Questions tagged [tools]

Tools include any physical devices or artifacts used in the writing process, as well as software tools (which should additionally include the Software tag). For questions regarding process, methodology, or organization, use the Technique tag.

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41 votes
12 answers
9k views

Is there a need for better software for writers?

Software developers don't ever work in text editors, instead they use IDEs (integrated development environments) full of code assistance tools, etc. Why don't writers use similarly advanced writing ...
mauleros's user avatar
  • 521
33 votes
7 answers
4k views

When blogging recipes, how can I support both readers who want the narrative/journey and ones who want the printer-friendly recipe?

Increasingly often, if you Google for a recipe your search results will be full of long, image-rich blog posts that, somewhere in there, have the actual recipe you were looking for. Many of these ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
27 votes
8 answers
8k views

Best tool to create ebooks?

What is a recommended tool for turning a completed manuscript (a Word document) into an ebook (specifically, an EPUB file or Kindle-compatible Mobipocket file)? I would prefer something that: ...
Cliff Hangerson Page's user avatar
26 votes
6 answers
6k views

Is there any point in learning to write in cursive?

I remember learning it as a child, and I remember I was told it was important and every kid in the class had to learn it. But now that I think about it, I haven't used cursive for years. What was ...
stickman's user avatar
  • 377
25 votes
7 answers
1k views

How can one effectively organize scenes and snippets?

I tend to write bits of stories out of order. If I have a great idea for a scene, I want to get it down it while I have it, even if it doesn't come until three chapters later than the part I'm on ...
HedgeMage's user avatar
  • 4,485
24 votes
13 answers
50k views

Software for developing and organizing characters

I'm looking for a software that helps me develop and organize the characters for my novel. What I want: something like a filesystem, with a file for each character it should have or allow me to ...
user avatar
23 votes
10 answers
11k views

Tools for science-based world building?

I tend to lean towards science-fiction and fantasy, so world building matters a lot to me. A while ago, there was a question which asked how to go about organizing your universe, which was interesting,...
Craig Sefton's user avatar
  • 11.6k
23 votes
7 answers
5k views

Keeping track of multiple plot lines

How do you track several plot lines woven together? I usually run 2 or 3 plot-lines in parallel, so I detail those plots each in a separate document. But as the book goes on, it is sometimes ...
Ido Tamir's user avatar
  • 1,411
22 votes
5 answers
9k views

emacs for creative writing

Does anyone know a good emacs configuration for creative writing? I'd be looking for the ability to write, edit, and export to libre office or word (so the less technical people get edit/view). I'm ...
John's user avatar
  • 223
22 votes
5 answers
10k views

What's the best version control system for a book writer?

I'm a writer—no programming, only prose in text files, mostly in Emacs org-mode, some in markdown-mode. I want to implement a version control system for my writing projects. I work with two types of ...
incandescentman's user avatar
21 votes
6 answers
522 views

Are there any places to have community story development?

Are there any places or ways a group (general public or individually invited) of people can individually contribute to a communally developed story? For example, a website or collaboration tool (...
Reverend Gonzo's user avatar
18 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is Scrivener involved in the editorial process, or is it strictly a writer's development tool?

Is there any reason that an editor should know how to use Scrivener? I generally see manuscripts after they're out of draft but before proofreading. (I'm an editor.) However, I see a lot of talk ...
Goodbye Stack Exchange's user avatar
18 votes
7 answers
954 views

How do you track submissions to publishers/markets?

What tools (software or otherwise) or procedures do you use to track the progress of submissions to publishers or other markets? How do you reduce the chance of accidentally (and embarrassingly) ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 1,496
16 votes
14 answers
20k views

Are there any good tablets out there for writing/editing?

I like being able to take my work anywhere with me, but sometimes my laptop is just too big to take with me. Battery life on tablets seem to be much better than laptops as well. Are there any tablets ...
Ralph Gallagher's user avatar
16 votes
9 answers
4k views

Software to draw plot structure charts

When I plot my own novels or analyze other works to understand their structure, I like to visualize the dynamic of the storyline(s) in a diagram. Usually I draw this by hand. A first version of such ...
user avatar
16 votes
7 answers
632 views

Should I start writing on paper first or start directly on the computer?

If I have an excellent idea for a story, would it be wiser to write on paper first or start directly on the computer? There are many different reasons for beginning stories on paper as well as on the ...
JFW's user avatar
  • 3,385
15 votes
4 answers
11k views

Are there tools that can aid an author in writing a branching storyline?

I would like to know whether there are any tools that would help an author write a branching storyline. Usecases may for example be: campaigns for Pen and Paper games visual novels Choose Your Own ...
Secespitus's user avatar
  • 5,686
14 votes
5 answers
928 views

Editing tools on the go

I've just started editing my novel. For the drafting I had done most of the work on a phone, as I wanted to make the most of the daily commute. This worked well enough and the first rough draft is ...
peanut's user avatar
  • 530
13 votes
4 answers
3k views

Where can I find resources about writing "Choose your own adventure"-style books?

I have read/played a couple of "Choose your own adventure"-style book and am interested in the process of creating one. Where can I find (preferrably free) online resources, such as How-To-Write or ...
Secespitus's user avatar
  • 5,686
13 votes
9 answers
7k views

Is there a free online alternative to Scrivener?

I currently use Google Drive/Docs to pen all of my novels and short stories, but really feel that I could do with a management suite of sorts, such as Scrivener. However, as Scrivener costs actual ...
M.Y. David's user avatar
  • 1,024
13 votes
9 answers
2k views

Tools for generating characters' names

I found this name generator: http://www.fakenamegenerator.com And I'm wondering if maybe there are others? Has anybody found this kind of tool useful? What about tools for fantasy names? Should I ...
13 votes
4 answers
620 views

Are "morning pages" useful?

I've found an interesting private online journaling website: 750words.com From "About" section of the website: I've long been inspired by an idea I first learned about in The Artist's Way called ...
rem's user avatar
  • 1,143
12 votes
5 answers
1k views

Is this character generator useful?

After some feedback from this site and a training course, I developed a little tool to help with character generation. It's called "20 Questions" and works just like that: It picks 20 questions (or ...
Aaron Digulla's user avatar
12 votes
5 answers
681 views

How best to recover from catastrophic text loss?

This morning I had an accidental select all delete followed by auto save, which prevented me from just hitting undo. My novel became an empty file. I use MS Word. I had emailed a copy of it a few ...
Rasdashan's user avatar
  • 12.3k
12 votes
6 answers
3k views

How do you visualize plot structure?

I want to visualize the internal structure of my plot. I noticed several contradictions, and want to better understand what's going on in my tale. I'm not talking about different characters doing ...
user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
35k views

Scansion tool for checking my meter

Are there any software tools available that will help me dissect my meter? I have always been extremely poor at scansion and while my writing doesn't suffer terribly for it, it makes writing strict ...
Summer's user avatar
  • 4,461
12 votes
1 answer
809 views

Do publishers use LaTeX to produce books for the blind?

What software tools do publishers use to produce books for the blind, i.e. containing embossed Braille? Is LaTeX one of them? There is a braille LaTeX package, which can be used to print Braille, but ...
jub0bs's user avatar
  • 288
11 votes
8 answers
4k views

Good Outlining Solutions For OSX?

I write technical non-fiction and find that I cannot write well without first constructing a detailed (10-20 page) outline. Are there any good outlining solutions for OSX? Apps? Templates in Microsoft ...
Wolf's Dilemma's user avatar
11 votes
8 answers
5k views

Very simple markup language for writing fiction

I'm using a plain text editor (Vim) to write a fiction piece (chapter book), and I'm wondering what markup languages others use for such a task? I'm looking for something exceedingly simple, it does ...
brianmearns's user avatar
11 votes
6 answers
330 views

What makes a great writer's space?

If you have a usual or favorite place to write at home, what makes it so good? I like having multiple places to write -- sometimes I find a change of scenery helps break a block -- but my most-used ...
HedgeMage's user avatar
  • 4,485
11 votes
3 answers
333 views

How do you track dependencies for your co-authors?

I and one or more co-authors, sometimes geographically distributed, are working on a set of related documents. Sometimes I will make a change in my part that affects someone else's part; this could ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
10 votes
7 answers
2k views

Is there an online tool which supports shared writing?

I want to write a short story (and maybe later a book) together with a colleague from work. Is there an online service which we can use to do this in a convenient way? Useful features would be (not ...
Kaadzia's user avatar
  • 243
10 votes
14 answers
2k views

Is the iPad a convenient medium for writing work?

Does anyone here write on an iPad at all? The iPad 2G is due this summer and I have waited since March 2010 already, so I am planning to purchase one. However, I don't really need an iPad at all; ...
JFW's user avatar
  • 3,385
10 votes
2 answers
120 views

Limitations of automatic documentation

As technology advances and workflows are streamlined, some have turned to automated tools such as Doxygen, Sphinx, Swagger, etc. in order to generate technical documentation automatically. What are ...
Timtech's user avatar
  • 351
10 votes
5 answers
796 views

Software for plot building across multiple books

I plan to write a series of books set in the same universe, with a major plot about war, destruction, murder, killing, love, betrayal etc. But I am having problem getting the big view of my universe ...
Oedum's user avatar
  • 278
10 votes
8 answers
2k views

What is a good OCR program?

I keep a writing journal that I enjoy writing in. I also have a lot of old journal with writing that I'd love to digitize but am too lazy to retype. What is a good, accurate, OCR program that would ...
Ralph Gallagher's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
2k views

Good tools for writing (game) manuals and sourcebooks

As I had asked in another part of Stackexchange (didn't know about this part until some comments there) I'm writing manuals (mostly for computer games, but in addition to this also for tabletop games, ...
Thomas E.'s user avatar
  • 223
9 votes
4 answers
3k views

Software for analyzing a manuscript?

I would like to get a better picture of a manuscript I've written, especially in regards to word usage patterns and potentially overused terms. I'm curious whether anyone can recommend a document ...
Cliff Hangerson Page's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
546 views

I'm an editor who generally uses Word to communicate changes with my authors. Is Adobe's InCopy better for this task?

For all of my editing work I'm currently using Microsoft Word. But I've heard a bit about Adobe's InCopy being good for editing and publishing. Is it really better? What makes it better than Word?
Ralph Gallagher's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
354 views

Motivation - or how can I get myself to do the work I know I need to?

There is worldbuilding and/or writing that I know I need to do, and even want to do on some level, but I keep not doing it. I don't have what I think of as traditional writers block, because I'm not ...
Ash's user avatar
  • 10k
9 votes
3 answers
4k views

Can someone explain set pieces?

I was using a book in a writing group that talked about set pieces, but I never really got a clear idea of what it is or how they're supposed to appear in writing. My impression was that you have a ...
foggyone's user avatar
  • 998
9 votes
6 answers
1k views

Best free writing software?

I can't afford much right now, so I am looking for free writing tools that can help me. I already have Microsoft Word, but am looking for something to outline with. I am also interested in anything ...
Jade's user avatar
  • 91
9 votes
5 answers
18k views

Character Relationship Mapping Software

I'm attempting to lay some groundwork for a story that I've been working on in various aspects for a good many years now, and I'm finding myself in need of a visual representation of character ...
Miria's user avatar
  • 91
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

How can I prevent, or work around, unfortunate hyphenation in critical words?

In technical documentation, sometimes the tool's automatic hyphenation makes a bad break in the middle of a term, like the name of an environment variable or function. In these cases I would rather ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
252 views

Tools for exploring and analysing document structure?

I'm currently writing a thesis. Just the introduction is 25 pages/8000 words. The whole document will probably be 70 pages or so. With a document this large, and on such a complex topic, it can be ...
naught101's user avatar
  • 365
8 votes
11 answers
3k views

How many writers use fountain pens/dip pens today? [closed]

How often are fountain pens and dip pens are used today by writers, and why do they use them? Or, if applicable, why not?
D4RIO's user avatar
  • 181
8 votes
10 answers
887 views

Do fullscreen writing environments help for writing? Why? [closed]

I recently found out about full-screen writing applications like OmniWriter and DarkRoom and I'm interested in using them, but I'm skeptical as to whether or not these are actually useful for ...
Mana's user avatar
  • 183
8 votes
8 answers
2k views

Software for collaborative writing for a small team

I'm working on a writing project with a friend, and we're looking for some kind of (preferably cloud-based) project management and version control software so each of us can see how far the other has ...
Yamikuronue's user avatar
  • 1,168
8 votes
6 answers
3k views

What is a good tool for organizing story notes?

I'm working on a fantasy series and have been keeping a Word document full of backstory, character/location information, and other world-building elements. At 160+ pages, it's reached the point where ...
user1985189's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Topic-based authoring vs. Modular authoring

What is the difference between "topic-based authoring" and "modular authoring"? As I know, there are two well-known authoring approaches: Narrative authoring; Topic-based authoring (see link above). ...
john c. j.'s user avatar

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