For People Who Publish!In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, Bob Spear shares some tools for writers.

This blog article features various software packages from one  company, Mariner Software, Inc. It’s not meant as an advertisement but  an evaluation of tools I use because I find them to be the best out  there. They deliver what they promise. I decided to write this because  I’ve been asked to be a beta tester for a new upcoming package called “Persona.” Here is what they intend for it to do:

With Persona, you will be able to:

  • Create the cast for your story
  • Explore the relationships and interactions between each of the characters
  • Categorize each character into one of 32 archetypes and 64 styles
  • Create Smart Groups of characters based on attributes like tags, type, sex, or any word or phrase from your notes
  • Create adhoc groups of characters without a defined relationship so you can explore their interactions
  • See the relationships between archetypes, for example, if your hero is corrupted and becomes a villain

This is the best answer I have seen for an old warhorse of a writers  aid called “Dramatica,” which is based on a complex, almost  incomprehensible writing theory. Persona is a combination of a character  data base and a collection of archetypical types and their motivations  and typical actions. It is, as I said, still in beta testing, but should  be out soon. Here are some other products that I use which you should  find helpful:

Contour—$49.95 Mac/Windows

This was designed for screenwriters, but I have found it to be  extremely helpful for novel writing. It starts out by asking these 4  questions: Who is the main character? What is the main character trying  to accomplish? Who is trying to stop the main character? What happens if  the main character fails? From there it goes on to ask questions  throughout the structure of a typical story that, if an author answers  the questions, will give him or her a logical progression of the story.  Contour, the proven story development system developed by Emmy  Award-nominated Jeffrey Alan Schechter, is designed to take your idea  and turn it into a solid outline – the same kind of character-based  structure used by many of the biggest blockbuster movies. In the company’s words:  Unlike other story development systems which are either so complicated  that you don’t know where to start or so light-weight as to wonder, “why  in the world did I buy this?”, Contour is a must-have for every  screenwriter. Taking your idea and using a fill-in-the blanks and  intuitive approach, Contour guides you as to what elements need to be  part of your story outline – you’re never left to wonder, “what comes  next?”

StoryMill 4.0—$49.95  Mac

I love this aid and use it a lot. Here are the company’s description of what it does:

The Easiest, Most Complete Novel Writing Software Ever.

Writing a great novel doesn’t just happen, it is designed. It is  thought out. It takes a writer who has discipline, creativity and  open-mindedness. Writing is a creative process and like all creative  processes, sometimes it’s hard to get started. But ask any writer, once  you get into “the zone” you can write forever. Take your idea for  mystery, romance, adventure, action or science fiction and turn it into  that novel you know is within but just needs a little help getting out.  Developed to ease a person into the writing experience, StoryMill 4 is  purposely designed to include all the essential writing elements, while  at the same time maintaining an intuitive user interface. StoryMill  is incredibly flexible – use it as your no-nonsense place to write and  revise using its distraction-free full screen and powerful annotations,  or as your complete database of every character, location and scene that  makes up your novel. You can set a daily writing goal and keep track of  it using the Progress Meter. There are handy things to help you keep  track of cliches and monitor how many times you use a word. There’s a  single place for all your research – add pictures, tags, files and  links, or make notes to any item in your project. It’s all right there  within easy reach.

Have Timeline, will travel The Timeline View is all new. You can  group the scenes so you can see the relationship between them. Change  the unit of time measurement all the way from minutes to centuries.  Insert scenes or events and view the list of untimed scenes. No matter  what passage of time your story takes, the Timeline View will give you a  perspective unique only to StoryMill.


If you need writing software that can help you think through the  creative process, develop the elements of your story, its characters,  its scenes, its time lines, and its research, these packages are  invaluable. Their costs are reasonable.


This is a cross-posting from Bob Spear‘s Book Trends blog.


Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap