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Online & free writing tools

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Gribba, May 27, 2018.

  1. Gribba

    Gribba Troubadour

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    I have been looking for a place to write, online, that allow me to organize my work and access it from everywhere. I found this website, truenovelist.com, anyone know it? or know about similar sites, that can be recommended?

    I like that this is simple, easy to use and has the organizing elements I was looking for (with scenes, characters, and so on), and the best part is it, is free.

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    But it is not being actively developed and I am not sure if it will stay available, therefore I wanted to look for similar sites that one might use? instead, if it comes to it...
    And I was hoping someone on here might have a knowledge of a similar online tool... suggestions?

    I have looked at hiveword.com, it has many of these things but there is much more navigation required to access once info.
    I have also looked at yarny.me but it keeps giving me errors so I will go crazy trying to use that (maybe the error shows up because I use Linux).

    I know of many (and even have a few) desktop writing tools but I want the online option to organize my novel, with scenes, characters, and places in this folder structure. It is also nice to have the option of using different statistics if one is into that, sometimes I am and sometimes not.

    What do you use? what do you recommended? suggest?
     
  2. Foah

    Foah Troubadour

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    If you don't mind it being less tailored for writing, I'd suggest simply using Google Docs for what you want to achieve. There are folder hierarchies and all that built in, but requires a few extra clicks to switch inbetween fast enough. But if you're concerned with the longevity of a service, google docs is "never" going away :)

    At least give it a spin, create some mockup documents and see if it feels smooth enough to jump around your documents to make it worth your time.

    EDIT:
    Myself, I simply use OneDrive, which is Microsoft's cloud service. Can work on anything at any of my PC:s and have it synched online. Works wonders for me.
     
  3. Gribba

    Gribba Troubadour

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    I do use google docs at the moment, and it is fine but I find the, having many documents open or scrolling through a long list of ideas, notes and info about characters is sometimes frustrating and distracting.

    I tend to come up with things for my story as I write and then I need to write that down where it belongs, be it character idea, plot or place or you name it... that is why I like truenovelist's easy and fast access, that means I am back to the chapter I was writing in, without using to much time, to add the idea in it's right place.

    :)
     
  4. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

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    Scrivener and sync it, not free, but hey! it works. With the writing style you describe it’s likely worth the cash.
     
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  5. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

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    It's not free but DemesnedenoirDemesnedenoir idea has been the best for me. I use Scrivener exactly because of the tools it offers for your requested needs. I sync it to both One Drive and Google Drive (you have to sync it to the second manually), so never lose my work. It's $45 and the support is amazing. They offer a 14 day trial if you want to put it through a test run.
     
    Thoras likes this.
  6. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I'll agree with scrivener. It's relatively inexpensive, and if you get a Nanowrimo discount code, it's even cheaper.

    BUT if you want something free, google up yWriter. It's what I was using before I migrated to Scrivener. Not as polished, but has similar functionality.
     
  7. Gribba

    Gribba Troubadour

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    Scrivener was something I did consider but going to the website, I found, they do not have a Linux version. :(
    I know I am being so difficult, right now! :LOL:
    I have tried to install yWriter and it is not willing to work with my Linux system, it seems. :cautious:

    So far I have tried out these desktop software and it is not what I was looking for:
    • Manuskript
    • FocusWriter
    • Plume creator
    • Bibisco

    So I keep searching. o_O
     
  8. Gribba

    Gribba Troubadour

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    I should add that sometimes I write from work and my workplace is strict when it comes to what can be installed on the computers as we work with sensitive information (personal ID numbers and other personal info), one of the reasons I am searching for an online option.
    :whistle:
     
  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    LibreOffice
    Google Docs
    Zoho

    My preference would be the first option, since it's a full office suite. And free. And Linux. None, of course, do the Scrivener-like things that truenovelist does. Why are you dissatisfied with the option you have?
     
  10. Gribba

    Gribba Troubadour

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    I am not dissatisfied with truenovelist, but I am concerned, it has not been actively developed or supported since 2015. I have contacted them to ask if the project will keep running or is there a chance it will be discontinued, but there is no answer as of now. I guess I just want to be prepared and see if there was some other option out there that would give me the same possibility's as truenovelist.

    The other problem I have, is my workplace, for example we are not allowed to install google chrome on the work computers. Due to the many restrictions regarding installing programs, I wanted to find an online option that was easy and free, as an possible alternative to truenovelist (and I work the night shift, some nights I have time to write).
    Then the other problem... I use Linux at home, software availability for Linux is also a issue.

    And as I mentioned earlier, I tend to come up with things for my stories as I write and I need to write that down where it belongs, quickly, and hurry back in the chapter I was writing in, to keep the momentum going as much as possible.

    So I am not making this easy... :ROFLMAO:

    I guess I was dreaming and hoping that I would get lucky and someone had found just the perfect online tool and would share it with me. :bookworm:

    I will keep searching... :banghead:
    :wacky:
     
  11. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Definitely make sure you can get all your documents out at a moment's notice! That is one drawback to these online novel services. I much prefer writing on the desktop with backup to the cloud.

    You don't need chrome to use Zoho or Google Docs. Any reason you don't want to use LibreOffice?

    The workplace thing is definitely a problem. My best suggestion there isn't very good: buy a notebook. Something standalone, not on the network. You copy your work to a safer place once you get home. Let the work computer just be for work. That solution may make it too obvious that you aren't working (I was in that situation for a while--idle time, but I didn't want to be seen being idle). In which case, maybe just use a simple text editor at work, saving to a thumb drive (or up to a cloud). When you get home you can put what you've written into the appropriate file(s).
     
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  12. Gribba

    Gribba Troubadour

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    I have been using LibreOffice and google docs, but I end up having very long documents with the notes/ideas and stuff... that I circle back to when I get new ideas or have some changes I want to make to existing idea or feel the need to get reacquainted with some character or ideas or places or what ever. And then I get distracted as I go through the long document of ideas and lose the momentum of actual writing. :shame:
    I know it is a bad habit, so I am trying to find something, to remove the danger, that this horrible habit of mine, seems to get mixed up in. :wacky::joyful:

    And when it comes to my workplace I might have to be a little creative and find something that will work for me... I clearly have some research to do, to find out what I can get away with. :jimlad:

    :bag:

    (need to look at Zoho, to see what that is about)
     
  13. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Zoho is basically Google Docs, though it would break their hearts to hear that said.

    The trick with using LO is to make lots of small documents rather than one big one. If you save as plain text or even rtf, you ought to be able to use the powerful search tools of Linux to find whatever you need. It took me months in Scrivener to figure out what kind of organization works best for me, but I pretty much guarantee long documents are not the way to go. My old pre-computer training came in handy here. The rule was: one idea per note card. That made for thousands of cards, but it was effective. So it is on the computer. Use folders and files liberally. You might consider what I suggested earlier: use one file as the starting point, but the goal is to empty that file daily or weekly (whatever works best for you) so that the mish-mash of information therein is placed neatly into your hundreds of files and folders. All of which can be split, combined, and renamed as needed.
     
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  14. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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  15. Gribba

    Gribba Troubadour

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    skip.knox, I think I might have to do what you are suggesting, use one file as the starting point and empty that file often... but it is so much work with my existing projects... :dead::banghead:
    I think I will pick one project to do that with and see how it feels, now that I am using much time anyway trying to find a solution for me that works. :happy:

    PenPilot, thanks for the link, I did not find that when I was on the website so, cool, thanks, now off I go to take a look at that.:joyful:

    Thank you guys for all the info and suggestions. I needed it... put things into perspective. :woot:
    :wacky:
     
  16. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    >but it is so much work with my existing projects...
    Absolutely! You can't retcon this. Start with something new. New tools / new project. Also, please oh please, only one project at a time? I have a special Scrivener project called Ideas. Whenever something bright-and-shiny comes fluttering through a window, I pick it up, coo over it, then place it firmly in a file in Ideas. I give it a bit of food and promise I'll stop for a visit now and then, but in the meantime it must be quiet and not disturb the grownups. Seems to have worked. For me. So far.
     
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  17. Gribba

    Gribba Troubadour

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    HAHAHA... :hilarious:
    yeah... :sorry:
    I probably should do something like that... :shame:
    But it is so hard sometimes (all the time), the bright-and-shiny stuff is so new and fun and I want to play with it and... and... :woot:
    :wacky:

    But, yes, you are right, gotta start somewhere and just start small... :happy:
     
  18. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    This looks very nice. I've never attempted to use a tool other than word, and...um....notepad for writing, but I sometimes wonder if I would be more efficient if I did. I've never been a bells and whistles type, just the bare bones thing tends to work for me.

    When this stupid exam is finished and I am able to shift my energy back to writing, I will keep this in mind. I might be useful to be able to write at work without having to save stuff on the Work PC.
     
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  19. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Here's a consideration on Scrivener (and on all such similar tools): once you start working with an editor, the tool, becomes less useful. I'm open to strategies.

    Your editor will want a Word file. Or RTF, for those of us in the OpenOffice branch. So in Scrivener you must export to Word, which is fine because Scrivener does a good job of that (once you learn its Compile tricks). The editor does his thing and send you back a file with a disheartening number of comments.

    Now you have a choice. You can make changes in the Word document, then copy/paste those back over into your fifty-or-so files in Scrivener (you did organize into chapters, didn't you?). That's not as simple as it sounds because the Word document is now a tangle of editor comments, your responses, deleted words, added words, and new passages. You will have to take time to sort all that out before the tedium of copy/paste.

    Or, you just say screw it and make the changes in Word. You remain in Word, right through proofreading, formatting, and galley proof (you do proofread again after formatting, right?). At that point, you can indeed copy/paste back into Scrivener. Or you can just say screw it and export to PDF (for the paperback) right from Word.

    By this time, you have two novels--the one in Scrivener, now out of date, and the one in Word. If my editor would/could work in Scrivener, then the above might not be so tangled, but I don't see that happening any time soon. Microsoft has rather more market presence than Literature-and-Latte (they apparently are still not embarrassed by that name).

    I'm seriously considering taking all I've learned inside Scrivener about how to organize a writing project, and just doing the next book in Word.
     
    Devor likes this.
  20. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    If this is really the primary concern, just keep your documents in dropbox or google drive, both of which have free versions.
     
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