48

IDE-like tools exist for writers. Scrivener is a powerful general-purpose tool (also with questions here). Madcap Flare, aimed at technical writers, has good support for updating links, defining "snippets" (xinclude blocks, essentially), variables, conditionalization, advanced build options, and more. Arbortext Epic is another tool in that vein. There ...


43

I'd argue that quotation marks like “ ” are the ordinary ones, and quotation marks like " " are the strange ones. :) But if you prefer typewriter-style quotation marks, that's fine. According to the OpenOffice wiki, you can change this behavior by opening the AutoCorrect options, clicking the “Localized Options” tab, and un-checking the “Replace” option in ...


22

This sounds like Google Docs, perhaps combined with Trello (for the Kanban board and calendar view), would do for you. It's got live updating -- I don't think it tracks edits by author exactly, so you could agree on a convention -- like my students on one team devised a rule where each of them owned 2 colors. (4 students, so like light blue and dark blue ...


20

There are two concepts in git that can help: branches and tags. Tags. Think of a tag as a name for a specific revision. Any time you want to remember a version, create a tag for it. For example, when you finish a draft, you can tag it like this: git tag first_draft When to use tags. Tags are good for marking any version that you might want to remember ...


18

Custom Meta-Data in Scrivener. You can do some custom fields in Scrivener. See the "Custom Meta-Data" button at the bottom of the inspector (it looks like a little tag). Here's a photo where I added a few fields: You can add fields by clicking the gear button. When you add a metadata field, it becomes available for all documents in the project. You can ...


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.


14

None of them. There is no commercial grammar checker that I know of which even approaches the ability of a halfway-competent native speaker. If you're thinking that grammar-checking software will help you with your typos and grammar mistakes, think again. This is one thing that still requires human intelligence.


13

I suspect people will object to me saying this, but still, wanted to give some food for thought: Why not just keep plain text files, or documents made in whatever word processor you prefer? I'm 32, and I've been writing on a computer since I was 18, so I have about 14 years of character and worldbuilding documents built up, for several different universes. ...


13

If part of your editing is checking continuity, it becomes difficult to search through 20 separate files for previous mentions of "Allen" to see if his hair (or lack of it) has been mentioned before Chapter 21, or if there was another character called "Allen", or if the receptionist was called "Mary" or "Marcy" the first time we met her.


13

Forget your story for a moment and revel in how this loss makes you feel. A loss of treasured words is a pain which every writer eventually encounters. It is agony, but it is also an opportunity. In this moment, while sadness, anger and self-reproach are burning within you, put pen to paper and capture how you feel. Use first person perspective and go ...


13

You need to go to Tools - Autocorrect - Autocorrect Options - Localised Options. There you can pick the kind of double quotes and single quotes you like. (Source. Note the source tries to do the exact opposite - get the curly quotation marks. Shouldn't make a difference though.)


12

For internal documentation I've found wikis to be quite useful. A wiki has several useful features for this task: built-in change-tracking doc can be structured as several pages (e.g. one per major section) for easier management; individual pages can then be edited without any need to merge changes into a master document some (most?) wiki platforms detect ...


12

I'll borrow an idea Memor-X pointed out to me in my question Are there tools that can aid an author in writing a branching storyline?: yEd It's a free tool that allows you to create flowcharts. I'm currently using it to create part of my D&D campaign. You can easily create for example a box/star/... in different colors and add a text as a description....


12

In English, the “ordinary” quotes are the “upper 66” quotes for opening and the “upper 99” quotes for ending a quotation. In other languages, it's often “lower 66” for opening quotes, or «quotation marks» or »quotation marks« (French and German). The straight quotes are not correct in any language I know of; they have been invented for programmers. (They are ...


11

I use git for fiction. Sometimes I'll save versions at various milestones, such as when I finish a chapter). But more often I forget, and save a version only when I finish a draft. Some other times that I save versions: Before and after I apply my editor's edits. When I finish creating a book cover, book interior file, or epub file. Whenever I want to try ...


11

This is the definition of "your mileage may vary." Some people work better on paper; you are clearly one of them. I was blocked for years until I found Scrivener, which for whatever reason helped get all my creative juices flowing again. Scrivener clicked with me. Some people work better with absolutely bare environments. Some want all the bells and ...


11

Use a wiki Many people are using a wiki when they are creating their worlds, as can be seen by this answer to the question What software is available for keeping and organising notes about your world? on WorldBuilding.SE. The biggest one is MediaWiki (the power behind Wikipedia). MediaWiki can be private, and it's not too hard. See this tutorial for ...


10

I use git for version control, and it's terrific for writing projects. I've used GitHub to share work in progress while collaborating with a friend. We wrote plain text files in markdown format. GitHub also has an Issues tracker that can easily be used to assign, accept, and track individual tasks. My friend and I didn't need that to collaborate, but I'...


10

Any decent word processor software will allow you to insert cross-references. I've used this quite frequently in Microsoft Word when writing technical documentation for software. It produces a link that the user can simply Ctrl-click to navigate. You can link to a variety of different items within the document. If you export the document as a PDF the cross-...


10

Allow me to introduce you to Scrivener. Scrivener is a word processor which allows you to create unlimited documents within a single project, and see all your documents in a nice document tree in a side pane. You can create folders and subfolders, drag items around from here to there, link documents within the project, tag documents for easy searching, and ...


10

A standard manuscript page has about 250 words on average. Standard manuscript format is this (or a minor variation): 8.5" x 11" 1" margins top and bottom, left and right. 12 point Courier font. Double spaced. If you have significantly more or fewer than that on average, your document is likely not formatted in the standard manuscript form. Here are a few ...


10

Here are some suggestions of tools you can use to make your drawings: GeoGebra: Interactive geometry, algebra, statistics and calculus application, intended for learning and teaching mathematics and science from primary school to university level [Wikipedia]. Inkscape: Can be used to create or edit vector graphics such as illustrations, diagrams, line arts,...


10

Wiki and Flash are all well and good, but here's an answer for lazy people, like me. I use OneNote. It's already on your Windows, and it requires 0 level of tech-savvy. I am a Wikipedia editor, so it's not like that's beyond my technical skills, but when I come to planning my story, I want to do just that - plan my story. No overhead. OneNote gives me just ...


9

TL;DR Anything from Microsoft Paint, to general FlowChart designing programs will work (you should probably start with a flowchart regardless, but that's just me). Everything else in this answer is commentary, with emphasis on how I did it in Flash. Welcome to the world of plotting. Things here are a little different than what you might be accustomed. ...


9

Software developers don't ever work in text editors, I'll challenge your premise. I know plenty of highly successful software developers who do not use IDEs, but standard editors; sometimes even only with very limited, basic functionality. Why don't writers use similarly advanced writing environments full of writing assistance tools, text analysis, and ...


8

We are currently working on Plotist, a timeline software created for writers. It's still a beta, but anyone can sign up and try it out. The main feature is that it connects notes and visualization, so you can check and edit your notes while building the timeline.


8

As silly as this may sound: the ability to turn every single function OFF if desired. Bells and whistles are great. Some people love them. I hate a lot of them, although not always. Sometimes I want my word processor to catch my CApitalization typos and repeated words. Sometimes I don't. I don't want it looking over my shoulder so it can complain if I use ...


8

Scrivener has features that can be used for this, specifically, templates. You can put all your character notes in one file and use that as a template for other characters. Or, if you insist on having them in separate files, you can create a folder for each character, but you might need to manually copy each file for each new character (may be as simple as ...


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