Almost Like Writing

The outstanding looking Scrivener software for the Mac stumbled into my Internet surfing yesterday. As a result I began googling ‘scrivener for windows’. Most of the hits were people wishing there was such an app, but a very few proposed candidates. I installed and played with three contenders: yWriter, Liquid Story Binder XE, and Celtix.

I’ve been aware of yWriter by Spacejock Software for a number of years. It hits every time I search for writing software. The most recent addition, version 4, shows maturity and a better thought out design than I recall earlier versions sporting. If I were only needing subtance and practicality, I think this would do the trick, but I’m a little bit of a gloss whore. yWriter, the best of the three, is not chrome-tastic.

Celtix is chrome-tastic. It’s also focused on script writing with the ability to handle plain text—you know, for mere mortals. The link I followed didn’t make it out to be so industry specific, so maybe it’s unfair in this line up. Most of the bits can be coerced into use for novel writing and probably serve just fine. The rest of the bits just hang out there screaming let’s write a movie. For me that is distraction enough to avoid further use.

Liquid Story Binder XE comes the closest at a glance to Scrivener. Once I installed it and poked around I discovered that it’s not flexible and complex, but a mess. Some dude cobbled this up to his own specific writing needs. If your specific writing needs and his are parallel then great, you’re set. Mine aren’t.

What do I need you ask.

I’m not entirely sure. Since I haven’t written a novel or long piece of fiction I can’t say for certain what I need. What I want though scans out something like this:

  • Foldering to organize the chunks of writing
  • Character sheets
  • Location sheets
  • Prop sheets
  • An intuitive way to inventory characters, locations, and props across the chunks
  • Word count and task duration statistics
  • Integrated submission/rejection tracking
  • Looks cool