The Saturday Five: Writing Resources (April 6)

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90 Writing Tools in a Single Post
from Jason Boog at Galleycat

For Literary Penguins: 4 Great Writing Tools [Linux]
from Danny Stieben at MakeUseOf

Draft Is a Writing App with Serious Version and Draft Control
from Kevin Purdy at Lifehacker

Editorially is the Collaborative Writing Tool We’ve Been Waiting For
from Nathaniel Mott at PandoDaily

First Friday Link Party for Writers – Spring Fling Edition
from Carol Tice at Make a Living Writing

Bonus resource (previously featured on blog):
The Snowflake Method for Designing a Novel
from Randy Ingermanson at Advanced Fiction Writing

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5 Distraction-Free Writing Programs

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Ah, NaNoWriMo. 30 days of wild creativity, a reach-for-the-stars mindset that may or may not dissolve December 1st, and last but not least, overwhelming opportunities for procrastination. Especially during the month of November, procrastination can quickly lead to the death of a novel – and a dream.

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Enter full-screen writing programs. As the saying goes, being a writer is 3% creativity, 97% not getting distracted by the Internet. Q10 saved my novel in November of 2009 (Although I also used a pair of noise-reduction headphones. Yeah, a full-screen text editor can only do so much; it can’t block out real life distractions. But hey, it’s a start, right?). And it may just save yours. If you’re one of those people who have to fight the urge to check Facebook every five minutes, take a look at the programs below:

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Q10 (Freeware; Windows): “a simple but powerful text editor designed and built with writers in mind . . . Q10 is small, fast and keeps out of your way . . . Q10 will clean your kitchen, walk your dog and make excellent coffee. Well, not really. But it’s really good as a full-screen text editor.”

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FocusWriter (Free; Linux, Windows, Mac OS X): “a simple, distraction-free writing environment. It utilizes a hide-away interface that you access by moving your mouse to the edges of the screen, allowing the program to have a familiar look and feel to it while still getting out of the way so that you can immerse yourself in your work.”

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WriteMonkey (Free; Windows): “zenware* writing application with an extremely stripped down user interface, leaving you alone with your thoughts and your words. It is light, fast and free. With an array of innovative tools under the hood, it helps you write better. Editing is for another day …”

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PyRoom (Free; Check website for OS) “a free editor that stays out your way – and keeps other things out of your way, too. As a fullscreen editor without buttons, widgets, formatting options, menus and with only the minimum of required dialog windows, it doesn’t have any distractions and lets you focus on writing and only writing.”

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JDarkRoom (Free; Windows, Mac, Linux): “a popular, simple full-screen text file editor with none of the usual bells and whistles that might distract you from the job in hand. If you are writing a speech, novel, essay, thesis or just need to be able to concentrate on your writing, then JDarkRoom may help you.”

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P.S. 5 days and counting.

13 Free (and kinda free) Storyboarding / Novel Organization Programs

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***Completely Free***

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Papel (Windows) is abandonware. The link is to its new home at a mirror site.
Features here, 1 page (of 7) of screenshots here, download here.
Bookmark Romanzo for future use. It’s in the planning stage, but once finished, it claims “it will offer much of what Papel promises but with several key advances.”

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Text Block Writer (Windows) is abandonware. (The link is to Softonic because the developer’s website is no longer running.)
Screenshots here.

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yWriter (Windows, Linux)
Screenshots here, Facebook page here.
Check out this (awesome) guy’s other software while you’re at the yWriter page. (Awesome guy being Simon Haynes.)

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***Less Functional Free Version of Otherwise Commercial Software***

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Celtx (Windows, Linux, Mac) – Doesn’t include add-ons.
Overview here, features here, screenshots here.
Full version $14.99.

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Page Four (Windows, unofficially/maybe Linux) – Restricted to 3 or 4 notebooks rather than unlimited.
Demo video and screenshots here, FAQ here, download here.
Full version $39.95.

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Spaaze is an ‘infinite virtual corkboard.’ I haven’t tried it out, but I’ve heard good things from fellow writers about it as a project management program.
Full version $3/month.

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Storybook (Windows, Linux. Mac option on FAQ page.) – Comparison of commercial and free version here.
Screenshots here, download here. Full version $25.94.

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SuperNoteCard (Windows, Mac, Linux) – Limit to the number of cards you can use, but I’m not sure what the limit is. I’ve used this program quite a bit before and didn’t run out of note cards, though.
FAQ here.
Full version $29.

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Writer’s Cafe (Windows, Mac, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris) – Free version restricted to 20 cards and 20 scraps and doesn’t include e-book.
Features here, FAQ here, screenshots here, download here.
Full version $40 (or $60 for CD-ROM version).

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***Fully Functional Time-Sensitive Trial Version***

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Liquid Story Binder XE (Windows) – 30 Day Free Trial (30 days of actual use.)
Screenshots here, tutorials here.
Full version $45.95.

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Scrivener (Mac) – 30 Day Free Trial (30 days of actual use.)
Features here.
Full version $45.
(Free Beta version for Windows here. Will be $40 when it goes on sale.)

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Storymill (Mac) – 15 or 30 Day Free Trial (Scroll down to Storymill icon.)
Screenshots, video tutorials, and user guide on home page.
Full version $49.95, or $24.95 to upgrade to Storymill 4.

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Writer’s Blocks (Windows) – 21 Day Free Trial
Quick look here, features here, FAQ here.
Full version $149, or $99 to upgrade from Writer’s Blocks 3 to WB4.

For those of us who can’t afford Microsoft Word: (Almost) 7 FREE Office Suite Programs

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So I realize this information would have looked much cooler (and been much more efficient) organized into a type of chart, but I’m just not that WordPress savvy. So without further ado . . .

(P.S. I’ve copied and pasted too many web addresses today, so if you find a mistake, please let me know and I’ll fix it ASAP.)

(P.P.S. The only one of these I’ve had enough experience with to comment on is Open Office, which I made a note of at the bottom. If you’d like to submit a review of any of the others, comment or use the Talk to Me page and I’ll add it to the post.)

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1. AbiWord

Downloadable (WORD PROCESSING ONLY)

Click here for a virtual tour, here for screenshots, and here to view the AbiWord Wikipedia page.

AbiWord

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2. Calligra Suite

Downloadable (BSD, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, Windows)

Word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program, vector graphics, digital painting

Click here for word processor screenshots and here to view the Wikipedia page for a rundown of features.

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3. Google Docs

Online (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari)

Word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program
1GB storage free
Full collaboration capability

Take a virtual tour here and view the Wikipedia page here for a rundown of features.

Google Text Document

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Google Docs Spreadsheet

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4. IBM Lotus Symphony

Downloadable (Windows, Linux, Mac OS)

Word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program

Visit the Wikipedia page for a rundown of features here.

IBM Lotus Symphony Word Processor

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5. KOffice

Downloadable (BSD, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, Windows)

Word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program, vector drawing app

Take word processor virtual tour here and visit KOffice Wikipedia page here.

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6. LibreOffice

Downloadable (Cross-platform)

Word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program, database management program, vector graphics editor, math formula app

Visit the features page here, the Wikipedia page here, and the word processor Wikipedia page here.

LibreOffice Writer (word processor)

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7. Open Office

Downloadable (Cross-platform)

Word processor, spreadsheet program, presentation program, database management program, vector graphics editor, math formula app

Check out the Why Open Office? page here, the Open Office Wikipedia page here, and the Open Office Writer (word processor) Wikipedia page here.

(Note: This is what I use. I find it to be functional and efficient and strongly prefer it to Microsoft Works Word Processor, which came already installed on my laptop.)

Open Office Writer