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Writing tools

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Posted by Stephen R. Diamond
Apr 7, 2007 at 08:29 AM


The most prominent feature common to SuperNoteCard, Writer’s Blocks, and Scrivener is their cork board metaphor - although that metaphor is explicit only in Scrivener, which also is the one you like best. The concept of moving blocks of text around in a plane until you get them right is elegant and alluring, but it seems favored only by writers of fiction. Some of them continue to use the technologies they’re accustomed to when they add non-fiction to the mix. Scrivener has outlining too; usually the outliner’s are rather puny in these programs that emphasize contiguous organization - any writing, I suppose, that follows a timeline.

I don’t think I recall you’re writing any fiction. If not, I’d guess the appeal of these programs comes partly from the modular approach to writing, which I haven’t used in a while. If I were to use a modular approach to writing—drafting sections of text initially without regard to order—I think I would implement it in OneNote. The main reason, apart from the obvious ones shared with other programs, is noteflags. It seems to me they would be extremely powerful in pulling together snippets initially produced in haphazard order.

To spell it out, one would write the snippets using whatever organization suited you; outline a structure; assign a unique noteflag to every first level outline heading; apply the noteflag to the snippets, one by one; collect noteflags; move the items with the corresponding noteflags under the corresponding outline headings; repeat at deeper levels if necessary; sequennce the snippes in each category.

I think that’s the way I would now write a book.

Stephen Zeoli wrote:
>In one of the recent previous topics, someone mentioned writing tools… as opposed
>to information/note management. Whizfolders seems to be gaining in popularity. No
>one has mentioned SuperNoteCard or Writer’s Blocks. I’m wondering if anyone uses
>these applications, and how useful they find them to be.
> >For actual composition, I
>still find myself using the plain text editor NoteTab. It’s clean look helps me focus
>on writing, and it has a very nimble editor—by nimble I mean it has full extended
>selection capability, making it easier to re-write and re-organize. I tend to do a lot
>of revising as I write, which is why I appreciate a nimble editor. But NoteTab is really
>a default choice, because I have not found any other editor that I like better. I have to
>say that I was drooling over the screen shots of Scrivener… If I were in the Mac world,
>I’d definitely give Scrivener a try. It seems to combine several different tools into
>one… with its notecard and outline functions. This is why I asked about
>SuperNoteCard and Writer’s Blocks, which are the two “index card” type programs that
>come to mind for the PC.
> >Steve Z.