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Storybook Pro 4.0 is out

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Posted by Dr Andus
Oct 12, 2012 at 10:43 PM

 

Dr Andus wrote:
>Has anyone here been using Storybook Pro 4 on a consistent basis for a prolonged time?
>I’m just wondering how stable it is with a large amount of text and variables. Has
>anyone lost work with it? Would you use it for mission critical parts of your writing
>project?

I’ve been looking for a solution for plotting multiple story lines in a top-down manner, possibly with a single-screen overview (yes, still for my dissertation…). I had high hopes for Storybook Pro v.4, as I was particularly impressed with v. 3. However, after having spent some time with v. 4, I’m disappointed.

It still has some interesting features, and the chronological view with the multiple strands is really what I’m looking for (except I don’t need it to be chronological), as well as the ability to shuffle scenes and chapters around, like index cards. So it’s some kind of an intelligent corkboard I’m looking for.

I’m disappointed with Storybook 4 because it turned out to be rather unwieldy (I agree with Wendy Christopher’s comment below this post: http://mythicscribes.com/writing-tech/novel-writing-software/). E.g. you have to keep refreshing the views manually for individual panes when you change content, which really feels like returning to the early 90s.

I also don’t get why the developers don’t make all the parameters editable, such as “locations,” “items,” etc. I can’t see why you shouldn’t be able to customise these for your categories of choice for plotting non-fiction writing. I realise that “dates” and “gender” have been made editable in v.4 , but there are still far too many unnecessary rigidities (as this review points out about the previous version: https://www.linux.com/learn/tutorials/507820-nonlinear-writing-on-linux-with-storybook)

I haven’t had a chance to try all the novel plotting software out there yet, but many of them don’t seem to be able to offer you a complete overview of all your “index cards” of scenes and chapters in one total view. This is the bit I don’t like about even Scrivener or SuperNoteCard. They won’t let you see all the cards laid out, only the ones at a particular level of the hierarchy.

In the end I’ve decided to reconstruct Storybook’s “chronological view with multiple strands (plot lines)” in TreeSheets and I’m very pleased with the result. The speed at which you can work in TreeSheets is quite amazing. I also tried OneNote for this but TreeSheets is faster and the end result looks more organised. You can cram a lot of information into a 22inch screen monitor, and the full-screen mode is just wonderful.