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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19
votes
8answers
4k 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: ...
19
votes
7answers
380 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 ...
17
votes
10answers
7k 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
260 views

What are some ways to get to know your characters?

For example, I have recently taken to analyzing all my characters within the scope of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. I already had my characters in place; I just used this test as a tool to get in ...
13
votes
2answers
738 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
277 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
277 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 ...
11
votes
12answers
13k 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 ...
10
votes
8answers
999 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
644 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 ...
8
votes
8answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
580 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
240 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
262 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?
8
votes
1answer
184 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 ...
7
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; ...
7
votes
10answers
758 views

Do fullscreen writing environments help for writing? Why?

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 ...
7
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
652 views

The importance of monitor size/distance for writing productivity?

I've been thinking today that my writing station's monitor screen set-up is much worse than I had previously thought, and can be partly blamed for productivity problems. I write on a 2004 laptop with ...
7
votes
6answers
835 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
458 views

How to practice location descriptions

When trying to strengthen my writing on how to correctly describe a location I try to write a small text on each location I am. (These are then saved in Evernote so that I can search for them) I found ...
7
votes
1answer
831 views

How to work with in-text markup for figures and captions in Scrivener?

I like the writing tool Scrivener because of the organisation tools like the corkboard and the no-frills full screen mode. I'm starting out my thesis using the Windows trial and intending to buy if I ...
6
votes
8answers
555 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
462 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
163 views

Do you use a pop-up dictionary/thesaurus on Windows? What are your criteria?

I used to use WordWeb as a pop-up dictionary/thesaurus while I wrote, but I found it lacking, particularly in its inability to let me define my own terms per context (for example, when writing about ...
5
votes
4answers
321 views

Does using version control system make backups unnecessary?

Suppose I use Git, Subversion or any other version control system for managing my writing. So my texts are preserved together with change history and if I accidentally delete something I can use ...
5
votes
8answers
660 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
182 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
905 views

How do I create a book on iBookstore without having a Mac?

I use Linux, and I'd like to format a book for the iBookstore. When I go to signup to iTunes Connect to upload my books, it says: 3. Download iTunes Producer Download our delivery ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

How to handle screenplay revisions in Final Draft?

I need to revise a screenplay in Final Draft, and I'm finding that the revision features in the program are poor. Are there any ways to introduce revision features in to Final Draft, similar to Track ...
5
votes
2answers
126 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
109 views

Does excessive use of prepositions make writing unclear?

This site's writing reports claim that excessive use of prepositions makes writing unclear. For example: "The principle of keeping nouns and verbs as close to each other as possible for the benefit ...
4
votes
5answers
799 views

How many writers use fountain pens/dip pens today?

How often are fountain pens and dip pens are used today by writers, and why do they use them? Or, if applicable, why not?
4
votes
4answers
273 views

Best text procesor— keyboard focussed UI

I am a programmer by profession and am looking for good text processors to help me with my blog writing. Word(MS/OpenOffice) has felt too clunky, because of the interruptions(corrections,formatting ...
4
votes
3answers
776 views

Any experience with Serenity Editor software?

Has anyone had any experience with Serenity Editor editing software? What's the difference between the Standard version or the Word add-in? What kind of results can it get? If nobody has used it, ...
4
votes
2answers
58 views

Tools for modelling near-future world

Imagine I want to write a fictional book, whose purpose is to show what will happen to the world, if something changes. For example: How will we live, if... crowdsourced funding (microfinance in M. ...
4
votes
3answers
80 views

tools for writing scripts

It has been a long time since I last tried to write a play, and I hated it, not the play (which became a short story), but writing one. The word processors made working with script layout a pain, and ...
4
votes
1answer
135 views

What is the new Google Author markup?

What is the new Google Author markup, and how can I use it to build up a reputation as an online writer? How could it possibly work? Using self-declared information has been tried before and of ...
4
votes
2answers
127 views

Visualizing multiple word-based changes among many text files

I've written a piece of fiction with GitHub, which means I have access to many version of my writing. I'm curious to see how my writing adapted over time. Did I keep eliminating then re-adding a word? ...
3
votes
3answers
669 views

Cheap ways a young person can get paper books printed/bound from their manuscript? (Please incl sample costs)

Some budding authors (school aged young people) want to see their creative works in print, as books. I'm prepared to do some of the pubisher's tasks (eg, get some ISBN's for each book, if required; ...
3
votes
3answers
897 views

Which edition of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style?

I'm interesting in picking up a copy of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style. Unfortunately I'm a little overwhelmed by the minor variations. Amazon lists 12 different paperback formats, plus a ...
3
votes
2answers
91 views

Scrivener: Editing the source files

I'm away from the house but I have my .scriv file on cloud storage. My question is, can I get to a particular chapter in my story and make some quick edits? Will changing these files break the ...
3
votes
2answers
126 views

Looking for writer's platform

I'm looking for a platform (web app, saas application) to manage writers and articles for a large blog. I'm looking for the following features: I enter topics, writers can claim subjects and write ...
3
votes
1answer
342 views

Can Articy Draft be used to write a book?

I recently bought Articy Draft to catalog my writing endeavours. It seems good for writing scripts, but what about writing a book? Reference: http://www.nevigo.com/en/articydraft/overview/ I'm ...
3
votes
2answers
122 views

How should we go from Stack Exchange Q/A to publishable PDF with the least hassle?

Over on another site we're talking about taking some of our content (on a particular theme) and re-packaging it as a printable PDF. (The primary use case is paper.) This wouldn't be a straight dump ...
2
votes
4answers
186 views

Is there any tool which points out the common mistakes in a piece of writing?

It will point out mistakes like: Use of bad constructs. Use of repeated words. etc. (On a side note: if you happen to be a C programmer, I am looking for lint for writing).
2
votes
2answers
167 views

Concept map software that concentrates on ease of use?

...and scales well? I'm in the process of writing a text game / "Make your own adventure" novel, with a fairly convoluted, non-linear plot. Getting that plot under control has proven to be a rather ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

An (Collaborative) Online Outline

I'm writing a book – more as a hobby than anything else. As an amateur I often get lost regarding the extent I should include in the chapters. But the greatest problem for me is that I did not ...