20

I generally use PowerPoint for outlining my scenes (prose, not script). I put a general description of what the scene is on the slide, and then give more details in the notes section. I like that I can see all the scenes and the flow of the story in the slide sorter view. I can then easily move scenes around to better fit the pace or development of the story. However, this program has some drawbacks, especially when the number of scenes gets up above 25 or so. I end up doing separate PPts for different arcs. Is there any kind of writing software where you can view and shift scenes around like this?

  • 2
    Nice question! I think something like that would be useful. My spouse uses index cards! He's organizing a 20 issue comic book series with as many characters and plotlines as a huge soap opera. I can imagine many other places this could be very helpful. – Cyn Apr 12 at 20:02
  • Oh, that's clever -- I never thought to use PowerPoint like that. And I agree it's not ideal for larger works, so I hope you get some good answers here. – Monica Cellio Apr 12 at 20:19
16

At the least, just the ones I know about are Scrivener and Organon. More generally, these are called "plot management" or "scene management" software. Either one will easily handle enough scene entries for a very, very long novel.

  • 1
    Scrivener, Scrivener, Scrivener. You want the Corkboard view, which makes your documents into notecard icons on a cork background. Put anything you want on the notecard and rearrange to your heart's content. – Lauren Ipsum Apr 13 at 14:21
  • 1
    Organon runs on OS that don't support Scrivener. – Zeiss Ikon Apr 13 at 15:50
6

You could try campfire, it's marketed as a worldbuilding and planning tool.

I've also looked at Scrivener, which may have a more familiar interface to that of PowerPoint.

WorldAnvil is another tool, although this one may or may not handle scene management as easily (I've not used this one extensively enough to figure that out yet), WorldAnvil will allow you to build a sort of Wiki for your novel and create links between characters, locations, events and all sorts of other details.

4

ARCHIVOS might be what you want. (Free account lets you build a world!) It allows you to create scenes, establish relationships between them. Characters (and relationships with them), plus a timeline. Lots of ways to link up info, but I don't know if it specifically links them to "scenes."

One feature I've asked for is multiple timelines in a single story setting -- so if I'm writing about the Adventures of Superman radio show, I can have an in-story timeline, and a broadcast-date timeline (for context).

So for you, 2-timelines may also allow you to have "storyline" timeline (what HAPPENS when) and "novel" timeline (when is the info presented). (I repeat, this doesn't seem to exist (yet) as a feature.)

This may work for you if scene-occurrence and scene-presentation match. Archivos is ALL about the relationships between and within people, events, locations.

from https://archivos.digital/about-archivos/:

First, ARCHIVOS helps Storytellers document the characters, places, and events of their stories, detailing the basic framework for the tale.

Then, Storytellers connect those story elements by defining the relationships between them that articulate not just the existence of the connection but also its nature (professional, personal, political, geographical, etc.).

The relationships in ARCHIVOS also support a hierarchy, like that of a parent to a child, or a manager to an employee. This framework will help identify and organize the structures within the story world.

As those structures become clear, Storytellers become true story architects, able to refine the and enhance the impact of their stories.

Here's info on how to create/arrange things: https://archivos.digital/getting-started-archivos/ (scroll to "adding story elements"

You can choose from the following list to define the Type of Story Element you’re creating:
Person* – from protagonists to the smallest walk-on role
Region* – worlds, continents, countries, counties, mountain ranges, forests, etc.
Location* – towns, buildings, landmarks, ruins, etc.
Organization – governments, guilds, religions, cabals, corporations, etc.
Item – relics, artifacts, unique tools, cars, ships, etc.
Event* – battles, treaties, plagues, births, deaths, graduations, etc.
Culture– ethnicity, as well as speculative cultures (elves, dwarves, giants, aliens, etc.)
Discipline – magic, kung-fu, cloak fighting, psionics, etc.

This link has information about the relationships you can see and manipulate: https://archivos.digital/story-web-archivos/


Disclosure - I became facebook friends with the guy who created this after I saw a demo at BaltiCon last year. When/if I have enough time/energy, I definitely want to play with it more. No actual connections to it, and I haven't used it in depth. Again - it's FREE to set up a single world and use all features!

1

I think Manuskript (http://www.theologeek.ch/manuskript/) might be what you want. It's a free and python based software so it runs on any system that can execute python.

It has a dashboard that shows you the scene title and summary and you can drag them around as you choose. This screenshot is from their sample project: enter image description here

You can also enable a story line mode at the bottom if you assign tags to your scenes so I image this can be useful for your described scenario. enter image description here

I use it for all my projects. It's also in continuous development so if you have a specific feature in mind you would like you can suggest it and maybe the devs will add it.

  • Sounds great -- nice screenshots. How did you find it? (W.SE prefers answers that recommend products to indicate their connection: if they have any links to the devs, or if you found it during nanowrimo, or have been just using it so long you've forgotten. ) :) Welcome to W.SE! – April Apr 16 at 13:03
  • 1
    Thanks for the welcome :). I was looking to replace ywriter since I've switched to Ubuntu and even though it's running with wine it's quite clunky so I went looking for alternatives at alternativeto.net. – Henya Apr 16 at 18:08
0

If you just want to try something out then YWriter does exactly that and it is AFAIK the only novel writing software designed and developed by a working novelist, and best of it's completely 100% free, gratis and for nothing. You can download it from here: http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter6.html

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.