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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40
votes
12answers
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 ...
32
votes
7answers
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 ...
26
votes
8answers
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: ...
24
votes
7answers
897 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 ...
23
votes
10answers
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,...
22
votes
11answers
44k 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 ...
22
votes
8answers
488 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 (...
21
votes
5answers
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 ...
21
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
20
votes
6answers
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 ...
19
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
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 ...
18
votes
7answers
906 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) ...
16
votes
14answers
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 ...
16
votes
9answers
3k 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 ...
16
votes
7answers
519 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
898 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 ...
13
votes
9answers
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
4answers
568 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
4k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
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 ...
12
votes
9answers
6k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
658 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
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 ...
12
votes
1answer
659 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 ...
11
votes
8answers
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 ...
11
votes
6answers
313 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
315 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
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 ...
10
votes
14answers
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; ...
10
votes
2answers
39 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 ...
10
votes
8answers
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
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, ...
9
votes
4answers
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 ...
9
votes
3answers
530 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?
9
votes
4answers
698 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
340 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
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 ...
9
votes
5answers
12k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
234 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 ...
8
votes
11answers
2k 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?
8
votes
10answers
876 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 ...
8
votes
8answers
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 ...
8
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
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). ...
8
votes
3answers
115 views

What software can I use to synchronize corrections and modifications over similar documents?

I'm currently working on a large thesis, from which I derive some smaller publications such as papers. The work is in parallel. Often it happens that I copy some paragraphs from the thesis into a ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Linking documentation to Git commit comments

Using git to track modifications to the project allows contributors to include comments with each commit. If the project's guidelines, and managers' control, keeps those comments limited to a format ...
8
votes
6answers
970 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 ...

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