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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Great software for Mac-oriented fiction writers
on December 1, 2009
So why buy Storyist? You can write fiction with a word processor, right? Ah, but does your word processor automatically format your novel or screenplay for submission?
And writing and formatting are only the beginning of what Storyist can do for writers. Its big strength is organization. Here's an example: Orson Scott Card once wrote about a lovely scene he constructed in which one of his characters called his mother on the phone; then, during revisions, he remembered he'd made the character an orphan. He began keeping a "bible" listing all the decisions he made in the course of a story. With Storyist, he would have that "bible" at his fingertips, right next to the manuscript and fully searchable, so he could find out in a flash whether his character had parents or siblings. And if he discovered that it got in the way of his writing, Storyist 2 has a full screen mode that would allow him to banish it from view (but it would still be lurking in the background in case of need).
I have been using Storyist since version 1.1. It was a great product then, and with version 2, it's even better--more flexible and powerful. In brief, it allows writers to organize not only their characters, plot, and settings but all the miscellaneous ideas, notes to self, reference sources, web links, and more that come up in the course of writing a novel, screenplay, stage play, or short story. It offers multiple windows where you can display alternate views of the manuscript. You can import pictures of your characters and settings (or just generally into the notebook) and, once there, drag them into as many locations as you like. You can also link sections to characters, notes, plot points; import and export files to standard formats; link notes to one another; set up your own categories for outlines and timelines (although a visual timeline is still in the works). The program comes with ample help files and a printed manual, and if you get stuck or just don't like reading manuals, you can find instant support on the Storyist forums--often from the developer himself. The program is intuitive enough to start using right away, although it takes a while to master all the options it offers. Do yourself a favor and take the time to learn it: you'll never want to write using only a word processor again.
Storyist is not limited to fiction writing, but it is best suited to fiction because it comes with preset, customizable forms for managing characters, settings, and plot. It includes standard industry formatting for scripts and novels and customizable templates. Screenplay writers can step through the various layers of formatting (character, action, parenthetical, etc.) with just a few key combinations. You can use it to develop your story on a series of virtual index cards and then transfer the results to the manuscript; you can also just sit down and write, knowing that the outline, index cards, and plot points are there waiting for that moment when you write yourself into a corner and need to plan your escape route without the distractions of dialogue.
If you have a Mac running OS 10.4-10.6 and a Great American Novel in the works, Storyist will help you keep everything organized and in one place. Download the demo and see for yourself!