Monday, October 26, 2009

Writer’s Café software for Mac and PC

If you’ve seen my previous blogs this week on Ywriter, Write It Now 4.0, and Scrivener, you’re familiar with common features to look for in writing software.

Operating system compatibility.
Ease of use
Specialty tools for character creation
Research organization
Drag and drop capability
Export to rtf functionality
Potential for customization
The writing space
Storyboard features
Frequent/customizable backups

I discovered Writer’s Café recently, a program developed by a husband and wife team of writers from Edinburgh, Scotland. The interface looks a lot like we’ve come to expect from Windows desktop with the added benefit of being able to use it on Mac or PC.

Notice the icons and tip screen on the main window aimed at helping the writer understand the program, get technical support, and write a better novel, report, or screenplay. There’s an explorer window on the left where your files appear and options for creating folders for your research phase – Scrap, Pinboard, notebook, or writing journal are there as well.

Collect all your research or build a flow chart in Scrap. Throw in links, text, pictures. It’s your story scrapbook.

Start a pinboard where you can place stickies of ideas on a whim. Use the notebook or keep a journal of your writing process or the convenient name generator for characters. Many features in Writer’s Café crossover, so you can decide which is best for your writing process.

One of the best brainstorming tools is the flexible storyline tool which allows you to create different lines to track a story thread, povs, etc. in cards which translate into an outline and your writing space.

Here's a different setup

The cards can be tagged and color coded. Here I created a tag for sensual scenes. The cards tagged will be hot pink.

If you’re a panster the storyboard tool as much for analysis as for plotting. In my current WIP I wanted to trace the hero’s paranormal arc. I tagged those card scenes with purple and when I looked at the storyline, I found that it was happening all at once.

It’s similar to storyboard features in the other programs but the storyline feature here is a little trickier. WC also uses some different terminology. For instance you wip/manuscript is called a report. And exporting isn’t quite as easy with WC.

But if you are adept with computer software, Writer’s Café could be the program for you. The good news is you can get a demo here to try before you buy and tech support from Julian Smart and the yahoo loop is excellent.

(Are you familiar with mind mapping? It's an excellent visual way to brainstorm relationships between characters or scenes. Wednesday I'll run through some of the features on a fabulous FREE program for both Mac and PC.)

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