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45

I am a programmer in real life, so using a version control software was a no-brainer for me. I write stuff in plain text, with each chapters in a separate text file. I use Subversion on them, with TortoiseSVN on Windows, and also use a Dropbox for backing up my repository. This way I have my changes versioned, I can comment the changes I commit, and if ...


39

I've been using Scrivener, which is available as a free beta for NaNoWriMo participants. It's a writer's project organizational tool that allows you to have many different associated files, and to view more than one on the same screen. For example, you could open a file about a particular character while writing about them, have an outline open while you ...


35

For longer pieces, especially those with figures, tables, contents, or internal references, or citations. For shorter pieces (such as an essay) I'd do it in Word or OpenOffice, since I normally don't need the power of Latex and getting it laid out properly won't involve much work. Any writing of decent size, I use latex because: 1) I only worry about ...


25

You should really just grab and try any version control software presented on the market. This soft is not really more than controlling text files, and text files is what we do. I use Mercurial and I am very happy about it. It's easy to use for writing alone, as Mercurial tracks all your changes through local repository, and easy to use when collaborating, ...


22

I recommend yWriter. Free, easy to use, all the features you might want, free, and pretty compact. And it works on OSX and Linux under Mono. Also it's free. To elaborate on its features: It allows you to divide a story into chapters and to subdivide those chapters into scenes. In each scene, you can keep track of what characters are in the scene, where it ...


22

Am I allowed to beat the drum for Scrivener again? :) Scrivener is a tremendously flexible writing program which allows you to rearrange your items easily, by dragging around icons, by putting up virtual cards on a corkboard, or setting things up in outline format (the Outline view is right in the top bar). Each item of your outline is a document, which ...


20

Games Industry Possibly the most creative industry that you can write for. This is displayed through the excellent storyline in the Assassin's Creed series. It consists of a dual storyline that spans throughout the history of mankind (Due to their excellent implementation of the sci-fi mechanism combined with historical emphasis on events.) If you read ...


16

Other than Scrivener :) I find Excel (or another spreadsheet program) works surprisingly well. First column: Year Second column: Month Third column: Day (Insert more columns as needed.) Last column: event If you have multiple items on the same Day, repeat the Day data and use a 24-hour clock, so you would have: 1898|July|Holmes and Watson move into ...


16

My advice? Skip the world building. Focus instead on your characters. Tell the story as it happens to them. Invent the world around them as you need to in order to tell their story. If you introduce inconsistencies, clean them up in a later draft. Focusing on the axial tilt of the planet your characters live on rather than who your characters are and ...


14

Some tool such as this could be useful, but I believe you are asking the wrong questions. In my answer to the question you linked and another answer in that question by Fox Cutter, the questions we posed weren't life detail questions. They were motivation questions. There's a key difference. I might create this shell man who gets up at 6:45 on the dot ...


13

I use git. There are a number of popular GUIs for it, though I tend to prefer the command line. My backup service of preference is Rsync.net because they are reliable, fairly priced, support (and encourage) you to encrypt your stuff and not give them the keys, and really care about their users' privacy.


13

I've been a computer industry journalist for most of the past 20 years, and I can assure you that it's plenty creative. This isn't "tech writing" in the sense of describing how to use a product, but rather offering useful advice (such as "which of these tools is worth your money" or "here's some tips on how to use it well") that offer LOTS of opportunities ...


13

Scrivener can compile to various formats including EPUB and Kindle formats, and gives you lots of control over formatting. Here is a video tutorial showing how it's done. It is available for both the Mac and Windows, with a Beta version for Linux.


12

Yes. I write everything in Vim with LaTeX, using the sffms package. As the name indicates, the sffms package was written for SF, but manuscript style is pretty much universal. I highly recommend it.


12

For tracking short stories and direct submissions to publishers, use Duotrope, a free online tool that contains every market you've ever heard of and a multitude that you haven't, complete with submission history, links to websites, etc. Also, be sure to donate to them, because they deserve it. For tracking agent queries, use Query Tracker, which has a ...


12

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.


11

Storybook (free) For German writers: Papyrus Autor (not free)


11

I have been using Calibre to format my e-books, and I have been very happy with it. However, as PseudoCubic noted, it will not accept a Word document as input. Ideally, you should convert your file to html first and then format it with Calibre. If you convert your Word document to html, make sure you choose the Web Page, Filtered option. Otherwise, Microsoft ...


10

I use emacs, editing LaTeX files, with a text editor I am used to (as in 20+ years "used to"). This has some advantages and some disadvantages. It allows me to separate text in whatever "file chunks" I find convenient (usually chapters) and allows me to re-arrange these in the document as a whole (by having a series of include statements, referring to the ...


10

Before Lauren shows up, let me provide an answer from a non-evangelist ;) ... it looks to me like a cross between an outliner, a note organizer, and a word processor. Yes, more or less. Scrivener is an all purpose writer tool. It tries to replace all other tools an author would need to write a book, or better: to finish the first draft. All other ...


10

Scrivener does have a Comment or Sticky-Note function. You can also use a Highlight to mark big swathes of text, change the color of inserted copy, and Strike-Through to cross things out. As John Smithers wisely points out, Scrivener isn't just for writing the draft. It also allows you to gather notes, keep audio and video with your story, create outlines, ...


9

If you're easy distracted by shiny things (or Twitter, your RSS feed, Facebook page, chat window, weather updates, email, or desktop photo) then having a program which blocks them all out may help keep you focused on your work. So it depends on your workflow and your weaknesses.


9

For a non-spam answer: I highly recommend Celtx. One of my friends and I decided to write short plays last summer and this was the program I used and I loved it. I found it very easy to use and figure out and I had never really written plays before then. http://www.celtx.com/index.html


9

The writing program yWriter has this function. yWriter is basically a downgraded version of Scrivener for Windows. It allows you to create multiple scenes and rearrange them easily. It will also analyze those scenes or the entire document for word usage, word goal, etc.


9

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 ...


8

Writeroom for Mac is what I use. Nice and simple with as little distraction as possible.


8

I use Google Docs revision history. True version control systems like SVN and GIT are too complex, requiring knowledge of the command line, and are really designed for collaborative teams, working on dozens of different files, all at the same time. They're overkill for writers. I use Microsoft Word for writing, and every time I save Google Cloud Connect ...


8

SimEarth might work well for you. As I remember, in addition to the Earth simulation, there was Martian terraforming as well. It is an old DOS game; I wish Maxis had updated it for modern computers. Something that might also be interesting is EdGCM, the only global climate model I know of that will run on a PC. Changing the forcings in model can provide ...


8

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 ...


8

I use paper and a pencil. Paper is extremely flexible. You can: cut out sections and re-arrange them in any way you want (even stack them) have an infinite canvas (as large as your living-room floor) see everything you wrote at the same time and therefore better grasp and play with it in your mind than when only a small section of your work is visible on ...



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