Writer’s Café for Creating a Novel

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I have wanted to report my experience with Writer’s Café since I began using it. Now, I’ve used it daily for almost two months. Writer’s Café is a text editing, story planning, writing software.

If my computer did not run on Ubuntu Linux, I would probably be using Scrivener. However, the full up-to-date version of Scrivener does not work on Linux. So, I’ve been searching for a similar program. For the last year, I’ve been writing in Sigil. This program is not a sophisticated story building system, what it does is help with formatting ebooks.

Writer’s Café is a program for writing text and aiding with many aspects of the writing work.  Let me quote from the authors of the program: “StoryLines is a multi-storyline planning tool that helps you weave a set of virtual index cards into a finished, formatted story.” Here are the features advertised for the program, Drag and drop cards, Formatting including custom styles, Screenplay auto-formatting, Text and screenplay import, Instant reports, Outline view, Navigator view, Tag-based searching, Multiple sheets (for different versions of the same story), User-customisable structure (Chapter, scene, etc.), File export (HTML, OpenDocument, etc.), Make HTML Help books, Character profiles, Story locations, Spelling checker, Pockets (store unused scenes for placing later), and Keyboard shortcuts.

The most immediately useful feature for my writing was the ability to easily see the scene and story overview and jump to any scene at any time. For me, this is a huge advantage over a flat word-processor, like Word. I also am glad for the character and location files. I can instantly look up a location or character I have entered, to check spelling and details. All-in-all I have been very happy with the program, and plan to keep using it everyday.

Now, let’s mention some negatives, since no software is perfect. What I noticed was the software was probably originally written for helping screenwriters writing a screenplay. There are extensive tools to aid with formatting screenplays. Of course, whether you find this a negative depends on your writing audience.  Another daily annoyance has been an issue of cutting and pasting. When I cut to and from LibreOffice, I keep the font, but have been losing the style on emphasized words. A minor annoyance that is also a positive, is the forced scene structure. The program defaults to a scene structure, instead of chapter structure.  This annoyed me, at first. Now, though, I would probably not go back. It makes sense to think about a scene as a unit that I work on.

So, there you have it. A quick overview of the Writer’s Café program. It is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The purchase price is $40 US, or $30 for students. I tried the free download first. The free version is mostly full featured, except you are limited to the number of scenes you can enter.

If you don’t have a writing program, or want to try something new, I recommend Writer’s Café.

Websites:

http://www.writerscafe.co.uk  Writer’s Café

https://www.literatureandlatte.com  Scrivener

https://sigil-ebook.com/ Sigil

http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/a-z-challenge-sign-up-list-2016.html The a-to-z Challenge

 

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One thought on “Writer’s Café for Creating a Novel

  1. Hello! It flummoxed me for a while trying to find out how to leave a comment – perhaps a little note on the end of your blog about having to click on the calendar might help with the number of comments! This is very helpful to writers – I don’t write novels but use a writing forum where people are always asking for recommendations. ~Liz http://www.lizbrownleepoet.com

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